This is the speech Goldman‘s Alison Mass gave to NYU Stern this year at their inauguration summed up in one sentence:
“I Goldman, there for I am.”
Using a few quotes that are basically about finding a work-life balance but are too existential to be explained so crudely, she tells the business students that there’s more than just the short-term “I’m going to make a load of millions and retire by the time I’m 35-years old” career on Wall Street.
It’s a pretty standard inspirational speech written for those “embarking on their journey,” but it’s interesting because she works at Goldman and talks about what it’s like there.
Here’s are some excerpts from the speech, thanks to Financial News:
First let me state the obvious: I truly love my work. I wake up excited to come to the office each day. And yes….. I am completely sane. Look, obviously not every day is perfect. But, you better find a job that you love, or else long term, you won’t be any good at it and you certainly won’t have a long career.
There’s an all too familiar stereotype about those who inhabit the Wall Street world -we’re all supposed to be hard driving, high-intensity people, focused solely on making it big and retiring young. The idea of an intense, short-term career has a certain appeal for some, but I can honestly say that it never really did for me.
To me, that approach didn’t allow room for much else in my life. And over time, I’ve come to realise that the shortest path isn’t likely to be the most scenic one. I remember reading a poem about journeys and destinations, by the Greek poet Cavafy. It begins, “When you set out for Ithaka, ask that your way be long, full of adventures and knowledge.”
I typically work 70-80 hours a week. I’m also married, raising two children, I work out 3-4x per week and I make sure that I spend no less than 20 days a year on the ski slopes. I’m also on the Boards of three not-for-profit organisations in healthcare, arts and education and I still have dinner with my parents every Sunday night. (Let me repeat that for all of the mums and Dads out there…. I still have dinner w/ my parents every Sunday night.)
I have a quotation pinned above my desk in my office. The quote is from James Michener, and it captures eloquently what I mean by blending the different elements. He writes:
“The Master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”
Here’s a link to the full speech.