The 100-plus-hour work weeks of investment bankers are almost worth it when you consider the big money, steak dinners and bottled services everywhere you go. But on the other side of those perks, there’s the pile of health issues you’ll be dealing with — and it’ll take approximately four years for those deadly results to show.
The University of Southern California conducted a study where they followed around two dozen entry-level investment bankers for two years — more than 100 hours a week during the first year and 80 hours a week the following year — and followed up with them in interviews in their fourth year of banking.
Leslie Kwoh at The Wall Street Journal reported that the researchers found “insomnia, alcoholism, heart palpitations, eating disorders and an explosive temper” in a portion of the sample and everyone involved developed “stress-related physical or emotional ailment within several years on the job.”
The study says:
During their first two years, the bankers worked on average 80 to 120 hours a week, but remained eager and energetic, she says. They typically arrived at 6 a.m. and left around midnight.
By the fourth year, however, many bankers were a mess, according to the study. Some were sleep-deprived, blaming their bodies for preventing them from finishing their work. Others developed allergies and substance addictions. Still others were diagnosed with long-term health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and thyroid disorders.
By the sixth year, the participants, now in their mid-30s, had split into two camps: the 60% who remained “at war” with their bodies, and the remaining 40% who decided to prioritise their health, meaning they paid more attention to sleep, exercise and diet and set limits on how much they allowed work to consume them.
The study’s small size does raise some concerns to its actual link to the thousands of investment bankers currently working. The study will be published next month in the journal Administrative Science Quarterly.
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