Research Reveals Mindset of the Young Wall Street and City Banker

There are two first year analysts at Goldman Sachs. For the sake of this story, let’s say their names are Richards and Stabler. These junior employees are enjoying a couple of beers at a bistro and discussing the best ways to commit suicide. Stabler: “If the goal is, like, how do I inflict maximum psychological damage, then I think just going up to your desk and blowing your brains out in the middle of the day would be the best.” Richards: “You know what would happen? All the other analysts would get an e-mail from the associates saying, ‘Can you guys clean this up?’ And then everyone would go back to work.”

These once idealistic Ivy League grads have been beaten down by the intensity of working for one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world. It might seem far-fetched but many newcomers go to Wall Street hoping to make the world better. Sounds like science fiction considering the massive financial reward, the Masters of the Universe mentality, and the endless media depictions of greed, lust and self-destruction in the financial world.

Fact is many a young banker is dealing with health issues, depression, reservations about career choices, the hours and the disaster that is their personal lives. They weren’t prepared, especially for the lack of compassion of unrelenting managers that have their own careers to worry about. Of course, some people might find difficult to empathize with someone making up to $150,000 annually at a junior level.

Why are young bankers so miserable? Many have tried to ascertain what’s going on. Here are three major reasons why young people are struggling on Wall Street and in The City. 

  1. The Hours
    Lots of professions require long hours. Banking hours can be stressful in that work arrives unannounced and any project can be worth billions of dollars. So if your manager calls at three in the morning, what junior banker is going to risk his reputation and refuse?
  2. The Money
    The last decade or so has seen a bizarre dichotomy for the young banker. Financial crashes, companies falling to the wayside, corruption, layoffs, all the while billions still pour into the remaining company pockets. It’s affected the young banker fearful of maintaining their place in a shaky world.
  3. The Purpose
    A lot of students are drawn in by recruiters promoting concepts of social responsibility and helping people investing or growing their companies. These idealists eventually learn what so many already seem to know: it’s mainly about making money. The revelation can have a dynamic impact on their ideals and choices.

British economist Robert Bootle’s years of research in this matter has revealed fascinating things about the thoughts of the young Wall Street banker in the post-crash era and how, despite what the media would have you believe, six figure pay checks aren’t making it worthwhile for most of them. The solution: change the culture.


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