Finance industry workers typically look fine from the outside; good money, nice house, a steady job, lots of friends… but many have a harmful addiction lurking beneath the surface.
Is it the people that choose the financial services industry or the environmental pressures inside that causes such high rates of addiction? It is often an all-consuming career, markets are open around the globe 24 hours and you need to be on the ball to make the right moves. The work expected can easily hit 70-80 hours per week.
The people are there not solely for the money they make, they enjoy the work and colleagues too. It fits in with their wired personality which is typically Type-A, a person who is strong and wants to win. Most of these talented people could make similar salaries in other industries and have more time for themselves.
Unfortunately, with such a high time commitment to the job and a poisonous environment, it leads many to spiral out of control for very long stretches. Even away from the office it is hard to wind down. The job requires so many hours of work that winding down for a little bit only to have to gear up again for game time isn’t very practical or realistic.
Here are the top factors that lead people to use drugs and alcohol within the financial services industry:
Environment – The banking sector is not a place for weakness, the general attitude is to play hard or go home. This pressure to perform requires an equal counter balance to let off steam which can either be healthy or destructive. Alcohol and drugs offer a quick solution for those needing to take the edge off from their strenuous day.
Mentors – Going into the industry you are introduced to people who have seen and done it all (and also likely still doing it all too). Those mentors influence the newcomers and staff who are learning the behaviours to get ahead. If a mentor shows heavy drug and alcohol use repeatedly it should be no surprise that this trend continues with others.
Peers/Clients – You have to network to succeed. Outside of bonding through work there aren’t many healthy alternatives. Sure you can go to the gym, a nice restaurant, a concert etc…, but there isn’t the time to plan and coordinate these activities. This is where fast food networking comes into play such as strip clubs, drinking heavily at bars, using drugs like cocaine to keep the energy and part going… A night out can quickly spiral out of control with people needing to impress clients/colleagues. Having access to lots of cash and corporate cards further enables addiction to take hold.
Competition – The pressure here is immense, not just from outside companies but also from people gunning for your job from within. The stress is high even when you meet your targets, if you fall behind, the stress goes exponentially higher. Being constantly judged and fighting for your spot is not healthy for mental well-being, you are never satisfied and see your future as a constant battle.
Work – You have to make the right moves in the market and are constantly checking the way your numbers are headed and the influencing factors around them. When you win, you get a high, when you lose, you hit a deep low. This scenario overlays gambling addicts reactions, and no surprise, gambling addiction is another common vice in the financial/banking industries. This high/low emotional state triggers addictions of other substances. Have a high? A bit of cocaine or heavy drinking will make it even sweeter. Have a low? Get out of the negativity with alcohol and drugs.
Characteristics – The people working in the finance sector are from all types of personality gradients but they have found Type-A people are under a lot more stress. Most bankers and finance services workers are also living pay check to pay check (see here). You have to spend a lot of time and your own money networking, your work life basically becomes your whole life. That is, if you want to make it big. Regardless of how your personality is typed as before entering this sector, you are under constant stress, long hours, and job insecurity.
There is no quick fix for helping the financial services and banking sector deal with addiction among staff. The changes required would have to be adopted industry wide as they would put companies on a less competitive position. In the world of finance, you can not afford to focus too much on the wellbeing of staff. So the excessive drugs, alcohol, cocaine, parties, strip clubs, gambling, and other addictions will continue to plague workers here.
If you are looking for a way out of dealing with your finance and banking sector stress with the use of alcohol, drugs, cocaine, sex, and gambling, I can help you create a realistic solution that enables you to perform and network while keeping you safe from the grips of addiction. Call me today for a free consultation. Telephone: 020 3239 7061