Investment Banker or Professional Tennis Player?

Choosing your career path is a long and hazardly uncertain process. We at Rovo understand and empathise thoroughly the angst of the young college-age adults needing to answer the age-old question: do I follow my dreams, or pursue a path supposedly right. As such, we hope this article would contribute to the lessening of some of this universal pain, by providing some career guidance through making comparisons between the ultimate paragons of both types of career paths.

Geographical Mobility

Do you have the travelling bug which Instagram clearly shows is a thing universal to all tech-dependent human beings? Then, pursuing your dream would do for you on this account. A professional tennis player is almost always on the move. Be it for travelling to tournaments or new training grounds, a typical professional tennis player would hardly have more than a fortnight's long of geographical immobility (apart from the one-month long off-season or injury bouts). This is in stark contrast to an investment banker, who works practically the whole year (according to many, even Christmas breaks are earned). A professional tennis player can travel hundreds of miles at once for work purposes, the furthest most investment bankers can travel for work purposes is to the nearest coffee place a few minutes away from the office.

Working Hours

Do you treasure your free time highly, or have a fondness for sleeping as most modern-day people claim they do? Then you should definitely follow your dreams. A tennis player is not obliged to any time schedule, he sets his own schedule depending on the level of drive he has. Because the will to work those hours comes internally, work would not really feel like work at all as almost each moment is filled with a sense of purpose. Probably more importantly, sleep - a very crucial factor for success and well-being - is allowed. There is no exaggeration to this commonly bandied around expression that investment bankers by taking up their jobs sell their souls to the firm. A typical investment banking analyst works 20 hours a day (that makes it 100 hours a week), surviving on an amount of sleep which our intern Roger half-jokingly remarks "might as well be replaced by two shots of espresso."

Skill Set

Man is nothing but what he makes of himself - Jean-Paul Sartre

Do you value self-development? Then follow your dreams once again. Training as a tennis player endows one with a more organic and admirable skill set than training as an investment banker does. Do not be fooled by the slick good looks, smooth talk and impeccable resumes of an investment banker, these are all part of a gilded layer that is in complete variance to the respectability of their core job skills. Investment bankers do monotonous grunt work. They frantically learn fixed excel formulas and skills in the earliest moments of their careers to be applied ceaselessly without much improvisation for the rest of their careers. 'Investment bankers are the most boring people in the world', was how one person we came across put it. The tennis player although technically a master of a skill set (containing not too many), has plenty of room for improvisation and the nature of such are more organic. This may sound like a very fuzzy way of putting it, so lets put this point across in a question: which is more cooler and respectable, being able to do a tennis serve or a nice tennis forehand, or doing administrative work on the computer and rather incongruously wearing a suit while at it.

Income

Only when coming to this last point, do we realize the lure of pursuing of job not of your dreams. When you zoom in on the likes of Roger Federer or Maria Sharapova, you might get the idea that professional tennis makes you rich. The truth does not come close at all, as only the top players on both the men and women’s pro tours have millions in yearly income. Even with endorsement deals and sponsors, players in the lower ranks earn a fraction of those in the top 10. Adding to the financial burden are the high travel costs that come with playing in tournaments around the world. The median annual income of a top 100 ATP tennis player falls within the 300K (US dollars range), an investment banker with the title vice-president (which is usually gotten after 3-6 years of work experience) has an average annual income of US$450,000.

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