When some people think about Wall Street, they conjure up images of traders
shouting on the stock exchange, of bankers dining at five-star restaurants, of
CEOs whispering in the ears of captured Congress members.
When I think about Wall Street, I think about its stunted rainbow of pale
pastel shirts. I think about the vaulting, highly secured, and very cold lobbies.
And I think about the art passed daily by the harried workers, virtually unseen.
Before I occupied Wall Street, Wall Street occupied me. What started as a
summer internship led to a seven-year career. During my time on Wall Street, I
changed from a curious college student full of hope for my future, into a cynical, bitter, depressed, and exhausted “knowledge worker” who felt that everyone was out to screw me over.
The culture of Wall Street is pervasive and contagious. While there are Wall
Street employees who are able to ignore it, or block it out, I was not one of
them. I drank the Kool Aid. I’m out of it now. But I’d like to tell you what it was
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When you are wealthy and successful, you have a choice. You can believe your
success stems from luck and privilege, or you can believe it stems from hard
work. Very few people like to view their success as a matter of luck. And so,
perhaps understandably, most people on Wall Street believe they have earned
their jobs, and the money that follows.
While there are many on Wall Street who come from wealthy backgrounds,
there are also many people from very humble backgrounds. In my experience,
it is often those who do not come from privilege who are the system’s fiercest
When I was a summer intern, Read more »