From the early days of Zero Hedge in 2009 to Matt Taibbi's 2010 critique, "The Great American Bubble Machine," Goldman Sachs has been one of the all-time favorite punching bags in critical circles. It's easy to imagine Tyler Durden in a Fight Club style brawl with Lloyd Blankfein, taunting him, "No bailouts this time."
Taibbi called Goldman "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity." This time, their victim was Sarvshreshth Gupta, a rookie analyst just 22 years old from the University of Pennsylvania. Gupta was found dead in a parking lot next to his apartment building on the corner of Sacramento Street and Brooklyn Place in San Francisco. He apparently fell from the building.
After working 100 hours a week, he told his father, "This job is not for me." In March, he quit. However, like the crazy woman in Fatal Attraction, Goldman was not going to be ignored. A week later, Goldman urged him to reconsider. His father encouraged him to return, and he did. Gupta was put on a reduced schedule (does 70 hours qualify as reduced?)
However, it was just a ruse, and Gupta was back up to 100 hours again soon enough. On April 16 at 2:40 a.m., he called his father again, "It is too much. I have not slept for two days." This time, his father told him to quit. Gupta said he would leave the office soon. Several hours later, he was found dead in the parking lot. Goldman strikes again.
Just six weeks later, Thomas Hughes, an associate at investment bank Moelis & Co., jumped off his luxury apartment building in Manhattan. Witness Mario Mroczkowski said that Thomas was decapitated after hitting a guard rail.
All of this reminds me of another story two years ago. Moritz Erhardt was a 21-year-old intern at Merrill Lynch. After working all night for 3 days in a row, he collapsed in the shower and died.
Bankers have become the modern day chimney sweepers as far as physical health is concerned. Yes, they are well-paid, but it's hard to enjoy your money when you're at the office all night or when you're dead. Even the financial career website "e-financial-careers" published an article called "How banking can ruin your body and mind." When a large career network releases the financial equivalent of the surgeon general's warning, that should catch your attention.
According to Tim Bean, a trainer who works with bankers at Lloyds, 51% of men working in the City who are over 40 years old have erectile dysfunction. From caffeine to alcohol to cocaine, the banker's body is a pharmaceutical playground.
One notable excerpt from the article is called "The banking body-abuse cycle:"
Michel studied two departments at two investment banks (one comprising corporate financiers, the other salespeople and traders) and conducted hundreds of interviews. She eventually concluded that bankers go through a cycle of bodily abuse until they either drop out or take control.
One to three years: Abuse
In the first 1-3 years of a banking career, Michel discovered that bankers tend to repress their bodies. During this period, they work hard regardless of exhaustion/broken legs/eating disorders/alopecia and do whatever is required to get the job done. Michel came across one female banker in this phase who had fallen and broken her leg in two places on the way to a meeting. Although it changed colour and was painful, the banker ignored the symptoms until her meeting was over.
Four to six years: Breakdown
After 4 years in a banking career, Michel said bankers' bodies start fighting back. "Bankers developed embarrassing tics, such as nail biting, nose picking, or hair twirling," she discovered, adding that the bankers she studied, 'shopped, partied and consumed pornography' to combat numbness, achieve control and escape. At this stage, however, the previous years of bodily abuse start to become an issue. "It is an ongoing battle. My body caves in one way and I find another way around it'" one banker told Michel.
Six years plus: Care and attention
Bankers who make it through the body-meltdown phase were compelled to start taking note of their physical limitations and to start looking after themselves, said Michel. Interestingly, she suggested that this applied most effectively to bankers who'd spent six years or more working for a single firm: "Bankers had to be socialized before they could distance themselves."
One solution is to avoid banking entirely. Gupta had the right idea, but the Goldman Sachs vampire squid sucked him back into the office. In a world where corporations have rigged the job market, college graduates can't find work, and machines are taking over nearly every job, Gupta was just trying to survive by taking one of the few opportunities left in the post-crash world.