Eric's post on Harvard MBAs as bubble predictors references Young Money, by Kevin Roose, and reminded me that I'd never written about it. The book's a good one, following undergrads who take Wall Street jobs and are essentially made miserable by them. I'd put it in the One-L category of books, in that it's meant to be a humanized tell all about what will happen to you if you do this thing. In One-L, the this thing was Harvard Law School. In Young Money, it's analyst at Goldman Sachs.
The book's well-reported, though it wasn't completely easy to care about well-paid people disliking their jobs, which members of the legal profession will hardly find boat-rocking. But certainly there are some home truths there; I do sense that Roose is right when he says, as he told Ezra Klein:
in a lot of schools it's these scared organization kids going to Wall Street. One thing Wall Street does that's really smart is they actually tell you way earlier than other industries if you got a job. They'll let you lock the job down in the fall of your senior year. So you can take that job on Wall Street or you can gamble on getting something after you graduate....[But] you don't have to pay people a ton of money to come to your program after college if what you're giving them still offers prestige and structure and the sense that they're not signing up for something forever. Teach for America has really approximated the banking model without the money. If what you're seeking is short-term rewards there's no way you'd choose teaching in the Mississippi Delta over working at Goldman Sachs but there's something calling people to do work they find meaningful.
It does ring an interesting bell.
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