Did you, at one time, work in finance, but find that your job didn’t quite “jive” with your proclivities for: sleeping more than two hours a night, and if possible, not at your desk? The tremors produced by large amounts of coffee to those of cocaine? Swapping bodily fluids with someone you actually enjoy spending time with, and not the night cleaning lady, just because your schedules coincide so well? (Not that those two are necessarily mutually exclusive, but you get what we’re trying to say). Did your inability to reconcile these things cause you to quit your post at [circle one: Lehman, Goldman, J.T. Marlin], and spend your days glazing bowls at your local Color Me Mine? Now, you can go back and work a whopping fifteen fewer hours a week in exchange for a 50% pay cut and your dignity. You're excited, we know.
[Melissa Eisenstat worked 70-hour weeks and spent 70 percent of her time on the road. Then she quit her job to play the cello. Then she realized she was better with numbers than the upright violin.] Eisenstat reentered the workforce through a Lehman Brothers program called Encore. She now works a less manic 55 hours a week and doesn't travel, but makes about half her former seven-figure salary in her new, less exalted role as a VP in the equity-research group. "It's about keeping my sanity," she says.
Sanity, of course, has never been part of the bargain when it comes to working on Wall Street - until now. Following Lehman's lead, Goldman Sachs launched its own return-to-work recruitment program, called New Directions, last May. And J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank have similar programs in the works.
Eschewing its longtime balance-is-for-wimps mindset, the Street is having a kinder, gentler HR moment. Lehman chief diversity officer Anne Erni, who created Encore, speaks to the value of inviting back mid-career executives: "They hit the ground running, with a greater degree of maturity. It's easier to retool than train for judgment and experience."
Of course, you’ll have to be comfortable associating with something that intentionally sounds like a senior citizen's program, or a place to go for your substance abuse problem ("Encore," "New Beginnings," “Sparkling Meadows,” “Incontinence”), but just consider life as a faux-banker practice for your eventual life as a retired faux-person in Boca.
A kinder, gentler Lehman Brothers [Fortune via DealBook]