Andrew Montalenti is a former Morgan Stanley programmer. He's also a rapeboredom survivor who after years of fear and shame feels strong enough to speak out and tell the world what was done to him. In 2006, Montalenti took a job with the bank as a software engineer after graduating from NYU. A friend had vouched for MS, telling Montalenti it was a great shop and that he "really liked it there." And at first, Drew did too. The project he worked on was "exciting," he liked the people there, it was great. But then something happened. Something so dark and so harrowing to this day it's even difficult to speak of. I'm actually getting a lump in my throat as a type this, as I'm sure Monts did when telling it. In fact, hold on. Let's give him a second to collect himself. Okay. Here's what happened. (Please, do not read unless you've got a strong stomach because it gets quite graphic.)
But soon the work grew redundant, Mr. Montalenti said, and the problems he was asked to solve as part of his day-to-day responsibilities started to seem technically uninteresting. Like many other creatively inclined, intellectually ambitious programmers who took high-paying jobs on Wall Street after college, Mr. Montalenti found himself disillusioned and restless.
It's truly astounding that no one has ever taken Morgan Stanely to task for this. Disgusting even, that they could get away with treating an employee in such a manner. It's one thing to, for instance, insert foreign objects into an employee's ass, piss in his mouth and and force him to wear women's panties but failing to stimulate his mind is quite another. The sad thing is it's an epidemic not just exclusive to MS. Up and down Wall Street, there are tens if not dozens of programmers being degraded in this fashion on a daily basis.
"At my workplace, I did not know one single person who was happy with what they were doing—not even one," said Puneet Mehta, who was a VP of technology with Citi Capital Markets before quitting and, along with two other Wall Street refugees, founding the mobile app start-up MyCityWay. "Each one of them was just getting through it because they had to pay the bills."
The sickest thing here is that, in addition to the abuse, Wall Street banks lured these guys in with false promises.
In the process of recruiting, standout engineers—the kind of people who want to intellectually stimulating jobs—are often told that the programming positions on offer on Wall Street involve sophisticated engagement with cutting-edge technology, only to find that that's not necessarily true. "That's how they attract top talent," said Mr. Mehta. "Going in, most people do not expect to be bored. I've worked outside of Wall Street and I've seen how attractive it is from the outside and how most people just dream of getting one of these jobs." Often the malaise doesn't set in until after a few years. The source of it is multifaceted, and varies depending on the function of the group an engineer is placed in after college. But the most common complaint, based on interviews with individuals who left finance for start-up life, is that the work they're asked to do there is repetitive and boring.
Hopefully anyone reading this, who's found him or herself in a similar position might now have the courage to stand up and say "I am a person, this isn't right and enough is enough."