Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

Book references aside, is that not the image you’re getting here? Read more »

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. Read more »

Or something. Read more »

The firm, which is accused of lacking the objectivity and integrity expected of consultants but not actually breaking the law, agreed to pay the fine and accept the two-year sidelining of its regulatory consulting unit. PricewaterhouseCoopers appeared to have had little choice: Mr. Lawsky’s office, which has the authority under a little-known New York law to censure erring consultants even without a legal violation, threatened to otherwise inflict a more sweeping and lengthy prohibition…The settlement involves the firm’s work for the Japanese banking giant, which regulators long suspected of routing money through its New York branches on behalf of nations blacklisted by the United States. The bank voluntarily hired PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2007 to quantify its improper transactions with Iran and other sanctioned countries. [Dealbook]

Banks are said to have made their best offers this week. Read more »

Unless you’ve avoided Facebook or other forms of social media these last couple weeks, you know that people are raising money for ALS by dumping buckets of ice water on their heads. As a fan of water-based challenges and an opponent of terrible diseases, this thing was right in JP Morgan’s wheelhouse. A firm-wide email was sent around yesterday asking people to sign up to get dumped on today at 3PM outside the 270 Park Ave HQ, with $100 donated for every participant (total amount donated was $150,000). The bank “provided big individual orange buckets for all, as well as free tee-shirts.” Read more »

Would it have been nice to visit Channing and Jonah on the set of the third installment? Sure. Did a small part of him want to direct? Yes. Did he feel he could’ve brought a Queens school-yard authenticity to things? You betcha. But these are not the things that keep him up at night. Read more »

Is the temptation to check your work email while on vacation stronger than your weak, easily manipulated self? Do you make a big show of saying you’re not going to even look at your phone the whole time you’re away, and the sneak into the bathroom and turn the faucets on to cover up the tapping noises like some kind of email junkie? After everyone has gone to bed, do hear your phone calling out to you, saying “Check it…come on, just check it, just for a second. I’m not gonna rat you out.” Have you tried everything from leaving your phone at home only to break out in a separation anxiety-induced rash, to rigging up your device so that any attempts to check your inbox result in an electromagnetic shock to your scrotum, which does nothing to solve the problem but does leave you with third degree burns?

Or maybe you’re able to resist the temptation but to sneak a peek, but return from your time away with a feeling of total dread, knowing there are thousands of messages to respond to from people who don’t understand the words “I’ll be out of the office for the next two weeks”? Have you come to terms with all this and are now the point that you just want help?

If you work in the United States, tough shit. Your company isn’t going to be happy until it sees you crawling around on the cobblestoned streets of Rome, attempting to collect the millions of little pieces your phone splintered into when, in a fit of disgust with yourself, you threw it to the ground and watched it shatter, moments before shouting “Sweet Jesus, what have I done?!” and “No, wait, I think I can fix this.” If you happen to be in Germany and employed by Daimler, today is your lucky day. Read more »