"Soooo...How much DOES an Investment Banker Make?"?
Don't answer this. Now or perhaps ever?
It's a trick question. One you've heard countless times in conversation and in some long ago past desperately wanted answered yourself.
What I want to know is how you respond when this question is asked?
You see I've noticed something pretty odd over my years of world travel, something that (yet again) reminds me how much America is not only a country, but a world unto itself.
Whether it is Europe or Asia, the sands of the Sahara or the beaches of Brazil...
People are quite comfortable discussing money and earnings in great detail.
Even though most foreigners rarely discuss their profession within the opening lines of a conversation, most have no problems disclosing their income if asked politely.
Not so in most glorious nation...U.S of A.
Things are very different here. It is pretty damn tough to get through and introductory conversation with anyone in America without the spectrum of jobs coming up.
Especially in New York City.
The following words can usually be heard bare minutes if not seconds into a conversation with a newly met stranger:
So...What Do You Do?
Think about it the next time you are out and meeting new people. Count the number of sentences it takes before those magic words are spoken. Regardless of environment, I am sure it will be a pretty low number in most cases.
This brings up the inevitable and uncomfortable...
How much do you make?
In the case of Wall Street meet and greeters sleekly packaged as the title of this thread.
It interests me to hear how you guys deal with this question.
I have noticed over the years that the higher the net worth of the American in question, the more nervous the expression, the more wayward the gaze and the more hasty the urge to hit the eject button.
Let's also keep in mind that it is often not a question, sometimes it just comes up in conversation or during the development of a relationship.
Some of you guys have yet to encounter this uncomfortable moment and some of you have recently woken to its realities.
What do you say to people?
How do you play this taboo hand?
As you may have noticed, I am real curious lately about the industry's overall attitude towards money. Since you guys are the future of Wall Street, I find the answers a lot more intriguing than those of the current crop of BSDs.
I also find it wonderfully comical that the absolute nail in the coffin for Wall Street interviewees is to say: I am in it for the money.
Yet once you are in it almost becomes forbidden for you to talk about how much money you make...
Do you guys see this as sort of the "unspoken rule to playing the game" ?
How much does the weight of your paycheck effect how you talk to people in public and do you feel uncomfortable discussing money with people in general?