There will be an unusually large number of 20-something bankers on holiday this year. In the past, junior banking staff were usually compelled to forego holidays at the final moment by despotic line managers. This is no longer so. Under new measures to ensure that junior bankers don’t overdo it, holidays have instead become compulsory.
At Citigroup, for example, all analysts and associates must take 100% of their allotted holiday time. This measure is referred to within Citi by the authoritarian, non-beachy moniker of ‘Mandatory Vacation Utilization,’ and is tracked by senior management. At JPMorgan, analysts and associates reportedly get four weeks’ holiday per year, and are actually encouraged to take it. At Goldman Sachs, juniors get three weeks’ vacation per year and (following a memo last November), are made to take at least one, if not two, of those weeks in full five day slots.
Given that senior bankers like to disappear in July and August, now seems the most auspicious time for juniors to make use of their new-found holiday entitlement. However, as the King Juan Carlos of Spain has illustrated, poor holiday choices can be detrimental to your career. If you’re spending time out of the office, don’t spend it killing endangered species.
Do spend it reading. JPMorgan has issued its summer reading list. You can see it here. It includes some esoteric stuff (The Future of the Mind), an existential self-help manual (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth) and a recipe book.
If JPMorgan’s 11 books are insufficient to keep you occupied, you could also read Goldman Sachs’ favourite business book of the past year – ‘The Everything Store,’ a biography of Amazon. Or you could try the other six finalists on Goldman’s shortlist, including something on how big data is taking over the world.
Needless, to say junior bankers may also wish to read Piketty, even though it may leave them questioning whether banking will ever enable them to become as rich as they’d hoped.
If you’re a 20-something financial services workhorse, it’s probably not worth reading your literature in expensive locations like Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia. Leave these to the VPs and MDs. Impress your line manager with your willingness to push the holiday paradigm. For example, there’s a rudimentary ex-charcoal burner’s hut with five star ratings deep in a Swedish forest. You may not get a tan, but you will come back from your imposed relaxation time with anecdotes about reading your books by candlelight.