The death of Sarvshreshth Gupta, a 22-year old analyst with Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banker, in San Francisco, about six weeks ago, has triggered serious debate over long hours at the work place and the resulting high stress levels among young executives.
Gupta, who had been working with Goldman Sachs for almost a year, was found dead in the car park next to his apartment. The New York Times reported on June 1 that his death was “one of numerous unexpected deaths or suicides of young bankers over the last year” and “has caused a new round of reflection and re-evaluation by Goldman and other Wall Street firms about their work policies just two weeks before a new class of college interns descend on the industry for the summer.”
On Wednesday, The Independent reported that “Officials in San Francisco are investigating the death of a young analyst at Goldman Sachs who complained to his father of working ‘100 hour weeks’, hours before his body was found in the car park next to his apartment”. It further noted that “The authorities have said they believe Sarvshreshth Gupta killed himself after working through the night and struggling to match the demands he felt under”.
This comes after his father Sunil Gupta revealed about strenuous working hours through an essay titled ‘A Son Never Dies’ posted on blog-publishing platform, Medium, on May 17, 2015. While the essay has been removed from Medium, Sunil is quoted to have stated that his son had complained about “100 hour weeks” and working for 20 hours at a stretch.
Having studied at DPS, RK Puram, in New Delhi, Gupta graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In April 2014, he started working as an analyst with Goldman Sachs in San Francisco. As work pressure kept on increasing, Sarvshreshth told his father, “This job is not for me. Too much work and too little time,” The Independent quoted his father Sunil Gupta as saying.
A couple of days back, The New York Times quoted him as saying that Sarvshreshth had resigned against his father’s wish in March 2015 but following his company’s request to reconsider his decision and some pressure from his father, he joined work again. Sunil further pointed that Sarvshreshth was initially put on a reduced schedule and the firm had him meet with its employee assistance counselors but things were back to same after a few days.
Sunil has been further quoted as saying that his son called him early morning 2:40 a.m. on April 16 and said, ‘It is too much. I have not slept for two days, have a client meeting tomorrow morning, have to complete a presentation, my V.P. is annoyed and I am working alone in my office”. However, when Sunil asked him to take 15 days leave and come home, he apparently told Sunil that, “They will not allow”.
On the same day, at around 6:40 in the morning, Sarvshreshth was found dead in the parking beside his apartment.
Goldman Sachs, without acknowledging Sunil’s claims of long working hours for his son, in a statement said, “We are saddened by Sav’s death and feel deeply for his family. We hope that people will respect the family’s expressed desire for privacy during this difficult time.”