I had one of those “reading your own obituary” moments this morning when I picked up the New York Times. In an article about how banks are trying to change the customs that coerce junior employees to work nights and weekends, the writers bring up the increased competition from the technology industry. Here’s how they put it:
Though the prospect of a large salary and experience in finance still draws many college graduates to the industry, some ambitious students are considering other career paths, including those in the technology industry, famous for its employee perks like free oil changes or staff masseuses.
It irritates me to see that the industry in which I’ve spent my entire career is defined to outsiders by the perks offered, and not just because I’ve never gotten a free oil change or a massage at the office. I have plenty of friends who work in industries full of people who are motivated by compensation, perks, prestige, and everything but the work itself. Most of them are eagerly looking forward to retirement.
Weeding out those sorts of people is probably my number one goal in the interview process. As I said when I reviewed The Soul of a New Machine, for me, the work is the reward. If you don’t see it that way, you should consider the opportunities available in finance.