Published: Jun 17, 2015
Years ago, back when I worked as a freelancer, there was this bar in Lower Manhattan that I frequented due to its notoriously good Sunday night happy hour, which actually began on Monday morning, that is, it began at the stroke of midnight—at 12 a.m. As I recall, this bar would be nearly empty on Sundays until about 11:56 p.m., at which point the place would begin to fill up and, by 12:03 a.m., there wouldn’t be an open seat in sight.
I mention this not to impress you with the perks of a freelancer (of which there weren’t as many as you might think) but only because if the aforementioned bar is still in operation, it would probably be a great place for new Goldman Sachs summer interns to know about. Reason is, thanks to a new Goldman policy, the bank’s interns are now forbidden from working between the hours of midnight and 7 a.m.
The move, which might surprise those who aren’t familiar with intern hours on Wall Street (yes, even summer analysts have been known to pull all-nighters), follows a policy that Goldman enacted a couple years ago that forbids its full-time analysts from working on Saturdays. It also follows the apparent suicides of two Wall Street bankers—one who worked for Goldman, the other for Moelis & Company—whose brutal work schedules may have had more than a little to do with their deaths.
Goldman’s so-called Protected-Saturday policy, which has been copied by numerous other Wall Street firms, was itself enacted in the wake of a Bank of America summer intern dying after reportedly working three all-nighters in a row (the official cause of his death was epilepsy).
And so, since Goldman tends to run ahead of the Wall Street pack, both when it comes to profits and to workplace policies, chances are good that you will see other investment banks implementing similar moves, giving their interns more time to sleep this summer and/or party it up downtown.
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In the wake of two recent deaths of young Wall Street bankers, it seems a good time to revisit the subject of punishing hours in investment banking.
Last fall, in the wake of Goldman Sachs’ announcement of its new policy preventing young bankers from working on Saturdays (unless working on a live transaction), I wrote about Why Goldman Sachs’ New Saturdays-Off Policy Won’t Work. Now, some nine months later, after several other banks have followed Goldman’s suit and enacted their own “Protected Saturday” policies, I’m happy to report that I might’ve spoken too soon.
Last week, a 21-year-old Bank of America intern in London died after reportedly working three all-nighters in a row. Although the cause of death has not yet been determined—there have been reports that the investment banking intern, Moritz Erhardt, suffered from epilepsy, and neither BofA nor anyone outside the bank has substantiated rumors that he worked 72 hours straight—the news is shining a rather bright light on the long workweeks and high stress that young bankers routinely deal with both across the Atlantic and here in the States.
For those who are invested in such things, be they prospective students assessing which school to attend or alumni wondering how the prestige of their alma mater is faring, the new US News law rankings released on March 28. There was one extremely significant event in the ranking shifts this year, as some predicted given the changes in US News' methodology over last year.
You’ve just received word that your job is going to switch to the fully remote paradigm. That means no more travel expenses or traffic, no more rushing frenetically from place to place, and no more of the crushing outfit dilemma you’ve faced with each new day.
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