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A colleague drank my breast milk and other Wall Street tales

Maureen Sherry writes, "I STILL think about a female job applicant I interviewed more than a decade ago, when I was a managing director at Bear Stearns and she was fresh from the Wharton School of Business.

'So how do the women who work here find this environment? Tell me the truth,' she said.

Her question rocked me for a moment. She was a hair’s distance from landing a six-figure job. We sat overlooking a giant trading floor, a sea of men punching keyboards or barreling across a room bathed in testosterone. Here and there, you could see a woman in a tailored suit. Clearly, I didn’t work in some sharing-and-caring girlfriend club where women confided in one another. We didn’t gossip, we didn’t mentor, and sometimes we even saw one another as the competition.

'What exactly do you mean?' I replied.

She noted correctly that few of the female traders and analysts at the firm were mothers and that even fewer had made it to the executive level.

I needed a moment to answer her carefully. I was then 11 years into my career, and seven months pregnant with my second child, and I hoped her journey would be different and better than mine."



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