Over the last number of years, there's been a large shift in how junior employees on Wall Street are treated. Whereas back in the day, it was expected that they would be putting in 100+ hours each week, formatting pitchbooks until their fingers bled, and only speaking when spoken to, all in exchange for 6-figures out of undergrad, they're now given whole weekends off, promoted faster and told to stay out of the office between midnight and 7AM. To the more senior bankers who, as analysts themselves, remember having their colons ripped through their mouths for a single typo in a 700-page document, these changes seem major. To the junior bankers who for, reasons unknown, had a fantasy that they'd be briefing Lloyd and closing deals with Jamie months into their gigs, or that entry level jobs at gigantic corporations weren't defined by drudgery, they don't mean sh*t.
When Steve Wu began his two-year stint as an analyst at investment bank Moelis & Co. in July 2013, long hours were a given, but so were fast-paced deals, good money and prestige. The recent graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, told his girlfriend he wouldn’t have time for a relationship. What Mr. Wu says he didn’t expect was the drudgery—the amount of trivial work that got passed on to entry-level bankers. One night, he says, after he had worked until 1 a.m. preparing a 60-page client book, his managing director told him to replace all the logos in the presentation because they appeared “fuzzy.”
And Steve Wu's experience is nothing compared to the horrors Lee Tsai went through.
At J.P. Morgan, associate Lee Tsai says he grew disenchanted about one year into the job. Objectives in his semiannual reviews, he says, were easy to meet and after requesting new responsibilities, months passed and nothing changed. “Same spreadsheets, same pricing models, same slides,” he says...Mr. Tsai soon stopped attending recruiting events. He passed on mentoring new hires. “I couldn’t keep telling them about how great it was,” he says. He left the bank in August and is now learning to code.
But look, if it makes the disenchanted junior mistmakers feel any better, it's not that their superiors don't *get* it; they get it just fine and in fact wanted it back when they were tadpoles themselves. It's that they didn't have the comically-sized balls required to say, shortly after taking a job at a bank, "Spreadsheets are beneath me."
“The things that [young workers] want are frankly the things that all of us always wanted,” says Ms. Hudson. But today’s junior bankers, she says, are “more confident about expressing it in the workplace.”