Over the past year or so, every major bank on Wall Street has implemented policies aimed at improving the lives their youngest employees, analysts, from absolutely miserable to relatively tolerable. Citi gave Saturdays (but not Sundays) off. Credit Suisse also went for the 36-hour weekend. Bank of America said that while it did “not encourage weekend work” in the first place, its junior bankers should feel free to take “some weekends off.” JP Morgan introduced the patent-pending “protected weekend.” Goldman Sachs barred junior bankers from entering the office between 9PM Friday and 9AM Sunday (with the expectation that they would “check their blackberries on a regular basis over the weekend“).
To the outside world, these changes seemed reasonable and maybe even long overdue. But inside, there was a fear that it was possible this was all happening too fast. After years of being told to not make plans, ever, that the only personal relationships they could have would be with their desk and chair, and that they were to be reachable at all times via Blackberry, whether Pop-Pop was on his deathbed or not, how would the junior bankers take to all this freedom? Would they know how to exist in a world in which they only had to work 80 hours a week? Would they even like it? Or like prisoners who’ve adjusted to life under their captors’ regimes, or house cats that suddenly find themselves out in the jungle, would they be unable to adjust to and navigate an existence post-release, wishing to go back to comforting if confining lives they once knew?
The answer may surprise you.
When someone gets irrationally excited about having Saturday off, it’s a good sign they work in finance. The luxury of free time is new to young and aspiring investment bankers, from whom 100-hour workweeks were once commonly expected. It turns out there’s little nostalgia for those days…A new survey shows that fresh-faced financial services employees are happier with the balance of work and play than they were a year earlier. The data were released in advance of an annual ranking of banks based on their employees’ satisfaction conducted by career services website Vault.com. The 3,600 banking professionals polled rated their employers 3 percent higher on work-life policies than they did in 2013. They were also slightly cheerier about how many hours they’re asked to put in overall. “You get to workout [sic] and eat a relaxing dinner Monday through Thursday,” an anonymous analyst told Vault.com…Banking grunts, a group that once signed away any chance at life in the interest of proving its ambition, suddenly has a perk that money can’t buy: time. Members seem fairly pleased about it.
Life Is Actually Getting Easier for Goldman Sachs Interns [BusinessWeek]