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Work

Goldman Sachs and The 100 Hour Work Week

NEWSFLASH: Working at Goldman Sachs is hard.

This is according to a recent survey of Goldman Sachs junior analysts. I won’t go through the entire survey, but the following slide basically sums up the findings. Junior analysts work about 100 hours a week and don’t sleep. As you can guess, these working conditions have had a big impact on their social lives, health and well-being.

Are you surprised? I’m not.

This is Goldman Sachs. The premiere shop in one of the toughest industries, investment banking. Despite grueling working conditions, the company has fresh grads clamoring to work there. A two-year analyst stint at Goldman can set up a 22 year old grad for life. It’s a stamp of approval and proof someone has the stamina and intellect to do anything. This is why Goldman Sachs has no shortage of eager applicants.

What do analysts at Goldman Sachs make?

Junior analysts are paid well. According to data from Wall Street Oasis, Goldman pays its first-year investment-banking analysts an average of $123,500 a year, including base salary and bonuses.

A 22 year old kid isn’t going to make that kind of money somewhere else.

Starting at $100k+, if one continues down the path they would easily net $500k annually within a few years.

All of this information is well documented.

If you join the army don’t be shocked when you’re asked to wear a uniform.

Any business student applying to the analyst program at Goldman Sachs (or any i-bank, for that matter) should know what they’re getting into. These aren’t drunks crimped at naval ports to become crewmen on ships. These Goldman analysts voluntarily chose to fill out an application form, interview and sign on the dotted line. They are also smart, connected and educated. They knew.

And guess what? If it sucks so badly, they can quit. This is a free society.

Despite the working conditions of every investment bank being common knowledge within b-school hallways, every once in a while the press gets ahold of news like this:

“XYZ investment bank analyst working 100hrs a week and doesn’t have time for a life.”

Shock-the-Monkey News Corp.

Well, this isn’t news. The world of investment banking (and many other professions) has always been extremely intense and demanding. 100 hour weeks are the norm – especially when you’re green.

I know I couldn’t handle it and would hate it. I don’t believe in sacrificing my life for money. I’d trade my time for passion, but producing the next corporate spin-off, while interesting, isn’t my idea of pleasure. I’d prefer to limit that kind of shit to 10 hours a day max. Others have a different life plan, and that’s OK.

That’s why I never worked in i-banking. It’s also why I never joined the navy.

Categories
Life Work

UBI: A Modern Day Utopia?

Categories
Work

Work Emails During a Holiday?

I understand the lure. It’s the weekend or you’re on holiday and your work phone pings. Or perhaps you walk by it on a desk and get the urge to ‘catch up’.

We’ve all been classically conditioned to check our phones.

So you sneak away for 2 minutes to check in to see if there’s anything urgent. Next thing you know you’re elbows deep in work emails, you’re mind is in corporate mode and your stress levels are rising.

Today in Canada is ‘Family Day’. Presidents Day in the US. Yet, just 10 minutes ago I felt the pull to check my work phone.

*NEW* I just started a newsletter for investors and finance professionals called The Responsible Investor. This newsletter is a digest of key sustainable finance stories, ESG product launches and responsible investing jobs.

I caved.

In a flash, I saw dozens of unread messages. Suddenly the final moments of my long weekend turned from relaxing until the sun rises to dreaded anticipation for the shit-storm about to hit in the morning. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just the ordinary, regular, daily shit-storm that we call work.

Repulsed at what I had just done, I quickly put the phone back down and walked back to my family and comfort of my living room. I’ll deal with it all tomorrow. Of course, I now must pay the price for my curiosity with a cortisol spike pushing through my bloodstream.

Who the fuck is sending me emails when they should be spending time with their families or on leisure pursuits?

I spent no more than 30 seconds looking at my phone, but it was enough to see I received a dozen emails over the past 3 days – Saturday, Sunday and a holiday Monday.

Who the fuck is sending me emails when they should be spending time with their families or on leisure pursuits? I understand the drive to get ahead, but if productivity is really the siren’s call then why not learn a skill or read a book? Why attempt to ruin your colleagues’ Sunday with the Monday-to-Friday chaos?

Are these people bored? Do they have no interests outside of work? Or are they trying to cultivate the 24/7 workaholic image, which is celebrated in North American culture?

Worse, do they feel pressured by their peers to check their emails? After all, there’s nothing worse than being 2 days behind on a crisis.

Regardless of the reason, it’s unhealthy.

We already devote 5 out of 7 days to work, and much of the remaining two days is spent preparing for Monday. There’s already no such thing as a work-life balance. We don’t need to make it worse by answering emails on a Sunday.