Bank Of America Intern Dies After ’72 Hours Straight At Desk’
Bank of America intern, Moritz Erhardt, aged 21, collapsed and died at his London Apartment last week after doing a straight 72 hour work shift at his desk. He was coming to the end of a seven week internship at the Bank’s London branch.
The death of the young man has raised serious questions in the City of London, and further afield. The interns are subject to unbearably high pressure while wanting to prove themselves to their employers. In this case it actually lead to a young man with high aspirations losing his life.
This kind of excessive work pressure is well known in the banking world of major cities like London, Singapore, New York, and Berlin.
The notorious ‘magic roundabout’ is a description for the situation in which an intern takes a taxi home after sunrise, leaves it waiting outside on the meter, showers, and then goes straight back to work!
Weekends in the office are commonplace, as are meals at desks, be they breakfast, lunch or dinner, Employers offer incentives for their workers to order in food, so there is no need to even leave the office.
Ernhardt, who was originally from Germany is said to have worked a straight 72 hours without sleep. The cause of his death is unknown at the time of writing, but suicide has not been ruled out.
Even though the stakes are high, the workload punishing, and the hours long, the Bank of America interns say they have to push themselves the extra mile in order to make a good impression on their employers.
The Chicago Tribune reports that one former intern for a U.S. bank said: “People push themselves because they want an offer with the bank and the chance of a great career and great money. This is a golden path.”
The working culture in the big banks, where the interns take eight weeks over the summer to do their internship, is that they dare not leave the office until their managers have. They work around the clock, sometimes only getting one weekend off per month. There are even reports that special permission is required to get time off for getting married.
The death of the young 21-year-old Bank of America intern is a tragic one. It is hoped that the banks will do some soul searching and learn a valuable lesson from this unnecessary death.