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How Goldman tried and failed to retain an ops VP who was ‘bored beyond belief’, and other tales of escaping the City

Complain about your job in London and Goldman may send you to Brazil

Complain about your job in London and Goldman may send you to Brazil

It’s late, but not too late for buying Christmas gifts. If you have a banker in your life – particularly one who seems disaffected with his or her job, you might want to get them the new book by Escape the City, the site which facilitates extraction from corporate jobs.

Escape the City surveyed some Wall Street finance professionals earlier this year and found that 80% of them wanted to get out and do something different. Anecdotally, the impetus to escape is greatest for people in the early years of a banking career – when the pressure is highest and the big rewards have yet to come through.

“It’s crazy how hard you work,” one ex-corporate finance analyst told us. “I left university for an M&A boutique and of 16 of us who joined, there were only two left after three years. You learn a lot because you’re doing two to three jobs at once, but it’s a killer. One girl started losing all the skin on her hands…”

If this is you, or if this is someone you know, the ‘Escape Manifesto’ is proof that you can get out of financial services and do something completely different, as opposed to corporate strategy, or investor relations. 

A few examples of the escaped bankers from the book include:

Piers Calvert 

Was: an exotic equity derivatives trader at Deutsche Bank in London.

Is: A portraits, fashion and ‘social documentaries’ photographer based in Columbia.

Other information: Studied at Harrow School and Edinburgh University, graduated 2001.

Sarah Hilleary  

Was: A portfolio manager at Merrill Lynch in London for two years between 2006 and 2008.

Is: Founder of Australia-based Birubi Foods and BTempted, a luxury gluten-free cake company.

Jonathan Walter

Was: A vice president in accounting at Goldman Sachs between 1995 and 2002.

Is: Founder of Jonathan Walter Fine Furniture and Bark Furniture, based in Cornwall.

Other information: In 2000 Jonathan says he was “bored beyond belief.” He pleaded with his bosses at Goldman to let him do something more exciting and within a week they sent him to Sao Paulo to set up the back office for a new trading operation there. After 15 months working for Goldman in Brazil, Jonathan decided to quit Goldman altogether.

Omar Samra

Was: An analyst and associate at HSBC from 2000-2005, working in the debt finance division. Studied an MBA at the London Business School and then got an associate role at emerging markets private equity fund Actis. Left in May 2009 after one year and eight months.

Is: Founder and CEO of Wild Guanabana, a company which offers ‘experiential travel experiences.’ Also does a serious amount of mountain climbing. 

 

 

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