There's one thing that all people who have interned at a finance firm or accepted an intern position working a related job can agree about: the stress. There are few jobs as high-pressure as working in a finance career, no matter how much experience you've had. So when you find yourself doing such tasks during your internship, right out of college or even before you graduate, it's likely that you'll find yourself more stressed than you've ever been before.
It's something that all individuals looking for entry level finance jobs need to prepare for, however. In this industry, stress is a constant. In fact, some finance professions—like hedge fund jobs or investment banking jobs—are often cited among the most stressful office jobs available to workers today.
Your talents and expertise will help you to manage the most challenging aspects of your new gig—but no one can avoid stress altogether. Instead, it needs to be controlled. Here is a collection of tips that may be able to help you keep your calm during even the busiest days of your internship.
Try not to multi-task—create a to-do list instead
When working a finance job, you'll surely be faced with endless responsibilities. People working an accounting job, for example, are already quite used to this: You'll likely have a number of clients and new problems to deal with every single hour. However, it'd be a big mistake to try and deal with numerous problems at once—you'll only end up stressing yourself out even more.
Instead, you should create a to-do list that helps you to organize and prioritize the numerous tasks you need to complete on a daily basis. Not only will this help you to avoid needless multitasking, it'll allow you to better comprehend what needs to be completed on a day-by-day basis. This will improve your organization skills, which in turn will help you to achieve lower stress levels.
Wake up earlier and on a positive note
Staying stress-free is an assignment that lasts all day long—and doing so will require you to take steps even before you reach the office. If you find your finance job or internship is leaving you mentally exhausted, then you should consider making alterations to your sleep schedule and to how you wake up every morning.
It is, of course, of the utmost importance that you get a suitable amount of sleep on a nightly basis. However, you're better off appropriating some of your sleep time to your morning preparations than you are staying in bed for as long as possible every day. Rushing through these necessary steps—getting dressed, taking a shower, and planning your day—will only leave you feeling worse during your work day. So be sure to give yourself ample time to prepare for the day to come every morning. You could also make use of this time to help create your aforementioned to-do list. Your mental state will be better off for it, especially when you're faced with a particularly long and challenging work day.
A lot of the factors influencing stress come directly from your internship and the assignments it brings. However, you can give yourself a better handle on managing these factors by staying healthy. Junk food and lethargy will only make your aggravation worse. If you find your internship is making your life more frazzled than it's ever been before, then you'd do best to set aside daily time for exercise. Healthy eating will also go a long way toward centering your thoughts and allowing you to offer your employer peak performance. To perform properly, you need to take care of your body as well as you do your mind. So making alterations to your process at work isn't the only way to control stress levels—you'll also need to make alterations to your general lifestyle.
Focus on the internship and not on the job offer that may follow
It's easy to get ahead of yourself while working an internship. At some point, you'll find yourself focusing on the job offer that may follow your stint, as opposed to the tasks at hand. However, this will only increase your stress levels and damage your ability to focus.
If your primary goal is to get a job offer and not to complete your current assignments, then you're giving yourself yet another thing to worry about, in addition to your responsibilities. You'll potentially find yourself underperforming as a result of focusing on the future, instead of on the present. Keep your stress down by focusing on the internship itself. If you can manage to do that, odds are high that the job offer you want will follow.