In a business notorious for its, go-go, high-stakes, 24/7 culture, Goldman Sachs (GS) is showing a softer side, at least when it comes to its summer interns. The New York-based global banking giant recently announced a new policy calling on some of those interns to stop working and get some rest.
Goldman is confirming reports it has told its summer investment banking interns not to be in the office between midnight and 7 a.m. on weekdays.
Company spokesman Michael DuValley told CBS MoneyWatch the new policy, which began earlier this month, was put in place to improve "the overall work experience" of the Goldman Sachs interns, who can earn more than $5,200 per month.
Those hard-earned and prestigious internships -- known as analysts and associates -- can lead to high-paying jobs on Wall Street. And that lure prompts many interns to follow their seniors' extreme work habits, including working tremendously long hours at a stretch.
But there can be devastating consequences. In 2013, a Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) intern was found dead in his London apartment after working for 72 straight hours. The coroner in the case reported the 21-year-old German national died of an epileptic seizure, which may have been triggered by fatigue.
And earlier this year a 22-year-old Goldman Sachs analyst who had complained to his family of not having slept for days due to his workload was found dead in a San Francisco parking lot not far from the firm's local offices.
Financial sector work has always been considered a high-stress occupation. According to data from the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance, finance workers are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide than workers in other professions.
And the concept of death from being overworked is international. The Japanese are notorious for the problem and even have a word for it, "Karoshi." Late last year, the Japanese government instituted a new law that holds employers responsible for ensuring their workers take time off.
But back on Wall Street, industry analysts say the financial sector still has to deal with a culture that makes such killing work hours not only acceptable but a badge of pride for many.
"In investment banking, it becomes a weed-out process," Alden Cass, a psychologist with many Wall Street clientele, told Fortune magazine last year, "who can take it and who can't?"