Last week, we were all shocked (shocked!) to discover that first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs were being worked insane hours! 90 and 100-hour work weeks! Didn’t have time to shower! Losing sleep! Lack of personal relationships!
At that moment, I called it (and you can check my Twitter to confirm): Some people are going to say, “Oh no! What horrible news for GS’s employer brand!”
Except that’s not even remotely the case. Let’s break it down:
1: Every single person who applies to GD knows that they are going to be worked grueling hours. It is NOT a secret. It is NOT a surprise. Hell, it’s damn near on their career site (the VERY first line on their site includes the term “hard work”).
2: Certain people made the choice to work at GS, not because of their amazing work/life balance, but because working there is a ticket to wealth. You are giving up your 20’s to become a millionaire in your thirties.
3: How is this unusual? Ask any first-year lawyer in a firm or anyone who is serious about their startup, 100 hour work weeks is the norm. Sleeping is optional.
This news doesn’t go against the employer brand, it proves the employer brand. The more proof that working at GS means sacrifice and a slavish devotion to growing profit, the more validation that people work there because it’s a lottery ticket that pays out.
Put simply, your employer brand isn’t here to appeal to everyone. In fact, done right, it will only appeal to SOME people. For every person appalled by those working conditions, is someone who would love (love!) to give up years of their lives to be able to retire well at 40.