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samudra
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 2:00 pm

Everyday I see people in the financial industry working like a dog( I may be be humiliating a dog here but thats beside the point)and building himalayan reserve of cash.Most of them look totally stressed out and have very little interest other than there job. I really wonder whether they are truely happy ( inspite of there achievements and enormous wealth). Ideally I would like to do a job where a good balance between work and leisure is achieved. With the globalization and outsourcing trends it is very obvious that the workload will get more and more.No point in spending whole life making the big banks and there super rich clients even richer.Time is definitely much more important than money. So how to ensure that good amount of time is spend on things onereally likes. Technology has completely eliminated the demarcation between home and office and there are many who like there home also to be office. Under these scenario do we have to forget leisure for good and become automatons with plethora of ever increasing zeros in the bank balance?
 
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ppauper
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 2:01 pm

Last edited by ppauper on January 26th, 2005, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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DominicConnor
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 2:57 pm

PPauper is right, I know a couple of academics in this area and they seem on average happier than the practitioners. For example Riaz Ahmed who does part of the CQF gets up pretty much when he feels like it and has hugely flexible hours, but doing finance stuff presumably means he is comfortable. I have no doubt he could double his income at a whim, but that is sub optimal for him.However, of course there is personal preferences, so just because it makes others happy, doesn't mean you will be.I also believe that unhappiness is a necessary for success in most competitive endeavours, not just a bad side effect. A happy & content person will often try less hard. In some domains, this doesn't matter and may actually be an advantage because more relaxed people get on with their colleagues better.There are of course exceptions like Taleb, who seems to have found some sort of peace and success. He is a rare person, and unless you are very like him, possibly not an optimal role mode.The other thing of course is that there are lots of people in badly paying jobs who are totally miserable.Banking types complain about job security, but things aren't really better at the shallow end of the job pool.I have a deeply smart friend (top in his year at Maths in Cambridge), who earns decent money in financial markets. But not huge piles. He works to support his family, and to give him something to do. He is one of the happiest people I know, but very far from the richest. One secret to his success is that he has optimised his portfolio of skills to deliver a very low variance in income. He has ensured that in most plausible scenarios there is a job for him, and indeed he can work outside banking altogether. This has cost him money, in general you make the big bucks or achieve great academic success by very tight focus, and no matter how smart you are this exposes you to risk. This should all of course be highly intuitive.The richest of my friends is also very smart, but is quietly driven. Really quietly, at one point he made several million without any of his peers really noticing. People only noticed when he flew his team out to NY on Concorde out of his own pocket.
 
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wstguru
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 3:10 pm

what do u mean by good balance between work & leisure?some people feel very happy ( wich is the final goal of leisure) only of the idea that they have millions in the bank and that they're able to buy everything they want and make the biggest gifts to people they like . these people like the adrelanine of working harder & harder to achieve this power. money makes powerful and power is a source of pleasure.in a world like ours, where economic cycles are never stable, and ups and downs are unpredictible and where evyone is haunted by tomorrow and how would it be and where EVERYONE CARES ONLY ABOUT HIMSELF , every rationnal man would work the hardest to ensure tomorrow and after tomorrow and his independance of the others and nature and time .some people want to work hard for a while and go away but when they taste to money, they stay(money is like sexuality, when u discover it, u can't stop it).I think it's purely a question of power , if u have x millions in the bank, theoritically u are more powerful than people with y<x millions (it's not necessarily true in a perfect world)in the same way that people who work in finance try to hedge risks of their investments and protect them from future changes, these people by working hard try to protect their future and their financial situations, volatility in stock markets v_sm is just a projection of a bigger notion of Volatility V. and in the same way that a greater number of intervenants in markets make volatility bigger, a greater number of very rich people and very poor people in the world makes V greater. Working hard and being overpaid make u decrease ur sensitivity and exposure to V.
 
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samudra
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 3:19 pm

ppauper,I agree with you. DCFC,Very insightful post.wstguru,Time is finite and most valuable resource. The basic question is how smart is it to run just after money.Running after mirage is almost always futile. The utility of money after a certian cutoff(will vary from person to person offcourse)is almost horizontal so after that cutoff will it make sense to transition to some other interest which has a better slope and how to do that best?
 
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farmer
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 5:29 pm

It's not job category, it's philosophical choices.If you decide your purpose in being on Earth is to move to the planet Pluto, then you will always be depressed. Because you will go to bed every day knowing you haven't gotten any closer, and it is hopeless.But if your goal is that humanity survives long enough that someday someone lives on Mars, then you should be happy just doing any productive job that contributes to an economy that does space research, or doing research yourself.And if your goal is just to drive down Main Street in a cool blue pickup truck, then you should be happy digging ditches, or whatever moves you tangibly closer to your goal each day.Some people are just happy watching the most popular TV show each night. And other people are just happy every day because they are married to someone who always agrees with them. Marriage give you visibility, let's you plan and predict where you will be and what you will be doing in 10 years. Sometimes just that little extra bit of certainty can make you more satisfied.If you need to have goals and benchmarks, just set reasonable ones. Or find something to be happy about.Girls and guys should not get confused. Girls are thermometers, and they are designed to be less interested in sex if the paint is peeling, or if there are bombs dropping or something. In other words, girls are designed to be malcontent or to be content doing nothing, just observing and judging. For girls, quality of life means whether the environment is secure for either raising children, or for being treated like a child themselves. But a guy can be happy tooling around with engines or arguing or something, or pursuing a goal.Generally, the world is a tragic place. And if you can save one puppy from getting sucked down a storm drain each day, you will have two achievements to smile about. You will have saved an innocent creature from a helpless death. And you will have found something to feed your family for dinner.To the extent you can choose your goals and values, and to the extent moving towards your chosen goal or satisfying your values induces happiness, you will have a high quality of life.Suppose your prejudices keep you from being happy. Maybe you were raised to believe divorce is immoral and your wife divorces you, or maybe there is just something wrong in the world. You have to design a reasonable goal around ameliorating whaveter condition bothers you. Parents whose children are killed seem often to find some sort of purpose campaigning to eliminate whatever killed their children.I saw what I think were singles ads on Craigslist a few months ago. So far as I can tell, the girls had lowered their expectations to where they were willing to settle for a guy who met just one little requirement. Just give me a guy who is tall, or who is Jewish, or something. And then once they meet that guy they still won't be satisfied, they will have new problems and challenges. But that is why people live to be more than a year old.If your goal is to sit in the sun, then make a little log of how many hours, and how many days you spend sitting in the sun. And put the tally in your pocket, and carry it around like cash. Or if your goal is to prove to someone that you can do one thing that nobody else can do, then be a contrarian and see how many days you can sit in the rain. If you think you are missing out on something, or want to prove you can get something someone else can get, then find something you can get that no one else can get, and pretend that thing is important.Or maybe you can just take pride in being stubborn, and in resisting every opportunity to be content or to accomplish something satisfying. And you can be smug about having high standards, and about knowing the difference. Keep a little notebook where you write down records and observations of just how overworked and miserable people are, and design a little misery scale and formula, and secretly place people on it. Estimate just how much pain you would feel in their position compared to them. And convince yourself that this is useful and important work, and that it makes you a good and successful person!
Last edited by farmer on October 14th, 2004, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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samudra
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 6:12 pm

MP,This is a gem of a post. Very deep perspective.
 
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mdubuque
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 15th, 2004, 11:01 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: samudraEveryday I see people in the financial industry working like a dog( I may be be humiliating a dog here but thats beside the point)and building himalayan reserve of cash.Most of them look totally stressed out and have very little interest other than there job. I really wonder whether they are truely happy ( inspite of there achievements and enormous wealth). Ideally I would like to do a job where a good balance between work and leisure is achieved. With the globalization and outsourcing trends it is very obvious that the workload will get more and more.No point in spending whole life making the big banks and there super rich clients even richer.Time is definitely much more important than money. So how to ensure that good amount of time is spend on things onereally likes. Technology has completely eliminated the demarcation between home and office and there are many who like there home also to be office. Under these scenario do we have to forget leisure for good and become automatons with plethora of ever increasing zeros in the bank balance?Samudra-What I did was to set a personal goal for how much money I want and then when I reach that I will stop "working" for money. For me the figure is one million cash, free and clear after taxes. I should have that in a little over a year, and retire at age 50.In a short time I will be able to invest that in T-Bonds which will pay 10% (interest rates are rising), which is all I need for my minimums. A 100,000 dollar yearly stipend is fine for me to pursue my other interests.So once I have my predetermined sum, I will make a movie on a topic I already have chosen and also move to the Caribbean.So for me, it's just determining how much cash you want, getting that cash, and then living a full life mixed deeply with art and helping people.Matthew
Last edited by mdubuque on October 15th, 2004, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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ppauper
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 12:52 pm

Last edited by ppauper on January 26th, 2005, 11:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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farmer
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 12:59 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: mdubuqueSo for me, it's just determining how much cash you want, getting that cash, and then living a full life mixed deeply with art and helping people.So by helping people, you mean sealing yourself in a hole in the ground, and shooting widgets out a little mail slot every few days? Because believe me, people don't want you, and they don't want to see your face. They want widgets. They want wax on their cars and vanilla-bean flecks on their whipped cream. So if you want to "help" people, start picking vanilla beans!
 
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mdubuque
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 8:01 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: ppauperQuoteOriginally posted by: mdubuqueFor me the figure is one million cash, free and clear after taxes. I should have that in a little over a year, and retire at age 50.In a short time I will be able to invest that in T-Bonds which will pay 10% (interest rates are rising), which is all I need for my minimums. A 100,000 dollar yearly stipend is fine for me to pursue my other interests.evidently, inflation is not a concern ?Ppauper-I'm not too worried. One million cash, excluding residence, in a rising interest rate environment and I'll be fine. You have to cut the cord sometime. I'll be OK. I can always go into eurobonds and will probably start easing into those as well. I'm comfortable with my ability to follow the bond market and spot the intermediate trends pretty well.I don't have any faith that the yield curve is an accurate predictor of events 10 years from now. Call it heresy, but there's way too much event risk for me looking out that far. My point being that I'm coming to the conclusion that life is full of various types of challenges and learning and that I will have pretty much obliterated the financial challenges in a little over a year and can move on to other issues in life.That's where the movie and art and humane pursuits come in. There's more to life for me than chasing money.This is what I was trying to convey to Samudra. Determine how much cash you need, do that rationally and carefully, go get that sum of money and then get out and get on with your life. It's a big beautiful world out there!Matthew
Last edited by mdubuque on October 15th, 2004, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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farmer
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 8:17 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: mdubuqueI'm not too worried. One million cash, excluding residence, in a rising interest rate environment and I'll be fine. You have to cut the cord sometime. I'll be OK. I can always go into eurobonds and will probably start easing into those as well. I'm comfortable with my ability to follow the bond market and spot the intermediate trends pretty well.Would those be dollar-denominated bonds issued by non-US-domiciled entities? Or would those be German bonds yielding a whopping 3.9%?
 
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farmer
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 8:40 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: mdubuqueThat's where the movie and art and humane pursuits come in.First of all, art is not a "humane" pursuit. You know who buys art? Zillionaires, and anglo tourists.Second of all, poor people want a lot of the same things rich people want. So if you want to help poor people, then just keep doing the same thing that is making you money now. Only do it for free, and means-test whom you do it for.But finally, consider that if T-Bond rates do jack up to 10% in 13 months, a lot of poor people are going to be fucked. If you are confident of this - as you say you are - then the best thing you could do for poor people is convince a few rich investors of why this is going to happen, and raise enough money to move rates yourself and send a warning signal!Besides, I thought you thought taxes helped poor people with humane programs. If you stop making money and stop paying taxes, won't all those helpless folks be out of luck?
Last edited by farmer on October 15th, 2004, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Aaron
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 9:22 pm

To bring this back to earth a little, I think there is a hidden assumption in the question: that you pick one job category.Most happy people I know change and grow throughout their lives. A typical career path in finance starts in the front office. That's where things are most exciting and the learning curve is steepest. Without that experience, your success in other fields of finance is limited.Most people leave the front office. Some burn out, others get bored. Some are asked to leave. Some want more time for themselves. A trader has great hours for a single person, terrible hours for someone with a family.Middle office and management are nice paths afterwards, back office is even more restful.Academics sounds nice, but I only recommend it if you care so much about your field that little else matters in your life. It's nice not to have a boss, and it is very satisfying. You can live on the pay. But it's hard to find a good position. The academics I know at the best schools work harder than investment bankers, they're constantly working to publish, consult and stay ahead. At less-prestigious schools, the teaching load gets oppressive.
 
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farmer
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what job category in finance do you think ensures the best quality of life?

October 16th, 2004, 9:50 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: AaronTo bring this back to earth a little, I think there is a hidden assumption in the question: that you pick one job category. Most happy people I know change and grow throughout their lives.This is the "better-off-this-way" trick. If a girl gets dumped by her fiance, her friends tell her "Honey, you're better off this way." If you lose your legs in a bus accident, and marry the half-bright girl you meet in rehab, you say "I'm better off this way, because if I hadn't lost my legs, I never would have met you." It's good that I am locked up in prison, because otherwise I never would have done the reading I needed to do to write the historically-accurate fiction I've always dreamed of writing!Whatever happens, you can be happy. If you wanted to be an option trader because futures traders are scum, and you end up being a futures trader, you can be happy. So the famous and respected Aaron Brown is happy that he's worked all over the place doing all different things. But the true statistical test is, would Aaron have told you in advance this is what he would be happy doing? Or isn't there some alternate reality he could choose to admit is superior, and which he considered possible at the beginning? Maybe it's not the particular job, but simply the respect that floats his boat? I would bet the real truth is that he's bored to death.In any case, even a guy free-falling from the 70th floor to the sidewalk will have bright moments. And you can always be happy that they came. Any life path will give you at least one thing to be happy about if you want to be, one uptick in every package. So you can measure some quantity and call it "quality of life." Or you can just say that if a person's brain is disposed to cranking out serotonin right up until the moment his heart stops, you can bury him alive and he will have a high quality of life down there.
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