Leaving Wall Street


When you are wealthy and successful, you have a choice. You can believe your success stems from luck and privilege, or you can believe it stems from hard work. Very few people like to view their success as a matter of luck. And so, perhaps understandably, most people on Wall Street believe they have earned their jobs, and the money that follows. While there are many on Wall Street who come from wealthy backgrounds, there are also many people from very humble backgrounds. In my experience, it is often those who do not come from privilege who are the system’s fiercest defenders. When I was a summer intern, we met with various executives who’d tell us about their careers and pitch us on the firm. The aim was to sell the firm to everyone, even though only a few of us would ultimately be offered full-time positions at the firm. It had an element of redundancy to it, since we were clearly already interested in the firm, or we wouldn’t be there at all. The effect of these talks, then, was to make a competitive situation even more competitive. Welcome to Wall Street.

more from Alexis Goldstein at n+1 here.