GUEST COMMENT: Get out of the City when you have the chance; you risk getting trapped

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Four years ago, I left university to work for Goldman Sachs as an equities trader. I was 22, and had just completed a physics degree at Oxford.

Like plenty of other people, my main motivation for going into banking was financial. And for a few months, I really enjoyed it. For the first time in years, I had no debt and things were great. There were a lot of great people and parts of the job were inspiring.

As time went on, however, I started to question my choice of career. I think you should aspire to be like the people senior to you, and I could see people 3-10 years ahead of me who I just didn't want to turn into.

It seemed to me that a lot of those more senior colleagues were stuck there. They had the car, the 2.4 kids and the beautiful house. But they also had school fees, a big mortgage, and a wife who didn't work and expected them to have a large income.

Coupled with this, the environment was very corporate. There were some big egos and a lot of struggles for recognition. You would do something, and nothing would come of it. Some people were paid incredibly well, and had egos to match. But a lot of people weren't, and were still expected to make big sacrifices of time and lifestyle. The work/reward equation didn't seem to add up.

It became clear that deferred bonuses contributed to people's tendency to continue in roles they didn't find fulfilling. In my first year, some of my bonus was set aside as shares which I wouldn't be able to access for another two years. And in those two years, I'd get twice that again, and again. They want to keep you. Before you know it, you've amassed too much money to walk away from; you're wearing the golden handcuffs.

Walking away was precisely what I did though. At the end of my time at Goldman, I left to set up my own business. I'd expected people there to call me a quitter, but instead quite a few of them expressed their envy and said they wished they'd done the same five years' previously - before they got tied down.

Setting up my own business isn't some hippy idea. I'm in this to make money, but I want some balance and fun in the process. As one of the partners at Goldman said to me: "You need to have your targets and your goals, but you also need to enjoy the road." The road's a lot more enjoyable where I am today.

Frank Yeung is co-founder of Poncho Number 8, an exciting new Mexican restaurant in Spitalfields Market.

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