JCC Bank intern dies after working 72 hrs straight.... Goooo capitalism!

Discussion in 'Community' started by Kiki-Gonn, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    How can he "refuse to do so?" If someone tells you that you are no longer employed, and to leave the building one cannot simply ignore it and continue working. Similarly, one cannot ignore commands or sanctions from a workplace superior if one hopes to remain employed.

    This is not simply the intern's problem. People are not allowed to work in inhumane conditions, whether they would choose to or not. People cannot sell themselves into slavery, even if they want to. Just as employees have responsibilities to their employers, the reverse is also true. A major part of those requirements is maintaining a safe, healthy working environment. This represents gross negligence on the part of the bank.
    Kiki-Gonn and Obi-Zahn Kenobi like this.
  2. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    If management weren't aware of the practise and it was entirely voluntary on the intern's behalf... how would they stop him?

    When I would be doing 12-14 hr days, my manager would tell me to go home at a reasonable hour but that didn't get the work done nor get enforced. I made the call.

    It's just more baffling idiocy from the JC that people will ignore facts just for an excuse to be butthurt about something.
    Last edited by Ender Sai, Aug 22, 2013
  3. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Oct 3, 2003
    star 8
    The guy didn't work in a sweatshop where someone came along and beat him if he stopped doing what he was told to do, he likely had good working conditions given he was working in London for a big company. He chose to work longer, he wasn't forced to.
  4. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Ender on what basis do you assert that no one was aware of what he was doing? All the reporting seems to indicate both that this specific incident was widely known at the workplace, and that as a cultural point, such long hours were not seen as problematic.

    A number of professions create circumstances where one can work incredibly long hours. Similar to banking, they also have a relatively high degree of employee autonomy. Your industry is not unique on any of these scores, except they've chosen not to embrace effective, widespread mechanisms for curbing excessive work hours. Probably because it's not a priority to them. It's perfectly valid to criticize that attitude.
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
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    Yeah strange as this might be for some to comprehend... people really want a career in London and not every desk in Canary Wharf is manned by slaves. Astonishing, I know, but it turns out London really is the single greatest city on Earth. GASP.
  6. Ender Sai Chosen One

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    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    Wocky before I proceed... how many people do you manage?
  7. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    lol
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  8. SithLordDarthRichie London CR

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    Good in comparison to many other countries, certainly those outside the west. There are certain work standards employers are obliged to adhere to in countries like the UK, there aren't in many other countries.

    One might feel work conditions are bad in various western jobs, but someone working in a factory in a place like India would love to work in the sort of environment we do.

    Wocky makes claim the intern was working in "inhumane conditions" which seems unlikely given where he was. Working a lot of hours in a big office in London with modern tech and air con and whatnot is not inhumane, especially if you willingly agree to do them.
    Last edited by SithLordDarthRichie, Aug 22, 2013
  9. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    How do airlines make pilots comply with fly time rules? They are thousands of miles in the air so no one can stop them if they want to break them. Believe it or not, there really is nothing else like flying and people want to soar through the skies. Astonishing, I know, but it turns out the air really is better up there. GASP.

    How do hospitals make residents comply with duty hours? As strange as it might be for some to comprehend. . .some positions are incredibly competitive, people really want a position in a certain sub-specialty, and not every ward is attended by slaves. Astonishing, I know, but it turns out your arguments fail, because other professions with bright, highly-motivated people under conditions that clearly incentivize working long/excessive hours have managed to keep a lid on this. GASP.

    Did you want to try something that wasn't an ad hominem attack, and perhaps discuss whether and how employers like banks could adopt policies that similarly prevent working too long?
  10. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    I've also worked in London, and you'd be surprised. Well, you shouldn't be surprised, but I'm assuming you would.
  11. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Ender, the primary difference here is one in attitude/approach. You argue from a minimalist position, that the employer has no responsibility so long as they don't officially mandate anything illegal.

    I, on the other, hand, put forward the notion that employer's create certain environments and unspoken expectations among their employees. While, of course, no one can "force" another human being to do anything--let alone at a workplace--managers can modify behavior by what they choose to turn a blind eye too, and what sort of things they praise or punish. Even if a company does not have a written policy of hostility to female employees, allowing workers to engage in excessive sexual banter, exchanging or displaying pornographic content, or any number of other practices can implicitly cultivate a misogynistic environment. On the other hand, firing or seriously reprimanding enough people for this behavior will get people who desire forward advancement in the company to stop doing it.

    Likewise, if working all night was clearly communicated as a negative that retarded eventual hiring/promotion of interns, the people who "really wanted" those jobs in Canary Wharf would stop doing it. They would instead do whatever they thought might get them ahead.

    You are welcome to take the position that the banking/finance industry shouldn't have to change, that no companies should take such steps and that working these sorts of hours is perfectly acceptable. But you will also be criticized for that position, which is what this thread is about. Have the courage to step out from behind your incredibly thin smoke screen of an argument about personal choice, and discuss what you think work hours should be like. Because whether you do or don't think they are excessive, there are a wide range of tools at a firm's disposal curbing how much an employee does or does not work.
  12. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    But Wocky, you're falling into the trap of actually believing that Kiki-Gonn is right and that these hours are evidence of a systemic issue in the banking sector. In my experience, they are not and whilst there will be times in which all nighters are required (board papers due, projects near deadline, repatching systems because the first patch didn't work, etc) they usually are offset by time in lieu, enforced leave once the deadline's passed, etc. So for example, we had to respond to questions for a Tribunal which was operated by, and aligned to, the primary regulator for superannuation (it's like your social security only good, effective, and worthwhile). We had to defend ourselves against an allegation and our response was rooted in tax law, so fairly complicated for a Tribunal. But, not court related so can't get the lawyers to do it.

    After working something like a 90 hr week to get the submission done, checked, signed off and submitted I was given a week of time in lieu - effectively, paid leave. Given my diet was largely sugar and Red Bulls, I - or, more accurately, my health - needed the rest and recovery. But from friends who've left my company and gone to other banks, this is more typical than "young, super efficient Jerry gets a job, works three days straight, has a seizure, collapses and dies. Bosses far from impressed". They'll give you time in lieu and make you take it.

    For the record, and again, JC needs to stop getting butthurt over nothing and stick to the facts - colleagues were aware of the interns hours. It does not suggest that management was; only that other interns knew he was doing this to himself. Now, I reckon if you asked someone like Darth Boba if he's done three days straight in a higher-stress situation like, oh, combat, he probably has. He's probably gone for longer stretches with astonishingly little sleep. So again, let's not pretend that some cackling capitalist forced a young, innocent German kid to work this. He did it to himself, thinking that his boss would be impressed.

    No boss would be impressed with that. They'd tell him to calm down a bit. Save his energy for when that kind of dedication is actually required.

    BUT I WORKS IN IT AND HAS THINKS BANKS ARE EBIL.
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 8
    I'm not sure how you got it so wrong, but you did.

    Let me make this easy for you.

    1) Most employees will, at some point, need to work long hours.
    2) The hours worked by this intern were gratuitous and based on his own misguided belief that this would impress people. Not that this was required; but that this would get him noticed and ahead.
    3) My experience is that when #1 happens, managers will offer solutions ranging from time in lieu to arranging meals and paying for cabs to ferry employees home at night. Usually (though not always) managers are there with you too, and working weekends as well
    4) Furthermore, banks will have a mandated rule that you must take your allocated 4weeks leave per year with a minimum of 2 consecutive weeks of absense. This is both to mitigate against the risk of fraudulent activity, and to work against employee burnout
    5) It's hard to actually force employees to leave. You're leaving, you say to someone "are you going soon?" They say, "Sure, just got to finish up this email then I'm gone."

    I've actually had one of my guys tell me that only to have my Blackberry buzz at 9pm with an email from that same person who, 2.5 hrs earlier, was "just about to leave. I made it clear that's not ok, but unless I sit there and stare at them until they feel awkward, pack up and head off there's not much I can do about it. The people I had working those hours were actually the good ones, and they're the ones who will get the better package, better career options, and better next-roles. Worked for me.

    6) This intern killed himself by being stupid. Blaming banks or capitalism is so magically stupid that I can only conclude the worst about the OP.
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    He Cannot Tell You This Thing.
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  15. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    As you remarked to me last night, I would advise that you check the time stamp on the posts.

    I did find your penultimate post much more reasonable than the ones prior. However, I don't think you are quite doing things justice still.

    Source

    This story is what I was responding to. The quoted sources are quite clear that this behavior is widespread among the various banks offering summer internships. It's not plausible that the management was entirely oblivious to something their interns seem to consider a fact of life. The broader financial sector may not need reforms, but these particular programs probably do. I never blamed "capitalism" for what happened here. I did fault his managers for not creating a more responsible work environment that created more reasonable (implicit as well as explicit) demands on participating interns. There are alternatives that still achieve all the goals both the firm and the intern could have from such an experience without running such a high risk of this sort of incident.
  16. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    At least he was being paid it, not like it was indentured servitude like working in the White House as an intern.
  17. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    Monica Lewinsky got a lot more than indentured servitude out of being a White House intern.


    ....


    I'll just go stand in the corner now.
  18. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    star 10
    She got exactly what was coming to her.
    harpua, LostOnHoth and Arawn_Fenn like this.
  19. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
  20. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Investment bankers work crazy stupid hours because (1) they have watched Wall Street too many times and because (2) they can make more money in two months than I make in two years. Investment bankers dropping like flies is a well known side effect of greed. In relation to this intern, I would imagine that pulling these kind of stunts is part of the machismo of internship. His colleagues probably cheered him on as he was going for an office record. I would be surprised if the managers were even aware of the extent of it because interns are generally not noticed. I imagine that controls will be tightened up now though. If the managers knew he pulled three days straight and did nothing they should be disciplined. Never leaving the office is a red flag for fraud. If nothing else they should have investigated why this intern never left the office simply for the fraud risk.
    Last edited by LostOnHoth, Aug 23, 2013
  21. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Investment bankers are greedy? First I've heard of this.
  22. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    It's an insider knowledge thing. I'm only spilling my guts here because nobody knows my real name.
    Rogue_Ten and Darth Guy like this.
  23. Jedi_Reject_Jesse Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2004
    star 7
    Psh, I stayed up for 3 days once in college...began to hallucinate toward the end. Didn't die. Then again I wasn't working....just binge watching some tv shows.
  24. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    star 8
    I've worked for 48 hours straight before, and it's not an experience I'd like to repeat.
  25. Kiki-Gonn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2001
    star 6
    Catching up, you can't actually be as naive as you're presumably pretending to be.
    They didn't know? He wanted to work like that?

    Got any other paper thin institutional excuses you want to shield the bank with?
    And I've managed plenty of people. Not well mind you, yet even I was a paragon of corporate leadership compared to the pieces of crap you're shilling for in this thread.
    If you need someone to work all nighters then you need more people or your processes are completely out of control.
    Either way it is management's fault.

    Of course the kid played his part but it's all too easy to pressure these kids into doing that kind of thing.