The popular media sees young Wall Street professionals working long hours, making lots of money, and then countering the stress at a bar with coworkers or doing a few lines of cocaine at a party. It’s almost an unspoken expectation that these personality types are far too regimented to succumb to addiction. Any drug use is just a way of blowing off steam from a job that is the epitome of high stress.
However, a recent study by Alexandra Michel, a professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business and a one-time Wall Street investment banker herself, found that young Wall Street investors may not have the impenetrable emotional and mental armor that society assumes. The decade-long research published in Administrative Science Quarterly, studied more than two dozen new MBAs as they entered the world of high finance and watched as they attempted to scratch their way to the top of their field. The study revealed that by their fourth year out of school the Wall Street newcomers had already started to indulge regularly in self-destructive behaviors such as drug, alcohol and exercise addiction, eating disorders, and depression.
Says Alexandra Michel: “People working 120 hours a week, for prolonged periods of time, go through harsh psychological transformations.”
The banking institutions end up controlling their employees’ lives, often under the veil of support, such as providing administrative services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also often receive free daycare, meals and transportation. The institution ends up blurring all lines between work and private time and erasing all reasons that employees may need to stay home. Leisure time becomes obsolete. In an effort to keep up their energy and gain back control in their life, substance abuse, among other self-destructive habits, starts to infiltrate.
In some industries, admitting you have overcome a substance abuse problem may actually enhance your career – like in the case of, say, a rock-n-roll singer. However, for the top one percent, addiction is a sign of weakness that must be kept under wraps. Since no one wants to think the person handling their multi-million dollar portfolio may relapse, substance abuse remains a taboo topic. Plenty of people may be doing drugs to stay up until all hours of the night working, but nobody admits to having a problem.
Drug and alcohol treatment is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, it takes mental and emotional strength to undergo rehab successfully. If you need help, let us know. We can find the treatment program that will best match your situation and provide you with the anonymity you need. Don’t waste another day on addiction. Give us a call now.