Lessons in stress mitigation from Jamie Dimon, David Cameron and Ken Clarke

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Jamie Dimon

Not so golden now

It is not good to be long term ill in investment banking. As we’d suspected, Ina Drew’s demise did indeed have its roots in her long absence in 2010. Yesterday, the New York Times described how, while Drew was away,  Achilles Macris (he who had a photograph of a large missile on his wall) ramped-up risk and led morning conference calls riven with internal politics that descended into shouting matches.

Ina Drew wasn’t off with stress: she was off with Lymes disease  (a tick-borne illness that can lead to serious complications if not treated immediately). Nevertheless, stress is a massive reason for employee absences in investment banking.  Patrick Watt, head of ‘wellbeing’ at Goldman Sachs’ said last month that there are two main reasons why Goldman bankers don’t come in to work: mental health (stress) and skeletal upsets (back problems).

In this context, we draw your attention to three contrasting approaches to stress, used by three important men.  All appear to work for their proponents, although Jamie Dimon’s stresses may be mounting nonetheless.

The Dimon method: exercise

When Jamie Dimon is stressed, he gets up early and takes some exercise.

Hence, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that, having found it difficult to breathe upon hearing of the losses in the CIO,   Dimon couldn’t sleep and, ‘and fought the anxiety by getting up very early to exercise and head into the office.’

The Cameron method: chilling

David Cameron was praised over the weekend (by Michael Gove) for his, “finely developed capacity” to separate work and relaxation in order to clear his mind. Unlike Dimon, Cameron reportedly  mitigates stress by have very clearly delineated non-work times.

For example, he reportedly spends his Sundays: getting up early and working, but then watching a, ‘crap film on telly’, playing with the children, cooking, having three or four glasses of wine, an afternoon nap, and playing tennis.

The Clarke method: indulgence

Finally, Ken Clarke, the justice secretary, former Chancellor of the Exchequer and one time director of F&C, also opined on stress reduction methods.

Unlike Cameron, Clarke said his chosen method of stress absorption is a cigar and brandy, to the extent that while Cameron is up at the crack of dawn, you’re more likely to find him: “with a brandy and a cigar at one o'clock in the morning working on my papers.”

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