The Most Horrifying Part of Bloomberg’s Story on Young Bankers

A blog about business and economics.
May 12 2014 2:02 PM

The Most Horrifying Part of Bloomberg’s Story on Young Bankers

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Young bankers on Wall Street are sacrificing their health for deals.

Photo by Nicola Romagna via Flickr.

Bloomberg pulled a Kevin Roose last week with a long story detailing how young bankers are fed up with their 90-hour workweeks. If you read Young Money, Roose's three-year investigation of young Wall Street culture, there isn't too much new in the Bloomberg piece. It hits all the main talking points on the plight of the entry-level banker: the sleep deprivation, the personal sacrifices, the question of whether or not the lucrative salaries are worth it.

But Bloomberg has dug up one anecdote that we've never heard before, and it's truly horrifying:

Executives can be less interested in their young assistants’ health than they are in getting a deal done, former junior bankers say. One recalls working on a deal through a nasty sinus infection. When the banker resisted flying out of town to meet with the client, the managing directors said it was mandatory.
The pressure from the flight ruptured the banker’s eardrum, which started bleeding. The team pushed on with the deal talks despite the fact that the banker had lost hearing in one ear. Upon returning to New York, the banker went straight to the emergency room, where doctors ordered no flying for the next five months, preventing the banker from attending future client meetings on crucial deals.
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So you can now add "bleeding eardrums" and "hearing loss" to the potential risks of being a junior banker. Here's to hoping Wall Street will revise its sick-day policies, or that newbies will realize their health is more important than a deal.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.