☰ Menu eFinancialCareers

Morning Coffee: Associate tells manager 120-hour weeks are abuse. Deutsche Bank’s difficulties

120-hour weeks, careers, Deutsche Bank, investment banking, investment banks, investment bankers, investment banking associates, associates, financial services, the City, Wall Street

Burning the candle at both ends leads to burnout.

Have you ever had a boss that you couldn’t stand and wished you could tell a thing or two without fear of reprisal? Well, a former investment banking associate did just that in an anonymous first-person letter addressed to a former manager.

Published in the Guardian, the letter noted the “long hours and a complete work-life imbalance” at the investment bank, but admitted “I loved the good salary, the rush and the sense of achievement I got from structuring exotic deals. I was committed.”

After witnessing the breakdown of a fellow associate, the writer felt pride for holding up, not sympathy, having been hardened to pressure and inculcated with the fear of being perceived as “too soft.”

However,  working 20-hour days, 120-hour weeks and being on-call 24/7 eventually made the associate feel like “a piece of gum that has been chewed up and mangled” – “constantly jittery and on edge.”

When the banker mentioned this to the boss, they said: “Good! This means we’re training you well.” The physical and mental health of the team wasn’t an issue.

After four years of exhausting, well-paid work, the associate’s body was collapsing. That’s when the rebellion began.

“I began arriving to work later than usual and I even started taking time to eat a proper breakfast and lunch. I worked overtime, but I left before late evening and started turning off my phone at weekends. I caught up on sleep.”

The boss “would shout and scream that if I didn’t work harder, I would miss out on my bonus. You also dumped work on me at all hours and then disappeared for unexplained absences during the day.”

But even after getting promoted and moving to another team, something wasn’t right. So the banker quit to pursue something else: becoming an actor. “I want to thank you for treating me like a mangled piece of gum, because your hardened attitude helped me to realise life is too short to live for money,” he concluded as he left to follow his dreams.

Separately, Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan’s problems keep piling up as he tries to revive the lender’s growth and increase market share.

First, Autonomous Research said the lender may be “beyond repair” unless there’s a “miracle” boom at its once-mighty bond-trading business.

Then, Fitch Ratings cut Deutsche Bank’s long-term credit grade cut one level, saying the bank will take longer to revive growth under its current turnaround plan: “We no longer expect revenue to demonstrate any clear signs of franchise recovery this year, and we expect necessary further restructuring costs to continue to erode net income.” Then a major shareholder warned that CEO John Cryan has six months to turn the bank around or he’ll have to go.

To make matters worse, Deutsche Bank has to pay $190m to settle U.S. litigation accusing it of rigging prices in the roughly $5.1 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market, Reuters reports.

Cryan said that the bank needs to focus more on generating revenue after its current restructuring drive to reduce costs.

Meanwhile:

Citi is applying for a license to conduct sales and trading activities in France. (Reuters)

Bank of America also wants Paris to be its European base for certain investment banking operations after Brexit. (Financial News)

Today’s Goldman’s equities traders are, “a little more technology enabled and a little more thoughtful,” than they used to be. (Business Insider)

Has Goldman got something against John Thain? Travis Kalanick appointed John Thain, ex-CEO of Merrill Lynch, ex-GS banker to Uber’s board even though Goldman Sachs proposed an alternative. (New York Times)

Some high-income earners could have their marginal tax rate drop from 39.6% to 25%. (Bloomberg)

PE firms are likely to be hiring in Europe. (WSJ)

Venture capitalists with daughters are more successful, because the latter have an effect on the former’s hiring policies. (The Economist)

Many hedge fund firms are doing better than they have been for quite some time and hence looking to add headcount. (WSJ)

We are in the midst of a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic,” the consequences of which are far graver than any of us could imagine. (The Guardian)

A Cambridge-born 30-year-old University of College London graduate and ex-banker is fighting with the Syriac Military Council (MFS), a Christian group battling ISIL a.k.a. ISIS and Daesh. (Daily Mail)

Photo credit: georgeclerk/GettyImages

Comments (0)

Comments

The comment is under moderation. It will appear shortly.

React

Screen Name

Email

Consult our community guidelines here