The Current

Goldman Sachs tells interns to go midnight

When the clock strikes twelve, interns at Goldman-Sachs have been told to leave the office, and get some shut eye. That leaves only a mere 17 hours a day to work. Working till you can't work any more, then working some more, is endemic in our culture. We look at the personal cost.
The death of an intern at an investment firm prompts Goldman Sachs to restrict interns from working midnight through 7 am. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Landing an internship at a top tier Wall Street firm such as Goldman Sachs is considered a foot in the door to a very lucrative career. All that's left to do is work around the clock, and impress your superiors. 

But that has its costs. 

Two years ago, a 21-year-old Bank of America intern died after finishing a 72-hour stint at the office. A coroner blamed Moritz Ehrhardt's death on a epileptic seizure, noting fatigue could have been a trigger.

In the wake of his death, Goldman Sachs brought in some new rules, made public this week. It is restricting intern workdays to a mere 17 hours... kicking them out of the office at midnight. But will that be enough to change the industry's culture of all-work and no play?

Polly Courtney was an intern at Merrill Lynch in 2001, and stayed there for two years.  She's the author of a semi-autobiographical novel about being a junior investment banker, called "Golden Handcuffs." She was in Shoreham, England. 

William Cohan is the author of "Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World." He was in New York.

Our request for an interview with Goldman Sachs was declined.

The world of investment banking may be famous for its long hours, but it's hardly the only industry where people work themselves to the brink. Right across society, overwork is hitting people hard -- in terms of health, and family life.

Leah Eichler is CEO of r/ally and an expert on the future of work.. He was in Toronto.

Have thoughts you want to share with us on this story? What is your experience with long hours at work?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese, Pacinthe Mattar and Daisy Xiong.