Wall Streeters Reassess Their Careers -- and Lives

Last Updated Sep 19, 2008 3:47 PM EDT

People who earn their daily bread in the financial sector aren't getting much sleep these days. A study released this week by the Center for Work Life Policy reports that more than 80 percent of female star performers are considering leaving their Wall Street careers, compared to 40 percent of men.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founding president of the Center, writes on Harvard Business Publishing about the human carnage.

"The voices in this study are powerful," she reports. "A male investment banker (who has lost 80% of his net worth in the last year) tells of bad dreams and grinding his teeth so badly he recently cracked two molars. A woman trader talks about being 'almost glad' of a recent diagnosis of breast cancer. In her words 'it's only stage one and it sure puts the crazy stress around losing my job into perspective.'"
For years, finance has been a big-payday glamor industry; today it seems a lot less desirable. What about you? Have the recent experiences caused you to rethink your career in banking or financial services?
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.