When software engineers Andrew Montalenti and Puneet Mehta signed on to work at Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, respectively, they thought they’d hit the Life Jackpot. “I’ve worked outside of Wall Street and I’ve seen how attractive it is from the outside and how most people just dream of getting one of these jobs,” Mehta informed the Observer“Going in, most people do not expect to be bored.” But much to their amazement, when they showed up to the office, no models were lined up to offer them complimentary blow jobs while money poured out of their Terminals and onto their faces. There were no Spandex shows. No shooting of innocents for sport. And worst of all, no one even asked them to help think up a devious way to bilk the middle class out of their hard-earned dollars! Instead they were asked to sit alongside of a lot of other worker bees and solve problems they found “technically uninteresting.”
Needless to say, they soon became “disillusioned and restless.”
“I mean, no one was being held with a gun to their head and forced to work at Morgan Stanley,” said Andrew Montalenti. “It was a very good job by any objective measure. But a lot of people did feel like if you just kept working there and pursued the career path that was laid out for engineers, you could blink and all of a sudden 15 years would have passed and you wouldn’t have anything to show for it.”
No one reminded them they were special geniuses. In fact, it seemed like some people would be happier not being there at all. Like they’d rather be sunning themselves on a tropical island, or spending time with their families, or, you know, living life.
“At my workplace, I did not know one single person who was happy with what they were doing — not even one,” said Puneet Mehta, who was a VP of technology with Citi Capital Markets before quitting and, along with two other Wall Street refugees, founding the mobile app start-up MyCityWay. “Each one of them was just getting through it because they had to pay the bills.”