When I first started in the markets I roomed with a guy who worked at Goldman Sachs.
Here's the latest from our Highly Placed Professional:
I was at Yamaichi, a place of such delicious contrasts and chaos that it appealed to my almost pre-teen sense of fun. However hard I tried, however, I just couldn't take Yamaichi seriously, although ironically I was quite good at the sales job the firm gave me and became a decent producer.
Meanwhile my roomy was starting out at Goldman. And he would talk about it with a certain reverence, almost a religious fervour.
Anyway, every weekend we’d arrange to go pubbing, clubbing, play footy, hang out, chase girls - in sum, all the things you’re meant to do as a young bachelor in London. Except my mate kept bailing on me at the last minute.
‘Dude. I’ve got to go in this Saturday morning.’
‘Why ? You’re in bond sales. The markets are closed!’
‘It looks good and it’s expected', he'd reply.
Like the angry young man I was, I would get fed up and take it all personally, but a pattern became clear. You went in at weekends at Goldman for valuable face time and because the firm came first at all times. The job became your girlfriend and your social life too.
Over the years I've heard horror stories from other mates, especially in corporate finance and M&A, about life at Goldman, but it’s interesting that firms like Goldman are now realising that a good work life balance is a key attribute. And the firm is now encouraging junior associates to leave the office alone at weekends and to take a chill pill.
But this really is the correct approach, as to really succeed in our industry people need to constantly refresh their sense of perspective, and you don’t do that from being hunched over a screen 24/7.
And, never forget, most customers want genuine people to deal with - not company clones!
image: © Julikeishon