A female employee's perspective of Goldman Sachs
In the 1990s, aspiring novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee worked as an editor in the Goldman Sachs research shop, editing analysts reports.
"We were cogs in the wheels of Goldman's award-winning research department," she writes in an essay in The Atlantic about gender relations at the bank.
The essay will no doubt make the PR folks at the bank cringe, just when they thought they had turned the corner to more favorable press coverage. She's not likely to land a Greg Smith-like contract out of this, but she offers an interesting perspective, a view from the non-revenue generating service economy at the firm.
"When I used to get together with friends to discuss our jobs, the reaction to mine was always something akin to 'It sounds like a frat on steroids.' In one Goldman office, in the memos announcing a new crop of incoming female associates, instead of the usual corporate headshot, some joker used different semi-nude pictures of Playboy playmates. It was clearly thought to be clever, instead of puerile and wrong, but when I made noise about it, I was chided by a coworker for being 'humorless' and that I probably read Ms. Magazine (I did)."
I'll spare you the many details, which are not all together shocking and new. But she raises the big issue of why a woman in this day and age want to work in such an environment.
"In 1999, not terribly long after I'd left, the firm went public, which was a jackpot for the employees, even down to the lowly editors. That could have been worth an NEA fellowship or two. People always ask me, did I regret leaving? Had I known, would I have toughed it out?"
In the end, it's all about the money. How much is enough to tolerate an environment you hate?
- here's the article