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Morning Coffee: Goldman Sachs VP quits after partner's vacation confession. Morgan Stanley's harsh words on WFH

By the time he left Goldman Sachs in 2010, Nickyl Raithatha had a pretty good idea of what it was like to work there. His LinkedIn profile says that after he graduated in economics from Cambridge University he spent four years at Goldman in London as a European telecoms researcher. Then he did the standard Harvard MBA before returning to GS. And there, at Goldman Sachs in London once more, Raithatha had an epiphany.

It struck at a partner's leaving party. When the gnarly old partner made his retirement speech, the 28 year-old Raithatha was horrified by the revelation that the partner had barely had any time off for decades. During his 26 years with the firm, the partner said the most amount of consecutive time he'd had away from work was two weeks for holidays. That was all.

For Raithatha, this was a signal to get out. “By every external metric, he is one of the most successful people I still know. But it really hit me - that’s not the life I want to lead,” he told the Telegraph.

Today,  Raithatha works in "emotional commerce", selling greeting cards as CEO of Moonpig. Before he took the job, he went travelling for a year. He always runs in the mornings; he always bathes his baby daughter in the evenings. During the Moonpig IPO, he said there were,"a lot of lawyers and accountants and advisors and bankers just not understanding why.”

While Raithatha's post-Goldman life seems more balanced, it's worth noting that he didn't move straight to a life of travel and morning jogs after the epiphany. First he went into private equity for a bit, where the working hours can be even worse. Only after two years there did he move into eCommerce: this wasn't a knee-jerk career change. “I kind of applied that lightbulb moment to this concept of ‘actually, I’ve probably got a 60-year career, rather than a 38 or 40-year career [ahead] and so I’m going to take, quite deliberately, a more methodical, but not a vanilla approach to my career,” he said.

It's also worth noting that the partner who was retiring at Goldman Sachs had only been working for 26 years and therefore probably wasn't that gnarly, and presumably was then free to spend the rest of his days lying on a deck chair in the garden drinking beer if he so wished. - Banking has long been an industry where the gratification of free time is deferred until later, on the presumption that you will still have the health and inclination to take it. And if you want a big chunk of paid time off sooner? There's always gardening leave.

Separately, people are getting back to work at Goldman Sachs in New York and there seems to be some kind of festival vibe going on there, except with free food and drink instead of overpriced cocktails and crêpes. Bloomberg says Goldman returnees are greeted by an 'array of food trucks blaring music,' extra coffee stations for hanging out, and complimentary food in the cafeteria. The music is presumably David Solomon's latest opus, which the Goldman CEO has been promoting on his Instagram account, alongside comments like, "So good, will be playing it on the Barc trading floor," and "Love it, so proud to be led by the Googlest CEO worldwide."

While Goldman sets about being a bit like Google, Morgan Stanley seems to be channelling something else. CEO James Gorman told people yesterday that he will be "disappointed" if people don't return to the office by Labor Day in September and that, “If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office and we want you in the office.” 

If people don't manifest in the office by Labor Day a "different conversation" will be had, said Gorman. “If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York,” he added ominously.


Jane Fraser is being more gentle about the return to work at Citigroup. (Bloomberg) 

Jamie Dimon says JPMorgan bankers are having the most epic quarter. “Investment banking, it could be one of the best quarters we’ve ever seen...I would just use a number like up 20 per cent for prior year [and] prior quarter. It could be 15-20 per cent. The reason for that is there are big deals that may or may not close.” (Financial Times)

Junior lawyers' salaries increased from $190k to $200k. (WSJ) 

In London, Californian law firm Cooley is offering reimbursements of £45k for fertility treatments, while London-based Clifford Chance has extended its health insurance to cover investigations and treatment, up to a cost of £15k. (Financial Times)

On a call in March, someone at Credit Suisse asked CEO Thomas Gottstein how the Archegos ordeal would affect their bonuses. The executives responded to the question with a nonanswer — calling for solidarity across business lines. (Business Insider)

There's a new ultra-secure messaging service used by diplomats and the highest level of the French government. It's called Matrix. (Wired) 

The oldest rule of male power dressing is that a man’s suit should be dark in colour and completely matte. So, far from having any silken shine, no more light should escape from it than from a black hole. The effect is flattering to every body type and conveys moral seriousness. (Financial Times)

Ted Pick at Morgan Stanley turned up at an Amazon fishing expedition where everyone else was decked out in hardcore fishing gear, wearing a pair of leather loafers. (Bloomberg) 

Photo by David Vives on Unsplash

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ja
    16 June 2021

    Get a grip, the most time I've had away is two weeks too. And no doubt work harder and paid less. So disconnected from reality and working class.

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