The world is a vampire squid

Our awesome meritocracy:

The idea is that once you pass the test at Goldman, you can do anything. You learn Excel, you learn valuation, you learn how to survive intense hours and a high-pressure environment.

I told myself I wasn’t going to drink tonight.

90 replies
  1. 1
    LGRooney says:

    That’s my problem! I got the MBA first. I should have gone to Goldman’s instead and then learned Excel and valuation, followed by the MBA once I had mine. Oh, that’s right… Mommy & Daddy didn’t have the right connections nor did I have the ability to kiss ass nor the requisite level of arrogance.

  2. 2
    Mike Kay says:

    What the hell is Excel?

  3. 3
    Mark S. says:

    Is Goldman the only place you can learn Excel?

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    You learn Excel?

    Fuck me.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    handy says:

    These are the producers, the people on whose very shoulders the world sits–not some common ditch diggers or laborers in other similarly useless vocations. And thank Galt for us these ubermenschen haven’t shrugged at our ingratitude. What a real mess that would be.

  7. 7
    Pat says:

    Now, if they were learning APL, then they really could do anything.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    Goldman Sachs is like getting an undergraduate degree with a bit of statistics while having to work & pay your way? Wow, no wonder they need billions of dollars in order to destroy much of the U.S. economy.

  9. 9
    DougJ says:

    If you want to know why I hate the world as much as I do, that article explains it. God, those kids are assholes.

  10. 10
    Toast says:

    I told myself I wasn’t going to drink tonight.

    Freak.

  11. 11
    ruemara says:

    I wish you were shitting me. I wish I weren’t broke. I wish I had bat and a map. I wish I were baller. I wish.

  12. 12
    Zam says:

    @Mark S.: Goldman has a special super secret advanced copy of Excel, learning on this one teaches you all the secrets of the universe.

  13. 13
    merrinc says:

    My 11 year old has been using the big three from MS Office for a couple of years and since a distressingly younger age, has been able to go without sleep for long periods of time. Guess she’s half way to achieving the qualifications she needs to start pulling in the big bucks.

  14. 14
    Phyllis says:

    Fuck, you mean fucking Excel is the secret to world domination? Yeah, fuck me is right.

  15. 15
    Mike Kay says:

    MS-Office, is that what they’re talking about? oh, christ. I was hoping excel was some new stock pricing model like CAPM.

    I went to a state college in late 80s and each building had a computer lab. And each lab used to hold voluntary courses every week on spreadsheets (excel and lotus 1-2-3) as well as word processing (word, word perfect, word star) as well as database.

    they would pass out these free how-to manuals in addition to the classes and after 10 days it was a snap, like using a stick shift after using an automatic transmission.

    These kids are sad.

  16. 16
    Toast says:

    HAHAHAHA! “Intense hours in a high-pressure environment.” Oh, joy. You know, in a way, the lives those people lead are punishment enough. I work 40 a week except for the occasional push to meet a coding deadline. And while I might not be rich, I’ve got a nice home in the ‘burbs and at 5 PM on the weeknights I’m home with a glass of wine and the wife and birds. I wouldn’t trade that for the life of those hyper-ambitious, King-of-the-World dick-swingers for all the beer in Belgium.

  17. 17
    Andrew says:

    I told myself I wasn’t going to drink tonight.

    As your psychiatrist, I have to say that such thinking is rather unhealthy.

  18. 18
    AhabTRuler says:

    If you want to know why I hate the world as much as I do, that article explains it. God, those kids are assholes.

    Bingo!

  19. 19
    Toast says:

    @ruemara: Sorry about the ‘hood rats.

  20. 20
    Mike in NC says:

    One of the great things about being a working stiff again after months of inactivity is that you look forward to Happy Hour on Fridays and remember what “TGIF” means.

  21. 21
    Mike Kay says:

    @Toast: what’s your occupation, it sounds nice?

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    Wow, I wish someone would pay me that kind of money to learn Excel. Unbelievable.

  23. 23
    AhabTRuler says:

    And let’s throw it all out on the table: If you thought that these ads were going end the complaints, well, better plan an extra bottle of wine (or three).

    And I miss three-arm Pammy-cakes!

  24. 24
    DougJ says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Welcome to the working week, my friend.

  25. 25
    Mark S. says:

    They also learn MS Paint and for fun get to play Minesweeper.

  26. 26

    If I already know Excel, does that qualify me for extra points?

  27. 27
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Mark S.: Yeah, but what’s their longest string of wins in Freecell, huh?

  28. 28
    Douglas says:

    “I told myself I wasn’t going to drink tonight.”

    Seems to me, the only three possible stati one can be in nowadays is drunk, ignorant or in jail for murder.

    I guess being drunk is the best alternative…

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Violet: Well, I refuse to learn Excel until some pays me that kind of money.

    I’m waiting….

  30. 30
    beltane says:

    Hey, I know Excel. Where do I go to collect my $33 million bonus.

  31. 31
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Until someone pays me…

    Edit appears to be gone.

  32. 32
    Mike Kay says:

    @Mike in NC: this is all obama’s fault.

  33. 33
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    You learn Excel

    Damn, and I spent $40 on a book.

  34. 34
    jl says:

    Sounds like after they ‘learn Excel’, that they do their ‘valuation’ on Excel.

    That don’t sound good to me.

    Where do all the maths, stats and physics whizzes fit in?

  35. 35
    Zam says:

    Funny thing is I did at one time get paid an absurd amount of money for knowing Excel. I did other things but the fact that Excel is a crucial part of education for my generation put me above other people much older than myself who didn’t know how to use it.

  36. 36
    Joel says:

    I know Excel! Where’s my 6-figure bonus, boss?!?

  37. 37
    Toast says:

    @Mike Kay: Software engineer for Big Insurance.

  38. 38
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Toast: My dad did that. Nice gig.

  39. 39
    Bob L says:

    This Producer in the replies is something

    Investment banking isn’t cushy. It’s extremely hard work. I don’t think it’s worth the money.

    I know several investment bankers. They work 85 hours a week and have maybe 12 days off a year, including holidays. They put in something like 4,500hrs/yr.

    Let’s say one of these analysts, if they lived in NYC and worked for Goldman, ends up making $90,000/yr in salary and $135,000 as a bonus. That’s $225,000/yr. That translates at $50/hr.

    85 hours a week. Oh noz. That is a grueling 9 hour (with 1 hour lunch) a day work week five days a week.

  40. 40
  41. 41
    Toast says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It doesn’t suck. Put it this way: If you’re someone who needs to find meaning and fulfillment in your job, it’s not for you. If, on the other hand, you’re someone who’s comfortable trading your time for their money so you can find your fulfillment in those other 128 hours a week, it’s a sweet deal.

  42. 42
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’m a bit of a wizard with excel, indirect addressing, offsets, customized pivot tables, macros, etc. but there isn’t a lot of call for it in the goatherding field.

    True story, I once built a pie chart face clock in excel for fun. I had to devise two slivers of pie small enough to serve as hands, then the other two pieces of pie needed to be the right size to put the hands where they needed to be to represent the current time.

    Damn, maybe I should send my resume to Goldman Sachs.

  43. 43
    AB says:

    Alright, what the hell. All these sample resumes I see that graduating seniors like me have to do have “Microsoft Word” or “Microsoft Excel” listed under proficiencies, it makes me so mad because those so-called proficiencies should be like being literate.

    It’s like if I applied to graduate school in physics listing “LaTeX” as a skill.

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Toast: Dad, is that you?

  45. 45
    Sly says:

    So all you need in life in order to make a metric fuck-ton of money in this country are helicopter parents and a complete lack of professional ethics.

    This isn’t really news, but that whole “Excel” thing gave me a chuckle. I got the feeling that I actually knew the guy, but thats only the effect of there being so many people like him that I actually do know.

    They’re not spoiled. Well… they actually are spoiled. Spoiled fucking rotten. But the bigger problem is that they’re completely oblivious to the world around them. In a way that would make a Zen Master drop the robes and chanting schtick, hop on a plane to NYC, and look for a job managing a hedge fund.

  46. 46
    Zoogz says:

    Just received a rejection notice today for a different position. Already in a crummy mood. Then I see this. Fuck you, Corporate America.

    My only guess is that their Excel is the one that returns “42” for every formula they input. At least if it did, they’d have some sort of chance of being right cosmically.

  47. 47
    Toast says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I just came dangerously close to a spit-take, you bastard. ;-)

  48. 48
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    That’s it. I’m going to go read a book.

  49. 49
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Sly:

    So all you need in life in order to make a metric fuck-ton of money in this country are helicopter parents and a complete lack of professional ethics.

    …this is news?

  50. 50
    eemom says:

    eeeek. I am not one to criticize blog ads, but there’s one here for the republobot running against MY Democratic Congressman…..!

    F.a.i.l.

  51. 51
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Bob L:

    Let’s say one of these analysts, if they lived in NYC and worked for Goldman, ends up making $90,000/yr in salary and $135,000 as a bonus. That’s $225,000/yr. That translates at $50/hr. 85 hours a week. Oh noz. That is a grueling 9 hour (with 1 hour lunch) a day work week five days a week.

    Uhm, no. That’s 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and doesn’t include any time during which you decide to eat, unless it’s at your desk, taking bites as you work.

    It’s also a fuckload more than learning Excel. The life of an entry level analyst at an investment bank sucks. You do whatever your told, under whatever deadline, and if you have two things that need to be done right now, then you have yourself a pretty serious problem until (not unless) you can figure out how to get them both accomplished.

    I absolutely agree that the whole financial sector needs to be reined in, but aiming your ire at the ones at the bottom of the totem pole is just dumb. Most of them won’t ever be a big hot shot, and earn seven figures, because most of them will burn out in less than five years and find that they’ve wasted their time and now need to figure out what they are going to do for the rest of their lives.*

    Part of the reason the ones that survive have such a sense of entitlement is because they went through that, and the future paychecks really were the only reward held out to them. Again, that’s not meant to defend the personality, because I’ve gotten to see up close what assholes they are. It’s an explanation. The guy Ezra interviewed is getting ridiculed for pointing it out, but folks seem to have missed the point. He isn’t saying that it’s justified; he’s saying that it exists and why.

    *Before one gets the wrong impression, I wasn’t an investment banker, and you couldn’t have paid enough to be one. Still, I’m in pretty much the same boat. After 18 months, I had to get out because of the stress, and now I’ve got a resume that has a two year gap when I was recovering from a breakdown and a most recent job that most folks in HR consider to be a negative.

    The funny thing is that I was one of the very few people in that room that got into trading not because it pays a lot, but simply because I find it fascinating. I got started when I was looking for an elective to take that fit my schedule and had something to do with my statistics major; I picked a two semester sequence on the math of options, futures, and derivatives because it was one of the very few upper level math courses taught at night. I loved the math, took an additional, pretty boring, finance class, and got called by a recruiter after the professor recommended me. So, of course, I washed out, while the ones just in it for the money didn’t.

  52. 52
    scav says:

    I know education has been dumbing down but Harvard can’t manage Excel?

    (and on a similar note, can I just mention I found it profoundly amusing that the cousin showing off his iPad so excitedly was playing Pong in 2010? Brave new world.)

  53. 53
    PeakVT says:

    I know several investment bankers. They work 85 hours a week and have maybe 12 days off a year, including holidays.

    That sounds like a shitty life. Maybe the banksters blew up the economy because they were jealous of all the people who have nice, balanced lives.

    Really, anything above 60 hours per week should be illegal for anyone not working in a disaster area.

  54. 54

    @DougJ: I think you just need to read some Bobo. He’s kind of down and out too, also. Something about being lost in an American political nightmare and not finding a Overton Window to jump from. Or, everyone one else is crazy, ceptin” his beautiful self, of course.

    I just look at it all as fashionably insane and call it a day. And watch my Hummingbirds fly and be happy.

  55. 55
    Toast says:

    Part of the reason the ones that survive have such a sense of entitlement is because they went through that

    Um, OK. Here’s the thing: If a doctor cops that attitude, I can live with it. Greg House gets to be a self-indulgent douchebag because he saves lives. Gordon Gekko doesn’t. Those investment bankers didn’t go through those hours and pay their dues for some greater purpose; they did it so they could be King of the Leaches. Fuck them.

  56. 56
    Jay in Oregon says:

    50+ posts in and no one’s complimented DougJ on his thread title?

    Good work, boss. :)

  57. 57
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    They get to learn Excel? They go to Harvard then on to GS to learn Excel and be wildly successful but unhappy workers who work long hours toiling away at making money? These asses aren’t paid, they’re bought off.

    Interesting read but the person comes across as a whiny ass who took the easy way to a ‘career’.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    DougJ says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    It’s also a fuckload more than learning Excel.

    This little Harvard puke is the one that said it, not me.

  60. 60
    Toast says:

    @DougJ: So, despite all your rage…

  61. 61
    Midnight Marauder says:

    The idea is that once you pass the test at Goldman, you can do anything. You learn Excel, you learn valuation, you learn how to survive intense hours and a high-pressure environment.

    I’m guessing that Lloyd Blankfein must be out of this world at Excel.

    Maybe even Powerpoint. Also.

  62. 62
    colleeniem says:

    What the fuck? Their rationale for their high pay is that they have to answer the blackberry at 4 a.m.? Fuck you asshole. I have had to wake up from my warm bed at 2 a.m. to go save somebody’s ass in icy ocean, and I’m an officer–some of the real heros don’t make peanuts compared to me.

    By the way for John Cole–Olbermann is going after the ratings agencies tonight. Must see t.v.!

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Dee Loralei says:

    Dear God, apparently now Haley Barbour and the Rep Gov. Association are Guy Fawkes and Obama is King .

    But I think Sherer is wrong about the history of V for Vendetta. Wasn’t that first a comic book written in the 80’s and Maggie Thatcher was the bad guy?

    I understand they ( the RGA) want folks to vote in Nov and are trying to latch on to the anger of the tea partiers, but isn’t this rather a violently suggestive movie?

    Link to swampland, I hope:
    http://swampland.blogs.time.co.....z0lxs6HqRc

  65. 65
    Toast says:

    I’m guessing that Lloyd Blankfein must be out of this world at Excel.

    He can do pivot tables one-handed. Why? So he can masturbate to his own greatness with the other hand.

  66. 66
    Quackosaur says:

    @AB:

    I know what you mean. For some government jobs I’ve applied for, I’ve had to list the office equipment that I’ve used, like a computer or a printer. I think, though, that a lot of us forget that old geezers experienced members of the workforce didn’t go to school when using computers and Word/Excel/the Internet were commonplace. On the other hand, some people (even still) may not have access to such luxuries at school.

    So, is it superfluous information? For a lot of people, probably, but I think it’s best that HR people don’t assume you lack skills because you didn’t list them.

  67. 67
    hitchhiker says:

    I liked it when he said that the bankers were angry because they probably would have followed their passion and become journalists or something IF ONLY those damn recruiters hadn’t seduced them with tales of big $$$$.

    Yes.

    They’ve been robbed and kept from pursuing their dreams, and now the world is mad at them?! That’s so unfair.

    They worked hard. Wahhhh. The sacrifices they made impoverished millions, but hey, they didn’t mean to, and it’s really not their fault things worked out so ravishingly bad. We should be thanking them, I guess.

  68. 68
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @colleeniem:

    Shorter story on the SEC and ratings agencies: While Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s were rating everything that crossed their desks as AAA the SEC was busy watching XXX.

    That explains everything.

  69. 69
    Janus Daniels says:

    You have to read the comments too:
    “… If wall street bankers are paid the most, then they add the most value…”
    Posted by: justin84 | April 23, 2010 6:08 PM |
    Joke?
    I fear not.

  70. 70
    scav says:

    @DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal): well, it’s not like the titans of finance have the time to not regulate themselves: they’re too busy with the spreadsheets so they outsourced the bedsheets.

  71. 71
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Toast:

    Um, OK. Here’s the thing: If a doctor cops that attitude, I can live with it. Greg House gets to be a self-indulgent douchebag because he saves lives. Gordon Gekko doesn’t. Those investment bankers didn’t go through those hours and pay their dues for some greater purpose; they did it so they could be King of the Leaches. Fuck them.

    Here’s the thing? Again, a lot of people seem to be confusing an explanation with a justification. No one in this thread has even tried to provide the latter, so you can stop trying to lecture us on it.

  72. 72
    DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal) says:

    @scav:

    They probably got confused when they were told to check spreadsheets and took that to mean that they were to look at people spreading it on sheets.

  73. 73
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    so you can stop trying to lecture us on it.

    No, that was just a person providing an opinion. It’s actually YOU that lectures on every financial thread despite being a personal catastrophe that can’t find a job.

  74. 74
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @DougJ:

    This little Harvard puke is the one that said it, not me.

    Usually your reading comprehension is better than this. He said that you learn Excel, and a fuckload of other stuff.

  75. 75
    colleeniem says:

    @DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal): I know they lead into it with something like that, but pulled it out with ezra klein goodness.
    Hey, you gotta start somewhere.
    ETA: The above was unintentionally suggestive, but I stand by it.

  76. 76
    DougJ says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    It’s actually YOU that lectures on every financial thread despite being a personal catastrophe that can’t find a job.

    A little over-the-top, no? I think it’s better if people don’t go after each other in such a personal way here.

  77. 77
    DougJ says:

    @J. Michael Neal:

    Valuations and learning to work long hours is a “fuckload of other stuff”?

    You really are being a douche. I’m sorry now that I defended you.

  78. 78
    Ailuridae says:

    @Toast:

    Ahh but here’s the problem: most doctors don’t save lives. And many doctors especially specialists are in it because they make obscene amounts of money and they make that money precisely because its an industry without competition and proper regulation.

    Focus: I’ve had a whole lot of friends do the investment banking two-year programs and they are really shitty jobs for which they are exceptionally well compensated. Its very much a horrible – work hard, play hard, party hard culture that just eats them alive. The ones who decide to stay in the industry, with few exceptions, then go to a business school where they waste two years achieving an MBA (which is a fucking worthless degree by and large) at their employers expense and then re-entering the same firms where they then are the demanding ass hole bosses to the people just out of college. Does that sound familiar to you? Yeah, its pretty similar to how a college fraternity works.

  79. 79
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @DougJ:

    A little over-the-top, no?

    Meh, prolly. But I posted my standard disclaimer.

  80. 80
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @DougJ: Yes, learning how to work 85 hour weeks doing other people’s scut work is a fuckload more than learning Excel. You, like a lot of other people in this thread, opted to take parts of what this guy said completely out of context in order to claim that he’s saying something other than what he is.

    Jesus christ, the guy was CRITICIZING the entire process and the sort of people it produces and all everyone can do is dump on him for acting all privileged. You missed the point.

  81. 81
    Toast says:

    a lot of people seem to be confusing an explanation with a justification

    To you it’s an explanation. To them it’s most certainly a justification. I’m giving the finger to them, not you. Unless you keep being ornery, then that middle digit… well, I can’t be responsible for what it does…

  82. 82
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Toast: Okay. It might help, though if you don’t start a response with, “Um, okay. Here’s the thing.” That’s giving the finger to what you are responding to, not the subject.

  83. 83
    Jim C says:

    Anonymous Harvard kid sez:

    Lloyd Blankfein isn’t out to screw the world.

    As Arlen Specter once said, “Not proven.”

    I do think that if screwing the world is how Lloyd Blankfein hits his numbers, makes his bonus, then I think yes, Lloyd Blankfein IS out to screw the world. And I think there’s plenty of Goldman Sachs evidence to back this up.

  84. 84
    tc125231 says:

    @DougJ:

    God, those kids are assholes.

    The scary thing is, their elders are probably worse.

    You know, people make fun of the French, but after the Terror, THEIR arse wipes have been very careful to support a social safety net.

    Time for a National Barber.

  85. 85
    Dave says:

    “the world is a vampire squid”

    oh ho ho, wouldn’t have expected the smashing pumpkins from an oldster.

  86. 86
    Church Lady says:

    @DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal): I’m not an Olbermann fan, but if he’s going after the ratings agencies, good for him. Someone needs to and they need to do it day in and day out.

    I’m just about finished with Michael Lewis’ new book, “The Big Short.” Eye-opening doesn’t even begin to describe it. After reading it, I’m disgusted with the Banksters and the hedge fund guys, but even more disgusted with the ratings agencies. What they did is nothing but out and out malpractice and share every bit as much of the blame for the subprime mess as the Banksters. Basically, they said shit smelled like roses.

  87. 87
    bob h says:

    I’ve read that getting a position at Goldman involves an incredible number of interviews-more than 100, I think. 100 interviews so they can be sure you will be the right kind of cheat.

  88. 88
    alec says:

    Anyone who has learned Excel deserves a 6 figure salary and to ass-rape the American public at will. Sorry, you’d have to go to the Ivy Leagues to understand.

  89. 89
    The Raven says:

    Y’know, I think the sleep-dep permanently damages their brains. Doctors, too.

    Croak!

  90. 90
    Boots Day says:

    Part of the reason the ones that survive have such a sense of entitlement is because they went through that, and the future paychecks really were the only reward held out to them.

    The present paychecks are a pretty good reward, too. I can understand why first-year investment bankers think they’re getting screwed because they’re not making seven figures, but the reality is, $250,000 a year is still a lot of money.

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