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The weirdness of working for Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg is having a ‘moment’. Ever since news broke last week that its journalists were able to monitor bankers’ access to Bloomberg terminals as a source of information, Bloomberg itself has become the story. Since then a light has been shone on what working at Bloomberg entails. All we can say is – its good news if you want to stalk your colleagues, but don’t spend too much time in the washroom…

1. If you want to work at Bloomberg, you will be interviewed to death 

Goldman Sachs is well known for conducting round upon round upon round of interviews before it hires anyone. Bloomberg does much the same.

“I had eight different interviews,” said one former Bloomberg journalist.”There was one with my bureau chef and one with his boss. There was one with my team leader in London, then with a team leader in Dubai. There was one with another bureau chief in Hong Kong, and one with his boss in New York, and some others with their colleagues.”

Bloomberg didn’t immediately respond to a request to comment on its recruitment process. However, the company fully admits to being a little quirky. Bloomberg’s own website says: “At Bloomberg, we recruit differently than most companies. We want to know the real you, not just facts on a paper.”

2. If you want to work at Bloomberg, you will need to complete a three hour online test

Getting a journalism job at Bloomberg doesn’t just entail endless interviews. You’ll also need to complete a three hour test, covering everything from key facts like working out the return on equity on a stock, to editing and writing headlines. You can see some sample questions from this test by clicking here. 

3. If you want a job at Bloomberg, you may need to wait up to a year before a decision is made about hiring you

The journalist we spoke to said it took a long time before Bloomberg made the decision to hire him. In some cases, he said it can take up to a year before Bloomberg decides to whether to recruit someone or not. Another journalist had seven interviews and was then rejected on the basis of a mistake on their CV.

4. Once you leave Bloomberg, you can never come back again

According to the Financial Times, Bloomberg has a policy of not allowing departing staff to return and work there again.

5. If you work for Bloomberg, you will get to attend a lavish summer party 

In 2000 Bloomberg held a notorious Christmas party in London based around the theme of Seven Deadly Sins. This seems to have been replaced with a lavish summer party instead. “Bloomberg doesn’t have a Christmas party, but it has a great summer party,” said an ex-journalist. “They rent out a country estate and there are merry-go-rounds for kids and a disco,” he added.

6. If you work at Bloomberg, your fellow employees can monitor what you’re doing at all times 

Bloomberg takes the concept of Big Brother to a new level. The New York Observer says all Bloomberg employees can see what their colleagues are doing at all times. Quartz explains how this works: “Employees can look up—using the <FON> function on their terminals—the last time anyone scanned into or out of a Bloomberg office, which they use to keep legitimate tabs on coworkers and, more voyeuristically, to track their executives on business trips.” 

7. If you work for Bloomberg, everything may be geared to productivity maximisation, including escalators and toilets

Last January, Gawker published a strange handwritten letter, purportedly written by a Bloomberg employee who’d taken to pen and ink for fear of being traced online. Among other things, it accused Bloomberg of deliberately turning off elevators to prevent people leaving for lunch and deliberately providing an insufficient number of toilets to discourage people from spending too much time in the washroom.

8. If you work for Bloomberg you may be compelled to fetch Starbucks and be shouted at by senior staff 

The Gawker letter also suggested that senior staff at Bloomberg are guilty of sending interns out for Starbucks venti lattes and shouting in the face of juniors so that they cry. In this sense, working for Bloomberg sounds very similar to working for a bank.

Comments (7)

Comments
  1. This is exactly what one can expect at American firms. The country is a police state and so are its companies.

  2. really? … OMG

  3. As a BB employee I can assure you point 6 to 8 are complete lies. On the FON page you only see if that person is online or off and if off, if they have an appointment or day off… Sound logic to me instead of having to contact HR to ask where person X is because you urgently need him/her to confirm you something because you have an annoying investment banker who wants an answer NOW. Point 7 and 8, I don’t know where you got that info from, but BB is quite known for its flexibility (at least at the London office where I’m based). People go to the gym during work hours, take as many breaks they want, as long as you meet your targets and deadlines. And we don’t need to go out for coffee, we have a canteen that’s quite good, if I may say so.

  4. I used to be a BB employee and I am afraid points 6 to 8 were in my time 100% accurate. Absolutely ridiculous. I became severely ill after working there for 2 years and had to be off work for 6 months for my health to recover. I have no positive memory about this at all.

  5. And I was based in the London office, Finsbury Square. My manager was always making me feel terrible for taking a lunch break because nobody else in my team did.
    It was not a canteen but a simple buffet with unhealthy food which made people bloated, fat and more stressed. I have seen what a REAL canteen should be like at many other financial institutions since. At least on the positive side, I went through hell while I worked there but changed my life when I quit, became a nutritionist and my clients became my ex colleagues! Who’s laughing now?!

  6. Magalie, I don’t think you should blame your inability to deal with stress on Bloomberg as a company. This would be your own personal issue, I work here and they provide plenty of ways to help employees de-stress, healthy food in the canteen, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, fresh juices etc, they provide counselling services free of charge, they provide onsite nurses/doctors free of charge, the provide onsite physios free of charge, they provide pruhealth membership for employees, they encourage you to join the multitude of sports teams available at the company. The allow you to go on charitable events, ie; helping out in the community and give awards to those who get 50 hours of this type of out of the office work done. so many ways to deal with stress…and having worked in banks previously I know BBG are way ahead on this type of thing. You obviously had a problem which you didn’t know how to deal with and you let it ruin your time here. Also your manager cant make you feel terrible, you make you feel terrible. You are well within your rights to take your 1 hour lunch break as it’s in your contract, if you were afraid to take your lunch break this highlights the kind of nervous personality you have and highlights why you became stressed and ill. The canteen is very well stocked in my opinion, its free and contains snacks, it does not provide hot meals or lunches as you are encouraged to get out of the building and take a break for lunch, this is explained on the introduction day? You must not have been listening or you just didn’t get the whole lunch break concept. I wish you well in your new career, as i’m sure we all do, but your negative views on this company are wrong. Looks like you were not cut out for a stressful environment for any firm. I am pretty sure nobody apart from yourself is laughing as we don’t really care. Points 6-8 are not true in any way…most likely written by paranoid, anxiety ridden ex-staff with a grudge such as yourself. Stick to the green juices.

  7. Sorry but as an ex BBG and previous to that, a banker, I have to STRONGLY agree with Magalie!! I hated it. The worst for me was micromanagement gone wild…. I had worked 6 years in finance, trading, previous to that so billybob do not tell me I am not cut for stressful environments! I felt treated like a child, always on check, told off if being a little late or taking lunch breaks. I met my targets but was told off on daily basis for not completing call notes and all admin stupid things the way they want to. However, that way kept on changing every day and was a complete waste of time. I had never been that stressed out, managed, told off and treated like a high school child in any of my previous roles and it is not a bling canteen or slick fish tanks that can put a veil over this ridiculous treatment! Adults are not robots and BBG’s only goal is to standardize people. They should stick to hiring kids out of school and formatting them to not think. All the points in the article are correct! BTW, not only journalists can follow what people do on BBG, everyone has access to all the data of clients, what they use, what they look at, everything. HORRENDOUS

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