Goldman Sachs has a new intern rule: Go home at midnight

Is it midnight yet?
Is it midnight yet?
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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If Wall Street interns are like overworked Cinderellas, Goldman Sachs is the fairy godmother this year, telling its investment banking interns to leave before the clock strikes midnight.

OK so maybe that analogy doesn’t work perfectly, but the bank’s benevolent bosses have told their summer underlings to take a break from work between midnight and 7am. A rule that may be obvious to those of us in normal people jobs, this apparently was not clear enough to the aspiring bankers entering the intense Wall Street working environment for the first time.

The new rule only applies to investment banking interns, not all 2,900 Goldman Sachs global summer interns, Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally confirmed to Quartz via email (Reuters initially reported the story).

He declined to say how many of those interns are analysts, how much they are paid, or how many hours they are expected to work. According to the job research site Glassdoor, which collects self-reported salaries, a Goldman Sachs summer analyst makes about $5,286 per month. Getting the internship is extremely difficult, and if you’re hired from the internship the payoff is potentially huge—Goldman bankers reportedly earned $383,000 an average in 2013.

Asked why the rule was being introduced now, DuVally pointed to this paragraph in the Wall Street Journal as a “fair one”:

The Wall Street firm has been looking to improve working conditions for its youngest employees, especially within the investment bank, where unpredictable deal negotiations and the scramble to prepare client meetings can make commonplace those late nights, and occasionally all-nighters.

Overwork in the finance industry has been a topic of discussion following several recent deaths among young banking employees. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch intern in London died after he worked for three straight days. And a 22-year-old Goldman Sachs employee was found dead earlier this year.

Banks have tried to create policies to restore some work-life balance for employees—JP Morgan made a color-coded spreadsheet to ensure that bankers take time off; Morgan Stanley seniors are supposed to remind their underlings to take weekends off; and Goldman Sachs started requiring junior bankers to take Saturdays off in 2013 (though apparently without reducing the overall workload).

For these interns, the message seems to be: Instead of working 20 hours a day, stick to a cushy 17.