Pity the junior banksters fresh out of school, who according to Bloomberg News aren't sticking around for the abuse of 90 hour work weeks and $300,000 salaries, when they can make real money in Silicon Valley.
Hamilton Colwell started as a junior banker at JPMorgan’s structured-foreign-exchange desk in 2006, when he was 27. His specialty was helping clients manage risk through interest-rate derivatives. His skills were in high demand both before and during the crisis. In 2008 and early 2009, Colwell often worked day and night, he says, returning home only to shower and change.
In dealing with friends and family, “I learned quickly not to make promises I couldn’t keep,” Colwell says. He had a girlfriend. “Weekends away and dinners out with her were always sacrificed,” he says. “It quickly became normal.” The two eventually broke up.
After Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed, the crush of work made Colwell, now 36, realize he couldn’t stay in banking. Even after the markets calmed, Colwell was still working 13 hours a day during the week and often on weekends. He says for a while it was invigorating. That faded.
“I saw the light and realized that I needed to do something more meaningful,” he says.
They've gone from the dudebros of Wall Street to the Dudebros of Infinite Loop.
After leaving JPMorgan in 2010, Colwell used the money he earned but never had time to spend to start a company called Healthy Mom LLC, which produces Maia Yogurt. A foodie in his meager spare time, he made the first batch on the stove of his Manhattan apartment after his cousin bet him that he couldn’t make a tasty yogurt that would also be good for her during her pregnancy.
The company manufactures its products at a dairy plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It now sells 100,000 cups a week of the low-sugar, low-fat yogurt, which is enhanced with probiotics, to supermarkets including Whole Foods Market Inc., Safeway Inc., Giant Food Stores LLC and Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.
Roger Wu, who was an intern at Goldman Sachs in 1999, also decided that the banker’s life was not for him. He remembers being angry and frustrated when clients made unreasonable demands, such as requesting at the end of the day a presentation for the following morning.
“So guess who’s staying up all night?” Wu asks. “You are, because the client gives you this thing at 6 o’clock, and they need it on their desk by 9 a.m.”
Wu, 37, recalls that even when he wasn’t actually working, his life was not his own.
“A lot of what you’re doing is twiddling your fingers,” he says. Leaving the office, while sometimes encouraged, isn’t really a viable option because the work flow isn’t predictable.
“If you go to a museum or the movies, your BlackBerry goes off and you’ve got to get back to the office,” Wu says.
He turned down a job offer from Goldman to join a technology company that converted organic waste into fossil fuels. He currently helps run Cooperatize Inc., a business-to-business advertising platform he co-founded with a friend.
Hooray! Yogurt and poop!
You know, I have little sympathy for investment bankers, and even less for investment bankers who go off to work for Silly Valley. It's like going from the group that destroyed our economy to the group that's trying to destroy our economy yet again.
It takes a special kind of person to be that much of an arrogant douchewad, and frankly I don't want to know about it.