Whether you’re in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street – in flip-flops or fancy attire – exhaustion diminishes dreams. In fact, it has even led to suicide for far too many.
So, is banning junior bankers from the office at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse the answer to the problem? With our inability to let go of our phones long enough to use the restroom, I think not!
There’s a much deeper issue here. A better question to consider is; why are these young professionals driving themselves into the ground in the first place? What is the purpose behind such self-torture?
Let me be clear – they do choose to put themselves through the torture. No one is standing there with a gun to their head saying, “Skip breakfast, lunch, exercise, and checking in with your family/friends. In fact, don’t bother going out on dates, or enjoying an afternoon walk.”
No, they choose it. But why?
Answer: worthlessness. To be a part of such an esteemed group of people selected for such torture is a badge of honor. It quite literally means you’re among the worthy few who, if you work hard enough (and don’t die, or go crazy, in the process), are guaranteed to be seen as uniquely brilliant, super-talented, and clearly a notch above the rest.
Who doesn’t want that guarantee? We do… we want the world to see our brilliance, and some of us are so deeply afraid of our worthlessness that we’re willing to go to such an extreme to be seen and acknowledged.
Just check out the number of hits Brene Brown, a renowned shame researcher, has gotten on her various TED and TEDx Talks. In fact, take a look at this interview with Oprah on this very topic of worthiness.
Sure, there are a few exceptions – those who are driven by a greater purpose, and who actually get energy and excitement from the work they do, not the recognition. But, at the end of the day, what are these young bankers working so hard for? And, how do they know when they’ve reached success?
That’s just it – success is out there somewhere. It’s most certainly not already inside of you. This is where the bankers exploit such vulnerabilities by leading you to believe that your worthiness is somehow contingent upon being selected, and then surviving the brutal work environment.
The real solution to this problem is not related to your flip-flops, fancy attire, or banning work for a 40-hour period of time. The real answer lies in helping your team understand their intrinsic motivators and their unique purpose, or quest in their life.
Rather than ban these brilliant bankers from the office for 40 hours, carve out time to help them uncover their answers to the most pressing questions in their life. Doing so will unquestionably decrease illness and breathe fresh ideas into the banking industry and every industry it touches.