Sarvshreshth Gupta’s Dad’s Essay ‘A Son Never Dies’ Sheds Light On Workplace Stress
Sarvshreshth Gupta’s dad’s essay has been deleted, but many excerpts are still available online. Sunil Gupta, the grieving father of Sarvshreshth Gupta, has posted an essay where he explained that work-related stress might have pushed the Goldman Sachs analyst to commit suicide.
Sarvshreshth Gupta‘s dad’s essay is heartbreaking and may serve as a cautionary tale. On May 17, Sunil Gupta, the father of Sarvshreshth Gupta published a lengthy essay on Medium.com entitled “A Son Never Dies.”
The piece was posted about a month after the suicide of Sarvshreshth Gupta, a 22-year-old first-year analyst at the Goldman Sachs office in San Francisco, who killed himself by jumping from his apartment’s window.
According to Sunil Gupta, his son was feeling overwhelmed by his 100-hour workweeks. Mr. Sunil Gupta said that his son told him prior to his death: “This job is not for me. Too much work and too little time.Papa, I do not get enough sleep. I work twenty hours at a stretch.”
Gupta replied to his son by telling him to take a break. He wrote:
I protested. ‘Son you will ruin your health,’ I complained. He would say, ‘Come on Papa, I am young and strong. Investment banking is hard work.’
From mid-January, he started complaining.’ This job is not for me. Too much work and too little time. I want to come back home.’
As probably, any parent would react, we counselled him to keep going, as such difficult phases were inevitable in a high pressure new job. ‘Sonny, all are of your age, young and ambitious, keep going,’ I would say.
In March, Sarvshreshth Gupta, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, who was born in New Delhi, resigned after realizing that he could not handle the workload. Mr. Gupta wrote in his essay:
“In third week of March 2015, he submitted his resignation, without consulting us, and called us. My first sentence to him was, ‘ Sonny I did not want you to quit, but now since, you have done so, we are with you. Come back home’. He sounded sad and disturbed, ‘Papa, it will take some time to exit. HR will close in some time.’ I asked, ‘what you want to do now?’ ‘Well, I will rejuvenate myself, eat home cooked food, walk and go to gym, and finally work with and expand our school,’ he replied.”
However, soon after, he returned to work. The father claimed that the company asked Gupta back to work, while Goldman Sachs says that the young employee asked for his job back. The essay continued:
“Destiny was marking its time for the family. We had no clue that we were going to be hit by a tsunami, which would uproot our lives, never to be rooted again. By a quirk of fate, he was asked by his company, to reconsider his resignation and under pressure from me, he rejoined.
Poor son, he re-joined and did his best to come to terms with hard, continuous work, no breaks, no sleep and no respite.”
On April 16, the father and son had a last telephone conversation. The dad shared:
“April, 16, 2015, 3.10 pm, India time. That is,+ 12.30 hours, California time. He calls us and says, ‘it is too much. I have not slept for two days, have a client meeting tomorrow morning, have to complete a presentation, my VP is annoyed and I am working alone in my office.’ I got furious. ‘Take fifteen days leave and come home’, I said. He quipped ‘they will not allow’. I said, ‘tell them to consider this as your resignation letter.’ Finally, he agreed to complete his work in about an hour, go to his apartment which was half a mile from his office block and return in the morning.”
On April 17, at 6:40 am, Mr. Gupta was found in the parking lot next to his apartment building, according to police, he fell from the building. Authorities are investigating the death. Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms have decided to change their work policies.
Is stress to blame for this tragedy?