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EMERGENCY! Career Advice Needed!

Hi Quantnet,

Great to be a part of this community. I am actually in a personal life crisis and wanted to reach out to this community to see what kind of advice you guys may have. This is related to my career, education, and future, as well as how I plan on feeding my family, making a living, and even goes down to proposing to my wife and apologising to my friends and coworkers, so please take this seriously! This will be a crazy story for some, so I would really like some feedback.

This story goes back to nearly 4 years ago now, when I had just graduated from college and was deep down in my 2nd year of my career working as a data analyst in Washington D.C.

A little bit about myself: I am a half Japanese, half American, trilingual (I studied a bit of Mandarin as well) with an educational background in Mathematics (more on this later) and Financial economics. Some of my favorite courses were operations research, environmental economics, and game theory.

Now, I am going to be perfectly honest, so I hope none of you judge me too much. But I was a serious video game addict. I mean like, 60,000+ hours of video gaming since I was a kid. I couldn't help myself, I grew up in the middle of Tokyo and my Dad was rich, and I literally had hundreds of video games that I learned most of my Japanese through. Anyway, during college, I was very hermetic and didn't spend a lot of time socializing. I got into the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, but I haven't really done a lot to stay in touch with the members, and I wasn't really involved in a lot of extracurricular activities either. I seriously spent my hours either with my girlfriend, playing video games (World of Warcraft) or studying. So, needless to say, I didn't really do a lot of homework when it comes down to my career path, and now everything's seriously catching up with me.

I graduated college in 2009, right after the Financial Crisis, and I've literally never even picked up a newspaper. I never read a book in Finance my whole life, and I was never particularly interested in the stock market or even making a lot of money for that matter (I had low standards because I was still hooked on video games and used to steal money from my Dad's wallet), because money was never the issue for me growing up. My psychologist recently told me that I was being neglected as a child. She also told me that I may have ADHD and developmental disorders, and may have been on the autistic spectrum. This basically explains why I have been an underachiever my whole life. I also have been drinking a lot since I was about 16, and ended up running towards drugs later on in my life, and now I am actually writing from a psychiatric hospital since I had gone completely psychotic a few years back when I lost my job back in 2012. It's been 4 years since, and I've gone through a lot.

I come with the hopes of asking people for support and help because I'm having difficulties but I am trying my best to get my life in order.

I just applied for a Masters program in Financial Engineering at UCLA, in hopes of continuing my party life while I'm young but also partially to buckle down and get serious about work and life. The reason why I want to be in LA is mainly because I think that it would be the best place for me if I am a trilingual quant analyst, who is hoping to be working transpacifically in the near future. My goal is basically to marry the girl next door (she's absolutely gorgeous, but won't pay attention to me unless I get my life back in order), have kids with her, and hopefully mend my relationship with my family and close friends, and live happily ever after. But I haven't been able to get a letter of recommendation from my supervisor at my last job, partially because I lost touch with her but also because I literally went psychotic and crazy during the past few years and haven't been able to hold down a steady job since due to PTSD. I went down the tunnel of conspiracy theories, drug induced psychoses, and too much partying. More on that if people are interested... I've got some stories.

Needless to say, I have been living a very wild and chaotic life. I'm tired of this, I want stability and predictability. Although I enjoy roller coasters, it's hard to enjoy it when you've been doing it for years and you've got insomnia because you've completely lost your mind.

So my first question goes to other people that have made mistakes in their careers and someone that might have a little bit of insight into how I might be able to approach the situation that I found myself in years ago. Basically, my job entailed doing data analysis and quantitative research on high frequency trading strategies at a economic consulting firm in Washington D.C. - I was working with regulators like the ex head of the Securities Exchange Commision, Top economics professors from Columbia University, and the head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Basically, I was given a particular case that involved the interest rate fixing issue that became a scandal back in the day (LIBOR). Soon afterwards I basically went psychotic and crazy and ended up leaving the job (I didn't get fired) and now none of my coworkers from back in the day work there anymore. The project I was working on won't leave my mind, and I always felt like there was a duty that I was supposed to perform that I failed to. My question is, whether I should contact the local branch office in Tokyo, Japan, where I currently reside, about the case that I abandoned (it was a case that involved multiple banks around the world) or even call the branch office in D.C. again and ask if the job is still there. In a cascade of events, I got involved with the Bitcoin Community here in Tokyo as well, where I got to even meet Mark Karpeles right after the Mt. Gox bankruptcy event. I thought that the case that I was working on which involved interest rates might be fixed by blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, but I may have been wrong in my delusional thinking. I can't determine if my line of logic was correct or highly distorted.

Anyway, the banking lifestyle had taken its toll on me - I was done with being offered drugs, drinking every weekend, and going to wild parties. I've picked up a healthier lifestyle, but I cannot shake my past. I practice Yoga now. I am learning MMA Kickboxing. I read books, I go online and learn about spirituality, I keep my room clean and eat healthier now (I don't binge eat any longer).

I'm writing here ultimately to be accountable for myself and others, to become a respected member in the Quantnet community, and as an aspiring Father and husband. I don't want others to make the mistakes that I did because the appeal for these poor habits can be huge for someone raking in a lot of money. But I do need some advice where I won't be judged too harshly even though I understand this is a very professional and serious forum.

I'm also wondering if there are others in the community that work in transpacific environments - and whether there are jobs located in places like California, where I might be able to travel to Tokyo and New York while living the beach life for a while during my 30s.

If you've made it this far, thank you for your time and attention. I'm ashamed to find myself where I am, I used to have a 4.0 GPA and now I'm in Satan's armpit.

TLDR; I need career advice due to past failures, as well as a better understanding of where the best place for me to work is in the future. I drank myself to death and ruined my life and now I'm trying to recover and inspire others to not make the same mistakes I did.


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Sounds like you are determined to get your shit back together. Go finish the MFE first and get some job advice from your program & this forum. You will not be partying much if it's a decently rigorous program.

Job-wise the vast majority of quant jobs are in New York and London. I know only a handful in Asia (Tokyo/HK). Most banks have some presence in SF or LA but not many of the employees there are quants.