Here is a great recount by Nicholas Chirls of his time at Lehman Brothers. Nothing he says is particularly surprising — the work (at least initially) is intellectually stimulating, the results involve the distribution of money from the less sophisticated and knowing to the more sophisticated and savvy, and the culture is toxic.
What really struck me was this passage:
Of course, the traders had all sorts of excuses and jargon to deal with this truth. “Oh no,” they would say, “We are important providers of liquidity that create stable financial markets. We’re a crucial part of a system. And besides, if we don’t do it, someone else will.” These are the lies that people tell themselves so that they can buy larger homes.
Classic example of cognitive dissonance and the amazing justificatory gymnastics humans are capable of.