Jamie Fiore Higgins account of her life on Wall Street
Jamie Fiore Higgins interviewed on TV on Wednesday, August 31, 2022. Her e book, Bully Market, uncovered surprising habits by some Goldman Sachs staff.
Nbc | Nbcuniversal | Getty Pictures
Jamie Fiore Higgins did not depart her job at Goldman Sachs planning to disclose probably the most private, demeaning and, at occasions, outright scary moments from her 18 years on the funding financial institution.
However after resigning in 2016, having risen by the ranks to change into a managing director — the second-highest position behind companion — conversations with folks from outdoors of that world made her understand how surprising a number of the issues she’d skilled had been.
And so within the e book “Bully Market: My Story of Cash and Misogyny at Goldman Sachs,” revealed final summer time, she chronicled them.
Some anecdotes, from her early days within the late Nineteen Nineties but in addition later, had been sexist feedback and inappropriate actions she characterizes because the “white noise of Wall Road.” She says a colleague created a spreadsheet rating the physique components of feminine recruits. She remembers being informed she had solely been promoted “due to [her] vagina,” and a collection of junior male colleagues making clear they might not respect her authority.
She additionally says she witnessed intercourse and drug-taking within the workplace, and work socials being held in strip golf equipment (she notes in the beginning of the e book that a number of the folks featured in it, who’re all given pseudonyms, are composites of varied folks she knew and the timing of some occasions has been compressed).
A Goldman Sachs spokesperson stated the corporate “strongly disagrees” with the characterization of its tradition described within the e book, and what it referred to as “anonymized allegations.”
“Had Ms. Higgins raised these allegations with our Human Sources division on the time we’d have investigated them totally and addressed them severely,” the spokesperson informed CNBC. CNBC couldn’t independently confirm any of the accounts made within the e book.
Fiore Higgins additionally says that, regardless of the corporate providing rooms for breastfeeding, she was as soon as informed that utilizing them would maintain again her profession. And that when she did use them after having a toddler, colleagues made “mooing” noises at her, carried out crude gestures, and left a stuffed cow on her desk.
In one other story, she recounts eradicating a colleague (who was having an affair together with his consumer) from an account. She says he responded by pinning her in opposition to a wall and shouting into her face, spraying her with spit as he threatened her.
“I acquired a whole lot and a whole lot of messages from folks, even now six months out, every single day I get one or two saying thanks for telling this story, there’s a lot of what you’ve gotten skilled that resonates with me,” she informed CNBC.
Fiore Higgins can also be up entrance about the truth that she was there for therefore a few years, in a senior position reached by far fewer girls than males, writing that she was “tolerating and perpetuating harassment and abuse” and being “complicit in a damaged system.”
“For these 18 years, I cared extra about Goldman Sachs than I did my husband, my youngsters, my mother and father,” she informed CNBC.
Staying for therefore lengthy regardless of being pushed close to breaking level a number of occasions got here all the way down to a wide range of components, she stated. Contributing to her working-class household’s funds, and making her immigrant mother and father, who had confronted their very own struggles and positioned strain on her to succeed, proud.
Within the e book, when she first tells them about her six-figure wage of their New Jersey front room, her grandma drops her knitting needles in shock. Inside a number of years Fiore Higgins is on a million-dollar wage (although this, she says, was only one greenback greater than a person working under her was incomes on the time).
On prime of that was the dangling carrot of a mammoth bonus, widespread throughout the monetary trade.
Then there was the concern of recrimination; the normalization within the workplace of issues that might appal an outsider; and habit to the status of being “Jamie from Goldman.”
“What I spotted that Goldman was so good at was actually making you are feeling you had been nothing with out them, nothing with out their identify, nothing with out their cash,” she stated.
Going in opposition to the household
A giant a part of what finally pushed her to depart, utilizing her meticulously-compiled “spreadsheet of freedom,” was when she claims she did report an incident. She reported to HR a colleague she had witnessed racially and homophobically abusing a bartender.
“Months later my assessment tanks,” she informed CNBC. “I knew that they had been going to make me pay for talking out of flip, going in opposition to the household.”
A Goldman Sachs spokesperson informed CNBC it has a zero tolerance coverage for each discrimination and recriminations in opposition to staff for reporting incidents, and that any HR report is investigated totally.
Fiore Higgins’ account represents one individual’s experiences over a set time period. However she notes others have spoken up; it’s simply that it stays uncommon, and “taboo,” in her phrases, to enter such element.
Final November, it was reported that Goldman Sachs had paid greater than $12 million to a former feminine companion to settle claims of senior executives making a hostile atmosphere for ladies. High Goldman lawyer Kathy Ruemmler stated in a press release to CNBC on the time that the agency disputed the unique Bloomberg article.
The financial institution can also be embroiled in a long-running class motion lawsuit with round 1,800 plaintiffs alleging the financial institution paid girls lower than males and their efficiency opinions had been held again. It is because of go to trial in June. Goldman has denied any wrongdoing.
Eyes vast open
Amid the #MeToo motion, wider societal forces and efforts from some senior managers, firms all over the world have been making efforts, at the very least on paper, to advertise variety.
In Fiore Higgins’ view, issues have improved in some areas, and there’s a real want among the many C-suite to forestall systemic and informal discrimination. However establishments like Goldman might nonetheless apply the total power of their analytical and metric-setting abilities to spice up the variety of girls making it to companion degree, she stated, and create the form of inclusive atmosphere research have proven can enhance an organization’s backside line.
She’s additionally aware of the significance of sending a message to a few of her readers, together with discovering a trusted advisor properly faraway from the corporate.
“I’ve had the chance to speak at a few universities. I’ve spoken to individuals who had been like, ‘I acquired a job provide, I learn your e book, I am afraid to go’,” she stated.
“It is like, no, that is not the reply. Once I first began working at Goldman … their advertising and marketing factor was Minds Broad Open. I used to be lapping it up — and it was only a advertising and marketing pitch. It wasn’t what I noticed within the lived expertise.”
“So I say to those college students that I have been speaking to, women and men, you need to go in along with your eyes vast open, you need to be very clear of what’s attainable. Be ready with language round it, know reply and react when these items occur.”