We all remember the old yarn about the scorpion and the frog, a fable that ostensibly warns young people to avoid the toxic mixture of animal nature and willful naïveté.
But then again, after looking at this Business Insider report on a new survey involving "300 finance professionals with six to 10 years of post-MBA experience," it seems like perhaps willful naïveté in the face of animal nature is at an all-time high:
Top students from America's most prestigious MBA programs are increasingly seeking out careers outside of financial services, and voluntary turnover at some banks has reached peak levels, according to Business Insider's Matt Turner. According to the survey from the Toigo Foundation and Russell Reynolds, 50% of mid- and senior-level finance leaders are considering leaving their employer, and 20% are considering leaving finance.
Okay, this is not the first we're hearing of Millennial malcontentment with regards to living #ThatWallStreetLife, but what struck us most was not the unhappiness or the stats so much as it was the batshit reasoning behind them:
The report includes responses from some of the people surveyed. One respondent left Wall Street for a job at a tech firm because life was just too brutal:
"I transitioned to tech where the company says: 'We care about you.' That message alone gives you a sense of belonging and value. In banking, the messages are conveyed through your bonus. Not everyone is motivated solely by money. We want to feel engaged."
Listen up, Anonymous Snowflake, people show love in different ways. On Wall Street, it's shown through bonus checks. So while you might not think that the C.R.E.A.M ethos pervades every person on every desk at every bank, bonuses are love in the Finance Family. If you want a counter-argument - you needy fucking child - try picturing feeling super-engaged after your dope woke bro manager just dropped a bonus check for $0 on your Bloomberg keyboard two weeks before Christmas (Deutsche Bankers know what we're talkin' 'bout).
But that's not even the best quote:
"Finance could be better served if they tried to flatten their organizational structure and get to know their people — even at the department level. I'm much more than simply a pitchbook."
Umm, no. You are almost certainly not more than a pitchbook and no one wants to get to know you. They would like that pitchbook though. Also, who gave you an MBA and where can we publicly shame them?
Who is telling these people that their humanity will be valued in the early days of their financial careers? If it's the Business Schools these people claim to have attended, MBAs are even less of a bargain than we thought. This shit is supposed to suck. If it wasn't for the brutality and stress, Brian Moynihan would be a well-respected Boston lawyer who could feel joy. He'd also be significantly poorer.
On that note, we would pay all the money in the world to watch a senior analyst at KKR tell Henry Kravis that he should "flatten their organizational structure" in order to better know his minions. Watching this person be incinerated would be worth every cent.
"To build an inclusive culture, you have to be authentic and genuine about it. Simply updating a website or recruiting materials to show underrepresented talent doing cool work won't change an employee's mind if they are considering Facebook. They have to do more."
Okay, this one's fair. But we would also like to remind everyone born after 1981 that there was once a period in America where paying people a lot of money to do miserable work on Wall Street was seen as success.
Speaking of which:
In addition to noting the importance of inclusion, the report advises Wall Street firms to adopt a mission that employees can get behind and allows for more flexibility and freedom. While Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has broken the mold in recent weeks — lamenting President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement on climate change, for example — bank CEOs have typically kept quiet post-financial-crisis.
One survey respondent said:
"I envied my counterparts at the Googles and LinkedIns of the world — any time a crisis popped up, the CEOs would take a stance and employees would feel energized to act. That would never happen in finance, they've always tried to be neutral."
If you want a career that allows you to seamlessly blend your personal beliefs with your professional day-to-day activities, why would you ever consider working on Wall Street? When people in finance talk about "Activism" they are not picturing a bunch of Middlebury grads protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. They are picturing Carl Icahn coming to steal food from their kids' mouths...and they respect the shit out of him for trying. So, yeah, maybe do give Google a call.
While we're at it, neutrality is not a passive stance in the world of financial services. Whenever you're managing billions of dollars of client money in whatever form that might take, you should be pulling a hamstring trying to stay as neutral as the human body will physically allow. It should fucking hurt, because it definitely fucking pays.
We get it, things are fraught out there. But one would think that a bunch of twenty or thirty-somethings with literal MBAs would recognize that there is notional value in crisis and chaos. This new administration does in fact appear to be a dangerous shitshow capable of causing a geopolitical Armageddon. But you know who's largely responsible for it? A guy who always felt really under-appreciated and unrewarded for all the work he was doing while being paid handsomely at a little bank called Goldman Sachs.
So yeah, we said it: You all sound like a bunch of Millennial Steve Bannons.