Since everyone’s talking about junior staff hours in investment banking, we might as well bring this story up again.
It’s an ugly one.
Back in June of 2012, a bank intern tipster sent Business Insider the sad (and embarrassing) story of a junior bank analyst who had a complete meltdown while his bank was short staffed.
The story takes place right before this analyst was about to be given some respite, quite sadly. The bank had just hired another analyst for his desk to start on Monday.
However, the Thursday before this new analyst was supposed to start, the work had really started to pile up.
Our poor burnt out analyst asked for help, but his co-workers weren’t interested. Work distribution had become a tense topic on the desk since they’d become short staffed, and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, they decided run right to it.
On Monday the new analyst showed up for her first day.There was a deliverable in the morning that had to get shipped out, and the burnt out analyst was supposed to have been in the office early in the morning to take care of it.
But the burnt out analyst didn’t show up. The hours passed — 9:00 am, 10:00 am — basically the afternoon on Wall Street. Calls went unanswered — straight to voicemail.
At 11:30 am, the burn out analyst showed up, but he wasn’t alone. His parents had been visiting him from China and brought him into work themselves. He looked like hell, according to our source.
Burnt out analyst’s parents walked up to our source, since he speaks Chinese, and told him that Burnt Out Analyst needed to go to a hospital because he hasn’t slept all weekend.
While all this was going on, the burnt out analyst went to his desk, started talking gibberish and slammed his mouse and his head on the keyboard.
He kept on saying he’d get everything done right away. Our source describes it as something out of The Exorcist.
Burnt out analyst ended up going to the hospital. His replacement, starting that day, didn’t last long either. After a few months she was out.
It’s an unbelievable story, so maybe you don’t believe it. Maybe you do, because you’ve seen something like it. Your call.
Either way, over the last week, I’ve gotten a few e-mails from older bankers saying that these junior bankers are complaining too much. One told me that they hadn’t figured out the concepts of genuine work and sacrifice.
The senior bankers feel that when went through this process, it made the stronger, and better, and like with any tradition, they consider it a part of their culture. It’s a rite of passage.
But the problem with that mentality is that now banks aren’t the most lucrative, prestigious employers on the block. Ambitious young people have alternatives — not just going to private equity or a hedge fund after two or three years working at a bank — they have big companies like Google and Facebook.
And as banks help turn startups into big companies through initial public offerings, there will be more alternatives. It’s good for the economy, and it’s something every American should want.
The most talented young people will be able to take advantage of these options, and as banks now fear, there will be a brain drain — not just for one analyst, for one weekend, but for the whole Street.
Not that banks aren’t considering this. It has become increasingly clear that they are very, very aware.
Lisa Du also contributed to the reporting of this story.
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