Why junior bankers dread the coming of summer

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Summer is nearly upon us but while birds, small mammals and senior bankers might be giddy with excitement at the prospect of high temperatures and long evenings, analysts and associates in investment banks are less enthused. When you're a junior banker, summer can be a drag.

"The summer months are a stressful period for juniors," says one associate at a European bank in London. "Most managing directors, directors and VPs take long breaks and juniors are expected to take care of any incoming work. I know plenty of people who either had to cancel their holidays or to spend their entire two week break working from morning to night in their hotel room."

In theory, banks are more solicitous of junior bankers' welfare than four years ago, when one junior here complained that he'd received an internal memo stating that no staffing cover would be provided for live deals during vacations, that laptops must be with employees (on vacation) at all times, that work emails must be checked and responded to every day, and that 'out of office' messages should be avoided. 

In reality, however, none of the banks we asked for information about their vacation policies (and we asked a lot) responded with confirmation that juniors' holidays are protected. One simply said it ensures its deal teams are well-staffed so that juniors can take time off, off the record.

Some analysts and associates, however, have had different experiences. "In smaller teams, especially when there are language requirements it might be difficult to find replacement/coverage for live deals," says one Spanish analyst at a U.S. bank in London. "A couple of years ago, I went on holiday in the summer and I had to be connected remotely to the office at all times."

At one European bank, there are complaints that senior staff in IBD covertly take entire months off over the summer. "It's technically theft," complains one junior. "The rest of us only get 30 days." Senior European bankers seem particularly prone to this: juniors at a U.S. bank in London complain that their new boss took off to Italy for three weeks last summer.

Some banks seem to have a better approach to vacation time than others. A TMT bankers at a Swiss firm in London says his team is very careful to ensure that everyone gets a proper break. "It really depends upon the team you're working for," he says. "- And the culture instilled by your boss." 

The implication is that you need to hope your boss isn't from Southern Europe. - Or won't covertly spend the summer at his house in the Hamptons.

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