Bank president reminds staff it’s no longer socially acceptable to treat junior employees like slaves vanity fair

Back in the day, before the global financial crisis forced Wall Street to grapple with how the have-nots live, it was common practice for bankers to treat junior employees like indentured servants. In exchange for making obscene amounts of money just out of college, investment-banking analysts were expected to put in 100 hours a week, format pitchbooks until their fingers bled, train themselves to answer to the phrase “hey dips–t,” and imagine, for all intents and purposes, that there was an electric fence around the perimeter of their desks that would send a shock through their bodies if they tried to cross it outside the hours of 6 A.M. and 7 A.M., when they were permitted to go home, shower, and put on a fresh shirt.


Then the financial crisis hit, financial institutions couldn’t shell out like they used to, and Silicon Valley began to poach talent with promises of ping-pong tables, cold brew on tap, and the option of wearing jeans at the office. And so the youth of Wall Street began to think . . . no longer did it seem worth it to miss their best friend‘s wedding to turn in a PowerPoint presentation that the boss deemed “literal crap” and rejected out of hand because there was an extra space after a period on page 97—at least, not for barely six figures. And though the concept of caring about what junior analysts were thinking or feeling, or whether they’d slept under their desks three consecutive nights, was a completely foreign to most senior executives, the upper echelons of Wall Street began to worry about losing their little worker bees, and decided to do something about it.

No longer were weekends viewed a privilege, not a right. Summer interns, some of whom banks wanted to turn into full-time employees come graduation, were told to make the most of their time in the big city, and to feel free not to come in until 7 A.M.. Late nights at the office became a thing of the past, with employers generously allowing young staff to head home at midnight. And while most banks have embraced these changes—in a sign of just how much things have shifted, it was Goldman Sachs’s heir apparent who was said to spearhead that firm’s initiative to treat young employees like humans—enacting policies suggesting senior staff actually learn the given names of their junior employees, and refrain from just shouting, “Hey you,” and pegging some underling in the head with a Nerf ball, it seems not everyone has completely adjusted to the new way of life:

“Given that new staffings continue to flow in and you are all very near capacity, the only way I can think of to differentiate among you is to see who is in the office in the wee hours of the morning,” the Moelis manager, who wasn’t identified in the blog post, wrote in the e-mail.

Moelis has embarked on a mission to hire more young employees than highly compensated rainmakers, so it would clearly prefer that would-be candidates not get the impression that junior staff is treated like they were in Wall Street’s “old days,” when cattle prods weren’t out of the realm of possibility. In a statement, the firm’s spokeswoman, Andrea Hurst, told Bloomberg, “The meeting was about preserving our analyst experience in the midst of heightened growth. We are an entrepreneurial growth company, and all work incredibly hard to deliver the absolute best for our clients.”

While Donald Trump’s early-morning and late-night Twitter rants threatening trade wars, Amazon, constitutional crises, and the bombing of various countries have scared the crap out of investors, the situation has actually turned out quite well for Citigroup: