Sitting at her desk at Goldman Sachs, Julissa Arce is doing her best to keep it together. It’s September 2007. Her father is dying in Taxco de Alarcón, a small and hilly city in Mexico, and she has just hung up after a call from her sister with bad news.
Arce stands and leaves the row where she and her colleagues create derivatives and market them to rich people. She walks down the hall, opens the bathroom door, and locks herself in a stall.
“Do not be anxious about anything,” she says under her breath, repeating Philippians 4:6. “Do not be anxious about anything.”
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that then she straightens, washes her face, and returns to work. Her banker colleagues can’t understand why she won’t get on a plane to see her father. Arce tells them that her family will keep her posted, and she might be leaving tomorrow. There is no crying on the private wealth management floor.
The overachievers at Goldman Sachs aren’t all the same. Some have been valedictorians, or Navy SEALs, or the sons or grandsons of the company’s bankers. Some will stop at nothing to amass a fortune; others are patient. And at least one was an undocumented immigrant. Arce, who turns 32 in March, owed her bright career on Wall Street to fake papers bought for a few hundred dollars in a stranger’s living room in Texas.
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