Death by a thousand early mornings

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Urban myth has it that senior bankers work less hard than their minions. This may not be true.

The death earlier this month of Richard Ratner, senior retail analyst at brokerage Seymour Pierce, suggests that long hours can take their toll. Aged just 58, Ratner died of a heart attack..

According to the Financial Times, Ratner got up every morning at 4.30am and returned home every evening at 9.30pm. This was despite being neither an analyst nor an associate - he'd been in the game 26 years.

This month's Vogue magazine also underscores the fact that it's not all long lunches and rounds of golf towards the top of the greasy pole. The magazine provides an example of how Jemma Bruton, a Goldman Sachs executive director, divides her day: Bruton says she spends 12.5 hours devoted to work and work-related affairs, and another 50 minutes travelling there and back.

There are exceptions: the Wall Street Journal alleges that Jimmy Cayne, chairman and chief exec of Bear Stearns, left the office on Thursday afternoons over the summer and spent Fridays at his golf club (he's also alleged to be partial to smoking pot after playing bridge).

Meanwhile, Bruton does admittedly spend 15 minutes tending a basil plant and three hours socializing over dinner (with clients or without?), but both her story and Ratner's send a clear message: redundancy may be bad news, but it could also offer an opportunity for a well-earned rest.

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