In case you’re wondering how keen you have to be to work at Goldman Sachs, Alison Mass, an MD and co-head of financial sponsors at Goldman in the US, is here to elucidate.
Mass gave the inaugural speech to new arrivals at NYU Stern this year, and divulged just how much she loves her job.
First let me state the obvious: I truly love my work. I wake up excited to come to the
office each day. And yes….. I am completely sane. Look, obviously not every day is
perfect. But, you better find a job that you love, or else long term, you won’t be any good
at it and you certainly won’t have a long career.
But Mass also went out of her way to disprove the caricature of investment bankers as fast-living workaholics. She mused:
There’s an all too familiar stereotype about those who inhabit the Wall Street world -we’re all supposed to be hard driving, high-intensity people, focused solely on making itbig and retiring young. The idea of an intense, short-term career has a certain appeal for some, but I can honestly say that it never really did for me.
To me, that approach didn’t allow room for much else in my life. And over time, I’vecome to realize that the shortest path isn’t likely to be the most scenic one. I remember reading a poem about journeys and destinations, by the Greek poet Cavafy.It begins, “When you set out for Ithaka, ask that your way be long, full of adventures and knowledge.
Most excitingly, Mass appears to have achieved a balance between her work and everything else.
I typically work 70-80 hours a week. I’m also married, raising two children, I work out 3-4x per week and I make sure that I spend no less than 20 days a year on the ski slopes. I’m also on the Boards of three not-for-profit organizations in healthcare, arts and education and I still have dinner with my parents every Sunday night. (Let me repeat that for all of the Moms and Dads out there…. I still have dinner w/ my parents every Sunday night)
The weighted average week
The crux of the Mass philosophy is that it is possible to excel in all things, by reapplying the ‘weighted average cost of capital’ concept to life in order to achieve a, ‘weighted average week.’
“Let me explain” (she said):
Let’s say I’m traveling to Asia for 3 – 4 days for a business meeting. On those days I have been an A+ banker, but probably haven’t been an A+ mom or an A+wife. So maybe I’ll take off work the day before my trip, spend time with my kids, drop them off and pick them up at school. And then maybe the night after I get home, I’ll go out for a dinner date with my husband and spend some one-on-one time reconnecting.