'You Are 'Busy' If You Are Working Each Weekday At Least 16 Hours'

Here's a trip down memory lane. The text of a memo sent to investment banking support staff over at DLJ in 1994.

'It has come to my attention (largely because of my inability to staff deals) that everyone claims to be 'too busy. However, everyone has his or her own definition of 'too busy', which can cause inequities in assignments.

The one true definition of 'too busy' is being physically unable and having no more time to do more work (not to take on one more deal).

Let's define 'busy'. You are 'busy' if you are working each weekday at least 16 hours and at least 16 hours on the weekend. These are working hours - not travelling, gabbing or eating time. If these are not your hours at the office, you have the capacity to take on more work. Vacations, weekend plans, roadshows, overstaffed due diligence or drafting sessions must take a back seat to getting work done. If you are planning any such activities, you should see me before going.

As you know, we rely on your judgement in taking on new deals. Bed checks, beepers, sign-in sheets, etc, are not part of our culture. Fairness and equitable treatment are part of our fabric. And if someone is not pulling as hard on their oar as hard as our hardest worker, then they are, pardon the expression, freeloading.

Since none of you are held accountable for revenues, the issue comes down to fairness of the distribution of work. At a time when we are trying to establish DLJ as the best firm on Wall Street, we all have to pull together equally until more help arrives. It's only fair to your colleagues'.

Unfortunately DLJ never made it as the 'best' firm on Wall Street, being acquired by Credit Suisse in 2000 in a deal which, until ABN Amro was bought by the RBS consortium, was regarded by some as the worst banking merger ever.

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