Remember a few weeks ago, when that guy at Goldman Sachs wrote an op/ed piece in the New York Times about why he was leaving Goldman Sachs? That’s exactly when I was reading Bond Girl, and found it to be perfect timing.
Bond Girl is the story of Alex, a recent college graduate who has always dreamed of following in her father’s Wall Street footsteps. She gets a coveted entry-level position at a successful and pedigreed brokerage house, and realizes quickly that starting at the bottom will be even harder for her, as 99% of the company is made up of men.
She fights hard to learn the ins and outs of the job as quickly as possible, while ignoring the demeaning hazing that she has to go through. She sits in a folding chair with the name “Girlie” taped on the back, while everyone else has a desk and computer of their own. She is sent on ridiculous errands at all hours — an example being sent to the Bronx to find a $1,000 wheel of parmesan cheese — and is the group’s designated gopher…she is sent to get lunch and Starbucks at the whim of the rest of her trading desk.
But she keeps at it and eventually finds herself with her own workstation and a small list of clients. Her boss is proud of her and she is starting to be noticed by others around her…and then she starts to see the dark side of the firm. When she is invited out to meet important clients, is it because of her brains, or her gender? When a top client starts hitting on her non-stop, how can she balance her desire to do her job with her ethics? Even though her boss has told her that interoffice dating is NOT ALLOWED, what will she do when she quickly falls for a handsome coworker? And what if he has secrets of his own?
Because I think a lot of this story was probably based on truths (Erin Duffy worked on Wall Street for 10 years), and because I was reading it when Greg Smith decided to quit the Wall Street life, I enjoyed the book a lot more than I thought I would. I had read many mixed reviews and didn’t have particularly high hopes, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised.