Alexis Goldstein worked for 7 seven years on Wall Street before she got out. In that period, Wall Street made her a “cynical, bitter, depressed, and exhausted “knowledge worker” who felt that everyone was out to screw me over,” she wrote in a piece for n+1 magazine.When Goldstein quit Wall Street in 2010, it well before Occupy Wall Street began. But since the movement caught fire last fall, Goldstein has wholeheartedly thrown herself into the cause and gained quite a bit of publicity for it. She’s now a part of Occupy the SEC—a working group in OWS that focuses on financial regulation—and also recently offered her commentary to the Frontline documentary on the financial crisis.
Goldstein, who spent her 7 years on Wall Street in technology developing trading models and as a business analyst, finally shares the story of her personal experience on Wall Street in the n+1 article, and the cycle of greed and envy that the culture of the financial firms nurtured, resulting ultimately in tired and paranoid employees that had completely antagonized their employers.
Aside from stories of egomaniac hedge fund bosses and how traders manipulated everyone from their co-workers to their clients, Goldstein also shares why she decided to actively participate in Occupy Wall Street:
It is hard to contrast the joy of community I feel at Occupy Wall Street with the isolation I felt on Wall Street. It’s hard because I cannot think of two more disparate cultures. Wall Street believes in, and practices, a culture of scarcity. This breeds hoarding, distrust, and competition. As near as I can tell, Occupy Wall Street believes in plenty. This breeds sharing, trust, and cooperation. On Wall Street, everyone was my competitor. They’d help me only if it helped them. At Occupy Wall Street, I am offered food, warmth, and support, because it’s the right thing to do, and because joy breeds joy.