For his bestselling book, Young Money, Kevin Roose followed eight young bankers as they navigated their way through the difficult terrain of Wall Street. What he found is that while they might be chasing the dream of big money, most found the environment to be soul-crushing, and ultimately not worth it.
Roose tells Mark Garrison it’s the reason many of them make the jump to Silicon Valley:
Garrison: What’s the allure of tech companies to these young bankers?
Roose: One is the money. You can’t make a lot more more quickly in Silicon Valley than on Wall Street. The second is the sex appeal. It’s much cooler to work in Silicon Valley now than it is to work on Wall Street. And the third is that I think they’re starting to get restless with the working hours on wall street. There are really bad conditions if you’re a junior banker. You’re working 100 hours a week. So I think they see Google and Facebook as sort of sanctuaries from that.
Though, many of these former Wall Street wannabes don’t necessarily find the safe haven they were expecting:
Roose: Some of the bankers I spoke to moved in part because they were sick of being the target of the Occupy protests, and then people in San Francisco are protesting the Google busses. You know, they can’t get away from it.
Garrison: Well, at least they’re getting a lot of good snacks at their workplace.
Whether it’s the allure of the snacks, or the need to escape the world of finance, Roose believes that Silicon Valley is benefitting from an influx of the best and the brightest.