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Slavery In The City: Death Of 21-Year-Old Intern Moritz Erhardt At Merrill Lynch

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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/slavery-in-the-city-death-of-21yearold-intern-moritz-erhardt-at-merrill-lynch-sparks-furore-over-long-hours-and-macho-culture-at-banks-8775917.html

Serious concerns have been raised tonight about the punishing hours endured by interns at City investment banks following the death of a young Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee.

Moritz Erhardt, 21, was nearing the end of a seven-week internship in London when he collapsed at home after working until 6am for three days in a row.

His body was discovered by his flatmates. The circumstances of his death are unknown, but police are not treating them as suspicious. Some reports suggested that Mr Moritz, from Freiburg, south-west Germany, was epileptic.

Around 300 interns working at various banks stay at the Claredale House student accommodation complex in Bethnal Green in east London for between seven and 10 weeks over the summer. One intern, who did not want to be named, told The Independent those in Mr Moritz’s investing banking division group faced the longest hours.

He said: “We all work long hours, but the guys working regularly until 3am or 4am are those in investment banking. People working in markets will have to be in at 6am but not stay as late, so what time you can leave the office depends on your division.

“You’re only doing it for up to 10 weeks so there’s a general acceptance of it. I see many people wandering around, blurry-eyed and drinking caffeine to get through but people don’t complain because the potential rewards are so great. We’re competing for some very well-paid jobs.”

Another intern living at Claredale claimed that Mr Erhardt, who had been earning £2,700 a month or £45,000 pro rata, collapsed from exhaustion. “He apparently pulled eight all-nighters in two weeks. They get you working crazy hours and maybe it was just too much for him in the end,” they said.

I think we can all safely rest knowing that no bank will face any action over this.

Just what is it that they are doing that means they need to be awake and at work for all these hours?

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http://www.independe...ks-8775917.html

I think we can all safely rest knowing that no bank will face any action over this.

Just what is it that they are doing that means they need to be awake and at work for all these hours?

so they work very long hours, and are allowed back to the dorm at night, to return before sleeping properly if at all.

Just missing the Guard Towers and Barbed wire.

As above, just WTF requires people to do these stupid hours? Many services provide 24 hour cover, but that doesnt call on the work force to actually work 24 hours.

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....give them an inch they'll take a mile....sometimes the culture of wanting and showing can to do more, earn more, be more successful is so overpowering minor things like health and state of mind gets overlooked.....different people have different stress levels and act to different circumstances differently....strong fear of what is thought of as failure. ;)

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so they work very long hours, and are allowed back to the dorm at night, to return before sleeping properly if at all.

Just missing the Guard Towers and Barbed wire.

As above, just WTF requires people to do these stupid hours? Many services provide 24 hour cover, but that doesnt call on the work force to actually work 24 hours.

Indeed

Warren buffet, bill gates etc etc have never worked those hours, so why is it deemed necessary as a precursor to competence?

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That's the kind of "commitment" expected of all interns these days.

Anything less, the management consider you a slacker.

Competence takes a back seat to bum kissing

Madness

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That's the kind of "commitment" expected of all interns these days.

Anything less, the management consider you a slacker.

That's the kind of commitment that has been expected of juniors for a long time, probably since people were hunting mammoths on the tundra. I've worked at McKinseys, Anderson Consulting and AA and they all expected that kind of work effort for the first three years. At AC the juniors were called "The Seals" after the Navy Seals. As a junior you had to be ready to head for any part of the world to work with a few hours notice.

The quality of the work performed on 18 / 20 hour days (all billed to the client, of course) was variable to say the least. At one of the consultancies my job was to go over the work done by others and either fix it or get it into a presentable state.

bill gates etc etc have never worked those hours,

Bill Gates has, that is why he expected it of others who were maybe not getting the same rewards.

Edited by davidg

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That's the kind of commitment that has been expected of juniors for a long time, probably since people were hunting mammoths on the tundra. I've worked at McKinseys, Anderson Consulting and AA and they all expected that kind of work effort for the first three years. At AC the juniors were called "The Seals" after the Navy Seals. As a junior you had to be ready to head for any part of the world to work with a few hours notice.

The quality of the work performed on 18 / 20 hour days (all billed to the client, of course) was variable to say the least. At one of the consultancies my job was to go over the work done by others and either fix it or get it into a presentable state.

not so easy if the guy in A&E is a sleep deprived new Doctor.

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That's the kind of "commitment" expected of all interns these days.

Anything less, the management consider you a slacker.

Encouraged hm? Seems like a lot of interns trying to please.

Maybe the real test to being recruited as an intern is being able to tell managers 'no' beyond a certain point. Going into their office and telling them to get one of the other intern clone pleasers to pull more than 1 successive late shift, as you have a dinner reservation with hot girl / strip club, theatre/opera ect, or just that you're not a mug like the others.

A source at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Mr Erhardt had completed previous internships at other investment banks but could not confirm or deny claims he had worked exceptionally long hours.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2397527/Bank-America-Merrill-Lynch-intern-Moritz-Erhardt-dead-working-long-hours.html

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That's the kind of commitment that has been expected of juniors for a long time, probably since people were hunting mammoths on the tundra. I've worked at McKinseys, Anderson Consulting and AA and they all expected that kind of work effort for the first three years. At AC the juniors were called "The Seals" after the Navy Seals. As a junior you had to be ready to head for any part of the world to work with a few hours notice.

The quality of the work performed on 18 / 20 hour days (all billed to the client, of course) was variable to say the least. At one of the consultancies my job was to go over the work done by others and either fix it or get it into a presentable state.

The quality of work is going to be p155 poor as people will be too tired especially if they are doing this days on end. And bosses think working people into this state is useful?

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The quality of work is going to be p155 poor as people will be too tired especially if they are doing this days on end. And bosses think working people into this state is useful?

It will never cease to amaze me how many people always favour quantity over quality.

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Bill Gates has, that is why he expected it of others who were maybe not getting the same rewards.

Really, that's not what I was led to believe and it had never come out in the biographical accounts of Gates that I have seen, but please provide a reference to correct me, certainly the insights I've had into Microsoft culture (via various media and 3rd hand discussions) is not one of completely crazy hours, hard work yes, not this level of madness

Richard Branson and Margaret Thatcher got 3 hours sleep per night at their busiest, in Thatcher's case her husband would force her to finish off her meetings and get to bed at 4 or 5 in the morning.

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The quality of work is going to be p155 poor as people will be too tired especially if they are doing this days on end. And bosses think working people into this state is useful?

All they do is make pretty pictures in powerpoint or research (look on the internet) to provide as many obvious risks as possible to cover themselves from litigation. Banking allows the mediocre to earn a higher than average salary - that's always been the case. These people aren't Bill Gates or Warren Buffett they have no idea how to actually create anything. In my experience, these are the kids who want to please, did all their homework when at school and never failed an exam. They have no actual ability to take risk generate new ideas or be super creative. They just want to be "safe" in the world and the best way to do that is earn more money so you can provide for a family.

Remember the business models for banks especially in Investment banking. Its not built on time and materials you only get paid when the deal completes so making people work hard is one way of making them show commitment.

The reality is - a rainmaker who is from a well-connected family (or rose up the ranks and got to know the market makers) brings in possible deals i.e companies that want to buy and sell each other or raise debt or equity for CapEx/expenses. The grunts below go through a well rehearsed churn to show they can produce perfect documentation to enable investors to make a decision. Investors rarely read all of this information and go on the rainmaker's showmanship, experience and previous deal success. So the point of the documentation is really just to prevent being sued and is considered the boring crappy work that the "burnout kids" do. Very few of these people will achieve the status they think they will have in 10 years time. Most will burnout or settle for general operations work.

Consulting is a bit different - you do work on time and materials but you rarely charge clients after 8 hours a day so you therefore get a cheap labour force for higher than average salaries who are willing to work all hours to get the job done. That is a very attractive temporary labour force to any management executive who has to turnaround a business or fire fight a new issue. So consulting firms charge £300/hr for 8 hour days regardless of time worked and pay their staff £50/day before tax its a fairly simple model. Overtime is not paid.

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Really, that's not what I was led to believe and it had never come out in the biographical accounts of Gates

Gates and Paul Allen pulled all nighters to get Altair Basic ready. Any programmer will have done his share of all nighters; when you are in the flow it is a good way to work, up to a point.

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Gates and Paul Allen pulled all nighters to get Altair Basic ready. Any programmer will have done his share of all nighters; when you are in the flow it is a good way to work, up to a point.

When you're in the flow yes, but that is usually followed by a period of rest when your problem is solved

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When you're in the flow yes, but that is usually followed by a period of rest when your problem is solved

Well the guy in question had only done 3 days of all nighters before he keeled over.

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Well the guy in question had only done 3 days of all nighters before he keeled over.

Done 8 all nighters in the previous fortnight

Out of interest, what would you call excessive in this regard?

Edited by Si1

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Gates and Paul Allen pulled all nighters to get Altair Basic ready. Any programmer will have done his share of all nighters; when you are in the flow it is a good way to work, up to a point.

All these tech startup guys did it, wozniak speaks of entering a 'super creative' hazy state brought about by sleep deprivation, it was in this state he came up with methods to generate colour in the first computers connected to tvs.

Stopping and starting at 9am and 5pm is the bizarre thing to do, if youre creating something your useful output per unit of time is never constant. But importantly you should be doing this because you want to, because you are your own person and it is up to you and that is the way you choose to work. If you are being driven to it then you get problems.

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Done 8 all nighters in the previous fortnight

Out of interest, what would you call excessive in this regard?

I think the limit would be a couple of all nighters, maybe a weekend of working in the office once in the year for a professional job unless you have a financial interest in the company beyond salary. Clearly 8 all nighters is excessive and counter productive. I think it was wartime munition factories that found they got better productivity cutting excessive hours.

The worst job I had was when I was one of the admins of HP.com, normal working days then on call 1 week in 3 with call-outs at 3 in the morning. I felt close to Merryl Lynch bloke after 18 months when the call out bit was handed over.

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I think the limit would be a couple of all nighters, maybe a weekend of working in the office once in the year for a professional job unless you have a financial interest in the company beyond salary. Clearly 8 all nighters is excessive and counter productive. I think it was wartime munition factories that found they got better productivity cutting excessive hours.

The worst job I had was when I was one of the admins of HP.com, normal working days then on call 1 week in 3 with call-outs at 3 in the morning. I felt close to Merryl Lynch bloke after 18 months when the call out bit was handed over.

That sounds fair

I suspect a problem exists now where counter productivity is less of an issue when an organisation is explicitly tax payer funded via low interest rates, loose capital, and direct bailouts

So there is less (a competitive inter company market that values organisational competence) to temper organisational control freakery and crpp management

Edited by Si1

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After one night of deprived sleep the quality of the work deteriorates rapidly. So what is the point?

I think the answer is similar to the reason the army do it. It breaks the man and they become compliant. And all corporations want compliant workers.

You dont get men to run at machine guns by giving them a good nights sleep and making sure they can think clearly.

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