Laziness and the Merits of Hard Work

Here goes a book... and not because I need to defend myself, but because I think I have a perspective a lot of people can relate to but can't necessarily put their finger on.

Laziness

I don't look down on "ordinary" people. I am an ordinary person. I just have a general distaste for ignorance, laziness and entitlement. The last of which is all too prevalent on Wall Street, as well as other places. And your "average" person is all of the above. They are lazy from adolescence and beyond. They spend their formative years picking their nose and smoking pot. Once they reach a certain age they are forced to do something. Maybe they get a college degree, but most don't. They work in sales at a cable company, as a manager at a warehouse or in corporate offices at an electronics company. It has nothing to do with their job or what they do. In fact, they chose their particular profession because thats what happened to wander in their direction. This is all fine. I have no beef with it, nor should anyone really give a shit if someone does have beef with it. Everyone has their own priorities and makes their choices accordingly. There's nothing wrong with choosing a less financially lucrative career if that's just not as important to you as say spending time with your family or reading literature or traveling or even sitting on the couch watching college football. To each his own.

My issue is the lazy useless people -- who are a subset of the population, but are representative of the average person -- who have a feeling of entitlement and a 'what about me' mentality. This is why people are sued over stupid bullshit. This is why when someone wins the lottery or has some other windfall family/friends start coming out of the woodwork with their expectant hands out. Then you come to things like record oil company profits, wall street bonuses etc... the average American has absolutely no understanding of the actual issues and complexity surround them yet has a barrel full of opinions they're dying to express. Not because they contributed something that isn't being recognized or acknowledged... but because someone else is doing well and they are there to say "what about me, why am I not doing well? It must be because the system is unfair. I'm being exploited."

"Main street" as people call it, is still completely clueless to the fact that wall street "Bonuses" are not actual bonuses per se. Its largely a misnomer and what everyone refers to as a bonus is mostly accrued salary. No analyst is going to work 100 hrs a week for 50-70K a year. And no Senior banker is going to work for 300K where they could actually be making a multiple of that if they were working in another capacity, such as a C-level Executive of a major corporation. Part of the bonus is in fact a bonus. But to be up in arms because someone made a "Bonus" in a non-profitable year is demonstrative of a lack of understanding of the industry. There has been an uproar about bonuses even before the financial crisis. It made the front cover of the news papers 2 or 3 years ago when GS had record bonuses. Yet I do agree that there are serious flaws in the system and share concern in some of the criticisms going around.

Wall Street compensation is what it is for a few reasons in particular:

#1 - it's a very competitive field with only the most accomplished (i.e. best schools, best grades, best experience) being hired
#2 - you make a significant lifestyle sacrifice, at ALL levels Analyst to MD
#3 - it's a high pressure job; most of the people on this forum don't realize the full magnitude of this because we are tuned to work in this type of field. Most people go through the motions expending minimal effort at work, it is IMPOSSIBLE to do that in this field.
#4 - There is a huge amount of risk to working in this field. There is a huge degree of volatility in hiring/firing, NOTHING is guaranteed. You have the least job security of any other professional field hands down. Even in an ideal economy from the day you start working, its only a 2 year program, then you're jobless again. Then you land another gig, but guess what thats 2 year program also, then you're jobless again. At a more senior level, obviously the finite programs aren't the case, but the lack of job security surely is.

The public sees Wall Streeter's making bank and they don't want to hear any of the above reasons. They bitch and complain when their boss asks them to stick around past 5:30 but they somehow see big Wall Street bonuses and feel like they're being had... like someone is taking THEIR piece of the pie.

I don't think I'm special either

I don't think I'm gods gift to earth because I work in IBD. I actually don't think there is anything exceptionally difficult about it, nor do I think it alone says anything about you. Anyone with average intelligence and above average ambition can do it. Some of the people I've met would even lead one to believe anyone even with below average intelligence, below average ambition and enough social pressure can do it. But regardless of whether I went into IBD, the Peace Corps, BigLaw, entrepreneurship, engineering, philosophy, academia, I would be just as passionate and driven in what I do and I would find it just as rewarding and if one day I woke up I didn't, I would not look for someone else to point the finger at. There are people who are college professors, grade school teachers, office secretaries, cab drivers, waiters, steel workers, train conductors etc... and they choose this path because they have a different set of priorities. I don't think I'm better than them because I make more money or because I wear a suit to work. I respect people who have self-respect and are true to themselves and aren't trying to sell themselves a bill of goods on why the world isn't a fair place (which its not, but this country is the best you'll get) and that's why they're not happy.

Average Person

Your average person is unambitious. They spend their lives believing that they ARE different... they ARE smarter than everyone else, there is something special about them that makes them different. They go through the motions in life thinking '"I'm smart, I can do whatever I want to do if I really want to do it" then one day, they wake up... they're married to a spouse they partially resent and they have a job they absolutely despise... its then that they realize they actually CANT, they ARE like everyone else... and not because they were born that way, but because their choices made them who they are today. They are where they are because they spent the better part of their life being lazy and expecting something spectacular to happen to them because they 'deserve' it. Rather than embracing reality, they cling to crutches offered to them by politicians who want their vote and convince themselves that they COULD have achieved their dreams, but they were short-changed, they were exploited. It's a broken system run by corrupt thieves. The rich are getting richer at their expense.

That's my view. You can think its immature if you like. I have this view, among other reasons, because many of my best friends are of this persuasion, I know them well, I've known them well for a long time. We came from the same place, we ended up in largely different places... with the only difference being hard work.

Mod Note: Best of WSO, this was originally posted December 2014.

Comments (125)

Feb 7, 2014

Gold. Entitlement is a very dangerous thing

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Feb 20, 2014
mongoose:

SB'ed. I'm going to steal some of your points the next time I'm arguing with disgusting liberals.

An SB for you!

Feb 7, 2014

Good post, I definitely agree with most of what you said. I do think that the entitlement applies across the board, even among hard working bankers and the like. I think too much individualism/entitlement is a problem for modern society as a whole. It's amazing that we wake up every morning to running water, that we can go to work, and be paid for that work.

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Feb 7, 2014

Couldnt agree more. My freinds I grew up with either work in vanilla jobs or with their parents companies. Suffice to say, NONE of them have any ambition to do anything. They have zero comprehension of what it takes to get jobs in finance. Two if my freinds once had an intervention with me in 4th year telling me that I should quit my unpaid internship and drop all my case competitions and enjoy life. My parents went threw a divorce in 1st year and it fucked my shit up hard so I had a huge uphill climb to be even noticed by guys in target schools and 3.0+ GPAs. I couldnt afford to drop anything I was doing because I didnt want to end up like them, doing shit all with my life. I went from a 1.2 CGPA and getting kicked out for a year to getting interviews with bulge brackets for banking, PE and corporate banking by eattting shit while having a smile on my face. Now, they think I performed some sort of witch craft to be able to make what I make and they sit down and bitch at me about how they only make 30-40k. In the words of Will Emerson from Margin Call "Fuck normal people".

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Best Response
Feb 7, 2014

Congratulations for overcoming adversity but let's drop the ego-mania. Claiming your friends have "no ambition to do anything" because they work in what you consider to be vanilla jobs is just ridiculous.

There is nothing wrong with the individual that works their way up from 30K/year and retires at 70K/year. Working middle-class jobs isn't indicative of ambition, nor would I describe it as "doing shit." No matter what the salary discrepancy is, I will always respect the math teacher, fire fighter, or even corporate grinder just as much as the PE-guy.

Fuck normal people? No. Do what makes you happy and if it's finance or nursing, so be it.

Also, there have been several posts that seemed to suggest that marital success is somehow related to career ambition or something. I couldn't disagree more. Who you marry is by far the most important decision you will ever make and it is ultimately what will drive your happiness. It doesn't matter if you make 20K or 2MM... if you hate your wife, you will hate your life.

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Feb 7, 2014

Agree in terms that there is plenty of respect for working middle class jobs. But I will get upset when these people vote to raise taxes on anyone who makes more than them... But I guess everyone will look out for themselves, so I must do the same.

Feb 8, 2014
qbison:

Congratulations for overcoming adversity but let's drop the ego-mania. Claiming your friends have "no ambition to do anything" because they work in what you consider to be vanilla jobs is just ridiculous.

There is nothing wrong with the individual that works their way up from 30K/year and retires at 70K/year. Working middle-class jobs isn't indicative of ambition, nor would I describe it as "doing shit." No matter what the salary discrepancy is, I will always respect the math teacher, fire fighter, or even corporate grinder just as much as the PE-guy.

Fuck normal people? No. Do what makes you happy and if it's finance or nursing, so be it.

Also, there have been several posts that seemed to suggest that marital success is somehow related to career ambition or something. I couldn't disagree more. Who you marry is by far the most important decision you will ever make and it is ultimately what will drive your happiness. It doesn't matter if you make 20K or 2MM... if you hate your wife, you will hate your life.

Reading comprehension fail, you idiot. Read the original post again.

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Feb 8, 2014

I wasn't responding the original post, you idiot. Read my post again.

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Jun 29, 2016

Take notes you little coonts...

nah jk :)

Feb 7, 2014

Y'all needed the gov't to bail you out? What are you poor? Lol Wall Street

-Professional athletes

.....I just felt like trolling

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Feb 7, 2014

Reality check.

Feb 7, 2014

SB'd. I think one of the saddest thing that will happen in most people's lives ( I include everyone on this board, we aren't immune to this) is waking up and realize we did not do anything worthwhile and will never have the chance to correct it. I speak to the lazy unambitious people who go home and watch TV 5-6 hours a day and to the high finance crowd. ( I doubt anyone on their deathbeds will have a burning desire that they spent more time in the office or got into HBS over Wharton)

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  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Feb 9, 2016

Old thread but what the hell. I agree it would be terrible to wake up and realize you've lost the chance to do something worthwhile, however the definition of worthwhile wildly varies depending on the individual. Some people prioritize time with family, free time etc. over work. Granted, it can take a lot of hard work to get that free time. It's important to remember to find something that moves you and move it :).

May 17, 2017

One of the saddest things in my mind would be not living a deliberate life, and not aggressively seeking out what will make you happy. For some that could be developing good friends, making tons of money, doing service work, hanging out at the beach.... whatever. Life is really short. For those that get a huge rush out of doing deals and crushing spreadsheets.. i say do it with gusto and don't let your TV watching friends tell you otherwise. The converse applies as well.

I went to one of the HSW and I have to say that it was hands down best experience of my life. Most fulfilling. Most fun. Most meaningful personal growth. Incredible friends. It was worth every pound of shit I ate to get there and then some.

I suspect some readers may feel the same way about working at a bank or in PE. I say more power to you!

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Feb 7, 2014

@Marcus_Halberstram - I'm with you on the general tone of what you're getting at, but the structure that it's being presented with is a tad peculiar. Your main gripe, from what I can tell (one I absolutely agree with), is that entitlement causes tons of problems and that entitled people are horrible. However, your title lines and lead in sentences seem to address laziness and a lack of ambition first and foremost, with entitlement being tangential to both rather than an independent problem. Additionally, you seem to treat those who are merely lazy and/or unambitious (sans entitlement) as acceptable despite your initial framing of the two maladies which, gives rise to a couple questions.

Do you think that entitlement, laziness, or a lack of ambition can exist mutually exclusively? Or do they follow each other?
If they follow each other, which one, in your opinion, do you think holds primacy? Are lazy, unambitious people prone to entitlement? Or are entitled people prone to laziness and a lack of ambition?

I'm sure that since this was originally a comment, it was put together more quickly than a post/article would've been, perhaps resulting in a less than complete point. I'm geniunely interested in your thoughts here as you seem to have given this topic some consideration (tone doesn't come across well on internet boards and I don't want you to think I'm being a douchebag). Thanks!

"My caddie's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people put money that isn't properly invested."

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Feb 7, 2014

On a more serious note: finance is a business that pays out either on commission or revenue sharing. Honestly, I believe more jobs should be structured this way. Not all jobs, but more jobs. People would be motivated more and would make more money.

For me, I see the work world the way I did bartending back when I did that for a living. The non owner and non kitchen jobs were:
1. host for $8 an hour and stand around bored
2. waiter making $2 an hour + $100 to $200 a shift and hustle a bit
3. bartender making $2 an hour + $150 to $500+ a shift and run around like a crazy person
4. manager making $15 an hour standing around bored, but having a bit more 'status'.

I found that job #3 worked best for me. I'd really prefer to be surfing but if I have to work....then fuck you, pay me. My time is precious to me. I'm not currently in a job that will make me rich but it's really just a matter of time before I find my gravy train. The 2% annual raise and retirement package isn't what I signed up for. That's the mindset in finance: work hard and the payoff is better than most. Honestly, most people just don't care to work that type of job, and are better suited for jobs like type #2 or #1. Unfortunately, there are very few type #2 jobs in the rest of the labor force, if you carry out this analogy.

Most real world jobs are either 1. hourly/salary or 2. commission. There are very, very, very few decent jobs outside of finance that pay a decent base and also tie some amount of compensation to performance in any meaningful way. It's a systemic problem. I blame Morganization, you can blame who you want, I'm not going to argue. When this incentive structure is addressed, then I think America will dramatically change for the better. In fact, I'm making it my goal in life to bring exactly that type of paygrade+bonus to the public for jobs outside of finance. How, I don't know, but I think there's a way given computers are so handy nowadays.

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Feb 17, 2014

@UFO: Great views. This is certainly true and runs to the core as to why certain jobs attract more people even from other fields. For instance, I've seen people from nuclear engineering and other similar fields attracted to Finance because in Finance, people are actually paid based on "production" and contribution rather than simply being on retainer. There is risk, but there are great rewards without having to wait until you're gray to enjoy the benefits of the corresponding hard work.

May 17, 2017

I used to work 60 hour weeks in the corporate world. One year I got a whopping $600 bonus. career high in fact at that point (pre bschool). I used to get so frustrated. I would LOVE to get paid my fair comp in the form of a meaningful bonus. Sadly your analogy rings true for just about every job not on wall street.

Even in tech or consulting, the performance-based portion of the bonus is peanuts

Feb 7, 2014

Author of this post needs to tone it down a bit

Feb 7, 2014

Long time lurker here, but this post really resonates with my perspective of peers and old friends. Regarding the population subset that you explained, there's always stupid people saying stupid things. It's like children asking their parents why they enjoy watching the news rather than cartoons, they're just missing a level of understanding in their head.

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Feb 7, 2014

Long time lurker here, but this post really resonates with my perspective of peers and old friends. Regarding the population subset that you explained, there's always stupid people saying stupid things. It's like children asking their parents why they enjoy watching the news rather than cartoons, they're just missing a level of understanding in their head.

Feb 7, 2014

SB'D

One of the best posts I've read on here in a while. Whenever I fall off the rails due distractions, turmoil or adversities in my life I ask myself, "How bad do you want it?". It never fails to cut the BS and focus my perception of the ever-changing variables around me.

WSO's positive, ambitious, and hardworking community is what has kept me a regular on this forum and I plan to give back when I have the credentials to do so.

Dec 28, 2014

deleted

Feb 7, 2014

Call me socialist (and throw monkey shit at me if you want) but a LOT of success on Wall Street and elsewhere is attributable to being part of the lucky sperm club. I take no great pleasure saying this. I'm reasonably successful by any normal person's definition but let's be honest - being born in an upper middle class background helped with that. This Ayn Rand / free market / Ron Paul version of capitalism is just not the real world. Very very few people truly start from the bottom and make it to the top.

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Feb 7, 2014

I don't disagree with you.

I like to say that yes, the world is a better place for people who are born rich and the world is a better place for those that are born pretty. Unfortunately, I was born neither so I have to work harder to make my world a better place.

Is that to say that the rich and pretty don't work hard? Some do, some don't. Or is it to say that those that have success don't deserve it? Not at all. My peers on Wall Street may have come from more privilege but they still worked hard to get to where they were. The only difference is that doors steps they came upon they were often invited to, as opposed to the ones I came to I often times had to snake open with a credit card.

After a few years in the industry, their parents made their down payment and they bought a $2m apartment, which I couldn't do. But you know... life's a bitch. Without trying to sound too dogmatic, much like poker, its not about the cards you're dealt, its how you play them.

In the grand scheme of things, my Wall Street peers didn't have any more of a say in being born into privilege as I did in being born into disadvantage. At the end of the day, life is a bitch and you either learn to deal with it and take what you want regardless of the circumstances you're dealt or you become another statistic that could have done if not for [family baggage / the financial crisis / dyslexia / poor self control / etc].

While I believe the world is a better place if you're born rich and if you're born pretty, its also a better place for winners. And while you can't control your genetic destiny, you can control that last "advantage".

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Feb 7, 2014

"Or is it to say that those that have success don't deserve it? "

-- I think this is where we disagree. I don't believe people (including you and me) 'deserve' as much of their success as they think they do. Again, this is a completely subjective evaluation so neither of us is wrong / right but I find it hard to take the results of a poker game with a stacked deck too seriously.

Feb 7, 2014

I don't think we do either. It's very random, but I had as much chance being born into a middle class family in USA as I did being born in a war torn country in Africa. It's not my fault, just like it's not their fault. In poker, I expect everyone to play the cards they are dealt. I can't blame someone with AA for going all-in, just like I can't blame someone with 2 7 for bluffing. I find the person who is born into a loving middle class family with all the opportunities but turns heroin addict more of a failure/loss than a person who was born to a poor heroin junkie mom who also becomes a heroin junkie themselves. Why should we even have opportunity in this country/world, if anyone who takes advantage of their opportunities is villainized.

Feb 7, 2014

"Why should we even have opportunity in this country/world, if anyone who takes advantage of their opportunities is villainized."

-- I don't think success in villanized in America. If anything it's celebrated without context.

Feb 7, 2014

"I don't think success in villanized in America. If anything it's celebrated without context."

No way. Celebrated by who? Not those making

Successful people and content people celebrate success of others in this country, but that is not the majority. It's what I always find funny, is that people who claim they don't care about money, are often very concerned with how much money others are making.

Feb 17, 2014

I'd have to disagree. We have a huge anti-success culture in this country, and the worst part is that it is trickling down from those in power. Socialism is predicated on the idea that "unfairness" should be eradicated. We have the president of the US telling people who built businesses that they are selfish for not wanting to pay more in taxes, that they didn't actually build their own businesses, and constantly tearing down the producers in our society. Meanwhile, everyone feels that if someone is better than them, they must have done it by hurting someone else. I get real sick of that attitude. I see it constantly in journalism, social media, and even my peer groups. So many are quick to tear down successful people. If you're in shape, you must be a loser with no life who lives in the gym and takes steroids. If you're rich, you must have personally gone out and killed African babies and stolen money from the poor. If you're attractive, you're a smug prick who obviously is far too concerned with their appearance and is probably using photoshop. If you're a great athlete, there's at least a 50% chance that someone you meet on the street will hate you simply for being good at what you do. Really, the human condition has become to tear down people who are willing to work harder than you. I see this all the time. And it's dangerous.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Feb 17, 2014
EvanM:

I'd have to disagree. We have a huge anti-success culture in this country, and the worst part is that it is trickling down from those in power. Socialism is predicated on the idea that "unfairness" should be eradicated. We have the president of the US telling people who built businesses that they are selfish for not wanting to pay more in taxes, that they didn't actually build their own businesses, and constantly tearing down the producers in our society. Meanwhile, everyone feels that if someone is better than them, they must have done it by hurting someone else. I get real sick of that attitude. I see it constantly in journalism, social media, and even my peer groups. So many are quick to tear down successful people. If you're in shape, you must be a loser with no life who lives in the gym and takes steroids. If you're rich, you must have personally gone out and killed African babies and stolen money from the poor. If you're attractive, you're a smug prick who obviously is far too concerned with their appearance and is probably using photoshop. If you're a great athlete, there's at least a 50% chance that someone you meet on the street will hate you simply for being good at what you do. Really, the human condition has become to tear down people who are willing to work harder than you. I see this all the time. And it's dangerous.

Spot on. It's jealousy and lack of satisfaction with one's own life, so they must tear down others, it's the only thing that makes them feel better and makes others who are also not satisfied like the person making these claims.

People focus too much on other people rather than themselves. "OMG BILLIONAIRES EXIST, THEY ARE THE REASON WE DON'T HAVE MORE MONEY, WE MUST TAKE THEIR SHIT AND GIVE IT TO EVERYONE ELSE" rather than "Wow, that's a lot of money, I wonder how they got it?" "I wonder how much money I am going to make in my life?" "Should I try and change that?"

Feb 18, 2014

@MoneyTalksMonkeyWalks: I agree wholeheartedly. Since when did a businessperson "not build that" or that someone needs to pay a "fair share" in taxes based on someone else's guilt trip? Income inequality has existed since the beginning of time. To think that someone thinks that they should get the same salary flipping burgers as the CEO of Wendy's is absolutely ridiculous and flies in the face of reward for relative work/risk involved. The sad part about this is that most people in this country don't know history. Socialism has always been a failed economic platform. Look at Europe and Russia if you doubt that. Look specifically at France to see the end result. I think it's dangerous when you have 50+ people on Capitol Hill who subscribe to and are trying to implement a philosophy and policies that are in line with those socialist tenets which suggest that being successful means you need to pay a price for it. Recall the Occupy Wall St. movement. How many instances has a president been vocally supportive of such demonstrations that could've easily escalated into violent unrest? I mean, this country's population is actually electing people who are advocating wealth redistribution and people are acting like it's no big deal.

Nov 27, 2016
PeteMullersKeyboard:

I'd have to disagree. We have a huge anti-success culture in this country, and the worst part is that it is trickling down from those in power. Socialism is predicated on the idea that "unfairness" should be eradicated. We have the president of the US telling people who built businesses that they are selfish for not wanting to pay more in taxes, that they didn't actually build their own businesses, and constantly tearing down the producers in our society. Meanwhile, everyone feels that if someone is better than them, they must have done it by hurting someone else. I get real sick of that attitude. I see it constantly in journalism, social media, and even my peer groups. So many are quick to tear down successful people. If you're in shape, you must be a loser with no life who lives in the gym and takes steroids. If you're rich, you must have personally gone out and killed African babies and stolen money from the poor. If you're attractive, you're a smug prick who obviously is far too concerned with their appearance and is probably using photoshop. If you're a great athlete, there's at least a 50% chance that someone you meet on the street will hate you simply for being good at what you do. Really, the human condition has become to tear down people who are willing to work harder than you. I see this all the time. And it's dangerous.

Here's the thing about it, though. I am a Greek and, as you can understand, I live in Greece. There's a lot of crap being said about this country and while some of it is false, much of it is true. But there are more reasons pertaining to our collapse but I will cut to the chase. We exhibit the same mentality that is occurring among Americans, as you outlined. In fact we even have a name for it: "Kill the neighbour's Goat Syndrome." When a guy is above them, they want to bring that guy down to their level. We Greeks are not very friendly to entrepreneurship either. You're rich? You must have sold or trafficked drugs or receive bribes or bribe politicians. There is no denying that 50% of Greeks live in poverty, and young Greeks like me are expected to enter the labour market on EU600/month (IF we get a job, that is - I am studying Maritime Studies because Greece depends on tourism and shipping; here if you become a teacher, or a doctor, or a laywer you're gonna have a very hard time finding a job here, if at all; many get jobs for 500, 400, or even 300). The current economic crisis with a worsening state of education in public schools (which forces many parents to pay extra tuition for their children at private institutions) exacerbates this situation. So does the Government's unwillingness to lay off surplus civil servants and maintain a bureaucratic culture which is beyond anything you Americans will ever see - in Europe -, since those civil servants would not vote for them. Plus the economy is dependent on them. You see an emerging startup scene in Greece and young Greeks are quite entrepreneurial, but most businesses that open here are cafes or souvlatzidika (souvlaki parlours, whatever you wanna call it). Financing for serious businesses? Hahaha. We have capital controls and most banks are loaded with a lot of non performing loans businesses and persons cannot pay because their incomes are humiliatingly low. And we increase taxes instead of cutting spending. And now that the Turks and the Albanians are becoming increasingly assertive geopolitically (and investor-friendly as well), we're between a rock and a hard place.

You can laugh at us all you want. However:
a) 500,000 Greeks, mostly between the ages of 18-25, have abandoned the country for Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, USA, Canada, Australia etc. That may be a small city for you but in our last census we have had a population of 10.8 million people and a humiliatingly small birth rate (second lowest in Europe under Italy, followed by Deutschland), because, while Greeks want to have children, they simply can't afford to.
b) The United States exhibits signs of the same pattern of our collapse, but it also has many, many more advantages than you can imagine. Your Universities are way overpriced, but as I am about to graduate from a Greek public university (in my own hometown, so I live with my parents - my uni has no dorms, and even if it did I would not be eligible since I have my parents there). So in this time I could invest in my learning foreign languages, which I adore immensely. The quality here, however, is shit. I guess you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. We have a lot of excellent teaching staff, but also a lot of crappy ones. Plus, the infrastructure sucks and you do not get the same array of activities and opportunities you would normally get at a U.S., UK, or German university. Free education has its cost.

Just so you know where you will end up if Americans lose the one thing that made America great in the first place; entrepreneurial spirit. Your country is going to shit as well but at least you have a paddle - for now. Do not succumb to the "Kill the Neighbour's Goat" Mentality and try to boost the quality of education of your populace by any means possible. And control your spending so that people do not become dependent on their Government for their well-being.

Friendly greetings from a friendly Greek

Feb 7, 2014

Speak for yourself given that:
(a) you have no way of knowing how much of someone's success they do in fact deserve
(b) you have even less of an idea of how much of their success they think they deserve

I will, however take your word as to how many measures of ability, hard word, luck and privilege were required for you to get to whatever station in life it is that you're at.

Feb 7, 2014

Agreed. No right answers in a subjective evaluation.

Feb 7, 2014

Drake begs to disagree.

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Feb 7, 2014

Yes, but isn't everyone born in america in the lucky sperm club. Aren't all pro athletes in the lucky sperm club. Aren't all great singers in lucky sperm club. I would love to have been born with a million dollar voice, I would love to have been born 6'4" with genes to run a 4.3 40 yard dash. Question is, so what? Isn't that part of why we have escalating tax brackets? Is paying 50% of your salary not enough while 50% pays nothing? The world/universe is not fair. Can a father not leave a business, wealth, or a job to his son? That's just not allowed?

Feb 7, 2014

"Yes, but isn't everyone born in america in the lucky sperm club."

-- I wasn't born in the US. I was born in a third world country where most rich people got that way by crony capitalism. Perhaps this explains our different viewpoints.

Feb 10, 2014
MoneyTalksMonkeysWalk:

Yes, but isn't everyone born in america in the lucky sperm club. Aren't all pro athletes in the lucky sperm club. Aren't all great singers in lucky sperm club. I would love to have been born with a million dollar voice, I would love to have been born 6'4" with genes to run a 4.3 40 yard dash. Question is, so what? Isn't that part of why we have escalating tax brackets? Is paying 50% of your salary not enough while 50% pays nothing? The world/universe is not fair. Can a father not leave a business, wealth, or a job to his son? That's just not allowed?

Now don't take this me as coming off as a socialist.

I wouldn't go as far as saying every person born in America is in the lucky sperm club, Do you consider people born in Southside Chicago lucky? We always say we have it better than those people born in third world countries which is true, however there is room for improvements.

The reality is if you're born poor you are more likely to die poor. There are tons of study that support this claim, that the social mobility is a lot harder than we think. Now I am not going say its impossible to go from rigs to riches, but the likely hood is very small.

Here is a recent article from The Economist.

http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21595396-new-study-shows-just-how-slow-it-change-social-class-have-and-have-not

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Feb 10, 2014
SumOne:

I wouldn't go as far as saying every person born in America is in the lucky sperm club, Do you consider people born in Southside Chicago lucky?

Absolutely, I would. And it would be ludicrous to think otherwise.

There is virtually no measure by which the child born today on the Southside of Chicago is not lucky. Relative to anyone but today's wealthiest citizens, he enjoys comforts and technologies that are beyond the reach of the greater portion of global citizens today. More starkly, he has a longer expected lifespan than did the child of the wealthiest parent just 60 years ago, has access to luxuries beyond the imagination of even Andrew Carnegie, can travel further and faster than Charles Lindbergh on the median income, will survive illnesses that would have been death sentences decades ago, has more chefs ready and waiting to cook him a meal than Louis XIV and so on.

The incredible progress of capitalism has democratized luxury. Even the poorest modern day Americans are so incomprehensibly affluent that we have become oblivious to that reality.

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Feb 10, 2014
NorthSider:

y. Even the poorest modern day Americans are so incomprehensibly affluent that we have become oblivious to that reality.

I cold heartily disagree. Affluent? There are so many American's on food stamp and welfare and are struggling to make ends meet.

The fact is so many people from Soutside of Chicago, don't have the same opportunity as someone born in Westchester County. They won't get the same quality of education nor do they parents have the network that affluent people have,

Now I am no advocate for food stop or welfare, because they don't solve the underlying problem because they are "safety nets".

Hell there is supposedly a hunger crisis going on in the States.

http://www.msnbc.com/all-0

Now by no means I am saying that going from poor to rich isn't possible, but the likely hood that its going happened is very slim.

Feb 10, 2014
SumOne:

I cold heartily disagree. Affluent? There are so many American's on food stamp and welfare and are struggling to make ends meet.

The fact is so many people from Soutside of Chicago, don't have the same opportunity as someone born in Westchester County. They won't get the same quality of education nor do they parents have the network that affluent people have,

I don't think you read my post, so I will copy the portion that directly addresses your concern here.

NorthSider:

There is virtually no measure by which the child born today on the Southside of Chicago is not lucky. Relative to anyone but today's wealthiest citizens, he enjoys comforts and technologies that are beyond the reach of the greater portion of global citizens today. More starkly, he has a longer expected lifespan than did the child of the wealthiest parent just 60 years ago, has access to luxuries beyond the imagination of even Andrew Carnegie, can travel further and faster than Charles Lindbergh on the median income, will survive illnesses that would have been death sentences decades ago, has more chefs ready and waiting to cook him a meal than Louis XIV and so on.

Your definition of affluence is subject to precisely the same bias that I outlined in my post: you're taking a point-in-time observation confined to the wealthiest cross-section of the global population in the history of human civilization. The poor in the U.S. are astronomically better off than even the wealthiest citizens just several decades ago, and are better off than the wealthy in other regions of today's world. They are affluent by any historically- or globally-conscious definition of the word.

Feb 10, 2014

The poor in the U.S. are "astronomically" better off than even the wealthiest citizens just several decades ago?

Sorry, but this is just so off.

You also seem to chastise for using a point-in-time observation, yet you use an absolute one. No doubt the poorest are better off today than in 17th century London, but does that make it any more valid of a comparison than the one you condemned?

Feb 10, 2014
Anihilist:

The poor in the U.S. are "astronomically" better off than even the wealthiest citizens just several decades ago?

Sorry, but this is just so off.

By what measure would you conclude that the poor in the U.S. today are not better off than, say, Andrew Carnegie or Henry Ford? Goods that would have been incredible extravagances are commonplace; technology that dwarfs the most advanced devices of the time are widely proliferated; life expectancy and healthcare is, indeed, astronomically better. Other than size of house and amount of owned land, I struggle to think of measures by which the U.S.'s relatively poor are not better off than the relatively wealthy in the early-to-mid 20th century.

You also seem to chastise for using a point-in-time observation, yet you use an absolute one. No doubt the poorest are better off today than in 17th century London, but does that make it any more valid of a comparison than the one you condemned?

Surely, that depends on your definition of "validity". But that's precisely the argument I'm making - that my comparison is more "valid" in the context of this debate! I invite your argument to the contrary.

Comparing any cross-section of the population to the wealthiest modern-day citizens will, in all cases, yield the point-in-time observation that "some are not as well off as others; they are relatively poor". Such an observation is unhelpful in determining prudent policy. The policy question is not "are there relatively poor people today?" (as the answer is inherent in the question!), but rather "what is the most effective policy at increasing the standard of living of the average person on the median income?" And the answer to that question can only be ascertained by longitudinal observations of a population and globally-conscious comparisons between countries that have applied different political and economic systems.

If you accept the observation "some are not as well off as others; they are relatively poor" as adequate evidence to mobilize policy revision, you will of course never arrive at a satisfying solution.

Feb 10, 2014

Okay, I think that the rhetoric is a little convoluting to anyone getting their point through (not your rhetoric, but the use of poor, affluent, etc). To clarify, my point is that regardless of period in time, most people would opt for the lifestyle of Ford, Astor, Vanderbilt, etc than that of a modern day individual living in the projects of Detroit and working double shift at McDonald's in order to pay rent. Yes, life was no doubt more volatile (even for the wealthiest of society) during the majority of history; my argument is that quality > quantity, as that is how most people judge their lives. While I know I am lucky in my current condition compared to many alive today, I do not compare myself and situation to that of the people of history.

My above statement pretty much epitomizes my sentiment on the argument though. No doubt there will always be those that are poor relative to others, however the proportion of the population that has become relatively "poor" seems to have deviated from what the historically tightening pattern would suggest. I'm not saying I have the answers or that we should all make the same amount of money, etc, but saying someone that is relatively poor is justifiable because they live longer and have better life quality relative to people 200 years ago just doesn't seem to hold water IMO. There are many justified reasons for income inequality, I just don't think that this is really one of them.

Pretty incoherent statement, I know. But, hopefully you can infer what I'm getting at.

Feb 10, 2014

I understand your perspective; certainly you outline much of the mainstream policy debate around inequality of wealth / income. For clarity, I neither believe that inequality is something to be outrightly ignored nor that the plight of the impoverished is better left neglected.

However, I must disagree with your model of comparison. As a matter of policy, we should prefer a system that provides for the increasing standard of living for the average person on the median income. That is precisely what capitalism has achieved, and such progress can be observed only longitudinally over history or by contrasting the outcomes of relatively less free countries vis a vis their respective starting points.

Comparing your living situation to that of the wealthiest individuals in the wealthiest country in the world is bound to leave you feeling snubbed; but it's akin to the students on this board who feel like "failures" because they received an offer at UBS instead of GS. It's myopic and prevents an objective analysis of prudent policies. The bottom 5% of income earners in the U.S. make more than the top 5% of India and than 70% of the world.

I also disagree that it should be such an easy decision to take Carnegie's lifestyle over the modern lower-middle class American. Certainly, Carnegie lived in what would have been described as opulence in the day. But other than his opulent home, I struggle to think of ways his life could be preferred. His home had no air conditioning, would only have had a refrigerator late in his lifetime, his car had 14 horsepower, he couldn't travel by air, he spent a great deal of life communicating via telegraph, written letters or rudimentary telephones (to say nothing of mobile communication), he had no computer, no internet, a much shorter life expectancy (though he did live to a ripe age), the food he enjoyed likely paled in comparison to what one can purchase for a couple hours of work on the minimum wage today, etc. etc. I certainly prefer living in a world of modern technology and logistics, I'm quite sure I'd take my chances as a child of a lower-income family today than a guarantee that I could live with all of the "extravagance" of Andrew Carnegie. A value judgment, of course, but with - what I would argue are - objective criteria.

All of that doesn't mention the Rights Revolutions that have occurred largely in the last 60 years. Andrew Carnegie's world was what a modern observer might deem viciously unequal by race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. If you value such equality, again, today's world would be vastly superior.

In any case, I wrote a very lengthy post on precisely this topic on another thread (link below, just scroll to my comment near the middle - you can't miss it!). I won't rehash all of that, but to the extent you're interested:

//www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/oxfam-85-people-control-half-the-worlds-wealth?page=2

Feb 13, 2014
NorthSider:
SumOne:

I wouldn't go as far as saying every person born in America is in the lucky sperm club, Do you consider people born in Southside Chicago lucky?

Absolutely, I would. And it would be ludicrous to think otherwise.

There is virtually no measure by which the child born today on the Southside of Chicago is not lucky. Relative to anyone but today's wealthiest citizens, he enjoys comforts and technologies that are beyond the reach of the greater portion of global citizens today. More starkly, he has a longer expected lifespan than did the child of the wealthiest parent just 60 years ago, has access to luxuries beyond the imagination of even Andrew Carnegie, can travel further and faster than Charles Lindbergh on the median income, will survive illnesses that would have been death sentences decades ago, has more chefs ready and waiting to cook him a meal than Louis XIV and so on.

The incredible progress of capitalism has democratized luxury. Even the poorest modern day Americans are so incomprehensibly affluent that we have become oblivious to that reality.

Hey Northsider,

Have you considered that a lot of these improvements don't really matter when it comes to driving success? I actually attended a public highschool that spent 3x more per student than neighboring districts, but our students performed so poorly on state exams that we could barely keep our teaching license. Technology and money didn't help these students work harder at all, perhaps it made the situation worse. My thinking is the benefits you mentioned are only helpful if and only if the students had the correct personality, philosophy, and most importantly psychology to use them effectively.

There's a lot of evidence that top performing children have a lot of grit and modesty, and i would argue these behaviors aren't natural - they are taught predominantly by parents and in some cases their environment. But this process of building a rational, efficient decision maker is an extremely long process going beyond the 20 or so years of required schooling.

On the flip side, I believe our natural behavior, like hyperbolic time discounting and fundamental attribution (mentioned earlier), has a good probability of building a horrible personality for success if left un-managed. So if you're dealing with child who seems lazy, IMO it's actually much more complicated (though probably not for the reasons they give). In fact, laziness doesn't really explain anything - if you ask why a student doesn't do their work and you say they are just lazy, you only repeated the question.

Consider if you let this "lazy" child mature without fixing their insecurities, the problem will compound. What seems like laziness could be years of anxiety build-up. Even those who appear ambitious, can have a fundamentally ineffective base personality. A good chunk of the people here on WSO are incredibly insecure - they are going for IB because they don't have any internal sense of confidence, so they rely on external competition to build their self worth.

So yes, I agree we are living the best time to be living. Children have a lot more support systems to cope, and we can take more control over our lives. But I don't think their is nearly enough support to expect everyone to achieve. This is why i take out time to tutor kids who are emotionally neglected by their parents. Kids don't need internet or even books, they need a role model. I think "lazy" people are just people who need help growing up and facing reality objectively.

This stuff means a lot to me so I hope you get to see this and reply.

Feb 13, 2014

I'm not really clear on how your posts addresses my comments. I haven't labeled anyone "lazy", I have just responded to comments charging that the children of affluent parents have advantages. Of course they do, but that's neither reason for dismay nor restructuring our economic system. Inequalities of genetics, family care, parental education, athletic ability, musical talent, affluence, etc. all create advantages and disadvantages for children. But the system that best provides for the advancement of society is the one that allows children the opportunity to obtain a better life than their parents enjoyed. And, by most any measure, it has provided precisely that for the ordinary man, both in the U.S. and globally.

You mention support networks. I applaud your volunteerism, and would never contend that you're wasting time by offering help disadvantaged children. But consider how much more important the economic support system provided by the growth in prosperity has been for the ordinary child. Prior to our recent Rights Revolutions prompted, in part, by the ability of market economics to provide a medium for mutually beneficial exchange between two parties, if that child had been a girl, African American or homosexual, he or she could have been immediately placed under a glass ceiling, enslaved or ostracized. He or she would have been condemned to a brief life expectancy, and significantly more likely to fall victim to infanticide or die of illness before the age of five. Mothers often died in childbirth. And so on.

Support networks are incredibly important and should be encouraged at an individual level, but as a matter of policy we should see that we provide an economic system that offers the greatest prosperity for the greatest number.

Hopefully that addresses your post.

Feb 8, 2014
valleybandar:

Call me socialist (and throw monkey shit at me if you want) but a LOT of success on Wall Street and elsewhere is attributable to being part of the lucky sperm club. I take no great pleasure saying this. I'm reasonably successful by any normal person's definition but let's be honest - being born in an upper middle class background helped with that. This Ayn Rand / free market / Ron Paul version of capitalism is just not the real world. Very very few people truly start from the bottom and make it to the top.

Of course that's true. The observation that children of affluent, talented, connected, influential, educated or hard working parents receive biological and environmental advantages is a prosaic one, indeed.

I've always been confounded that we should so affable and understanding of parents whose talents or education offer their children enormous advantages, while at once being repulsed by the idea that parents might use their hard-earned wealth to confer benefits to their progeny. Certainly, it's no coincidence that Peyton and Eli Manning should have become such prodigious quarterbacks (indeed, children of NFL players are statistically ~100x more likely to play in the NFL than their peers), nor should it be surprising that the world's most prestigious music conservatories are chock full of the children of professional violinists and flautists.

Parents - thankfully - are generally endowed with an overwhelming care for the outcomes of their children. At every bend of life's road, they endeavor to subsidize the development of their young ones. The cellist nurses his daughter's musical ability, the professor edifies the mind of his son, the doctor tutors his child in science, the college administrator introduces her son to the dean, the politician spearheads his daughters' journalism career by exposing her to TV anchors, the entrepreneur evokes ambition in his child, the affluent spares no expense in providing an education to his son - why is it that some of these narratives arouse a warm smile while others a scornful raised brow?

For all of our focus on egalitarianism, we make two quite treacherous assumptions: 1) that there is some fixed pool of success to be obtained in the world, such that the accomplishment of one child necessitates the failure of another and 2) that our society would be improved by policy that retrospectively redistributes resources to compensate for biological or environmental disadvantage. Both, of course, are misguided.

It's a trivial observation that, for example, Charles Darwin's contribution to the cumulative base of biological knowledge and the reverence that he has subsequently received did not come at the expense of other academic failures. Nor should it be diminished because he was born of a wealthy doctor and financier. Indeed, it's clear that Darwin's prosperous mind was attendant to many of the medical and scientific innovations of his successors. That is, Darwin's success doubtlessly increased the achievement of his academic scions; and, in that sense, he supplied to, rather than siphoned from, the pool of potential accomplishment.

Should it be any more trivial to observe that Bill Gates' incomprehensible success yielded a vastly greater quantity of prosperity than he himself consumed? Beyond the hundreds of billions in salaries paid to Microsoft employees, the magnitude of advances that were prompted by modern Silicon Valley icons who were raised on Windows computers is inestimable.

If such observations are so simple, why should we be brought to believe that similar, but less marvelous successes of less-notable academics or less-publicized entrepreneurs were deleterious to the prosperity of others?

We should never turn a blind eye to the suffering or hardship of those less fortunate, but history has demonstrated so clearly that economic freedom is the key ingredient to the most rewarding declines in poverty. The "developed world" today achieved that status not by coercively redistributing the triumphs of their fruitful entrepreneurs and artists, but rather by providing platforms upon which an entire civilization participates in the work of each citizen and each individual is granted the opportunity to exceed the prosperity of their parents. And, more fortunate still, with the evolution of a global economy has come a worldwide enfranchisement of the previously destitute in what is unquestionably the most precipitous decline in poverty in the history of human civilization.

In such a society, there will - of course - be enormous differences in affluence, talent, influence, education and ambition among different people, but the plight of the common man on the average income will be far greater than could be contemplated in a more restrictive economy.

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Feb 8, 2014

I agree NorthSider. If I could have put my thoughts on this subject into an eloquently worded essay, it would have strongly resembled your comment.

Feb 17, 2014

How can you say that? It's never been tried. We've never really had a truly free market. The federal government has been becoming more and more oppressive every year since the Civil War. And the whole luck thing...you can continue to believe it if it makes you feel better, but it's not true. Highschool isn't that hard. If you actually really cared you could get into a target school...and let's be honest, if you worked hard enough there, you could really do whatever you want with your life. A large majority of the people on the Forbes 400 are self-made. Started from nothing. That's not luck. Hard work always pays off. But not tomorrow, maybe not next month, maybe even not in a year. But in the long run, it does.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

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Feb 7, 2014

Nice pat on the back with #3 but I am unsure the majority of people on this blog work in the industry. Besides the point though, great contribution. I also have many friends with the "cheated" mentality, unsurprisingly due to a lack of understanding.

Feb 7, 2014

Probably one of my favorite posts. Great story. Just the truth.

May 7, 2014

yeah amazing story... thanks

Gie Hannesson

Feb 7, 2014

Since everyone here is probably familiar with the epicurean dealmaker, I thought this was a good read on the subject:

http://epicureandealmaker.blogspot.com/2012/05/occupy-galt-gulch.html

Keep in mind this guy is MD and probably way more successful than any of us on this thread.

Feb 8, 2014

god this is my aunt - housewife her entire life and expects to be retired in her 50s despite marrying a custodian. Fuck you auntie

Feb 8, 2014

--

Feb 8, 2014

I am a senior at a sub-par private school and this post represents about 95% of the kids in my classes and about 98% of the people I graduated high school with.

Feb 8, 2014

Separately, @Marcus_Halberstram I think you would greatly enjoy Ludwig von Mises' essay "The Anti-Capitalist Mentality", linked below.

http://mises.org/etexts/mises/anticap/section1.asp

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Feb 8, 2014

The reason that this resonates so deeply with me is not because I look down upon the people that you label as "average", but because I see so much of that in myself. I have always believed that I'm somehow different and that I will be successful, despite lacking the necessary grit to actually yield great results in any endeavor. In fact, I have angrily blamed others for some of my failures over the past several years, and reading that second to last paragraph put this "blame game" to rest. I have finally taken personal responsibility for my failures. It sounds sad, but its true. Thank you, so god damn much. I am finally moving on from my entitled, lazy, average idiocy.

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Feb 9, 2014

@qbison to provide some clarity as to why i think they're unambitious, its not because they are firefighters or teachers. Its because they always take the easy way out. I have the upmost respect to anyone who works a job they hate to support their family, whether its a banker or the janitor at the mcdonalds across the street. These guys however don't have that problem. They prefer to sit at home and smoke all day and let their parents give them money. Its not like they're rich either, they're maybe upper middle class if anything. They sit around all week with their biggest problems in life being where they're going on saturday to drink. Nothing wrong with that, but telling me you shouldn't be taking CFA prep courses and should be thinking more like them because "I'm not living properly" is the stupidest thing I've heard any human being say.

While there is no shame in those who start at 30k and work their ass off to retire at 70k, those people should not be trying to handicap the ones who start at 100K+ trying to make $1M+. To use a sports analogy, you need both A players and B players for a team to do well. But when the B players start to throw off the A players who score all the goals because all they do is grind it out in the corners, thats when things go wrong. And thats the problem in the situation, they are happy to see me run the race along side them but God forbid I get a step ahead of them.

Feb 10, 2014

This is passionate and almost touching. When I read it, I was thinking about the young kid in Margin Call who gets fired.

I always try to work less and try to get more. I never work for the sake of it. You can work 100 hours a week. If you don't close the deal, you won't get paid.

One 45 mins call is sometimes more important than 10,000 hours of financial modelling.

Feb 10, 2014

I hate to interrupt this Ayn Rand pep rally going on here, built on resurrecting old posts from the coffers, but the sheer downplaying of chance and circumstance in this thread is stunning. In social psychology circles this is what's known as fundamental attribution error. I agree you should play the hand you're dealt as best you can, but that can only take you so far if you're dealt 7-2-offsuit. I think people succeed when preparation and fortunate situation happen to meet. Of course there are plenty of people who had one without the other, but just because one is somewhat in your control does not make it any more necessary for any type of success.

Feb 10, 2014

I don't disagree.

Chance and luck are just part of the equation. Personally, I've been the beneficiary of luck and I've also been the victim of it.

Fundamental to not falling too much in love with yourself is the acknowledgment that atleast 50% of what you achieve is being in the right place at the right time. But by the same token, I believe that there are people out there that no matter what circumstances they are dealt, they will always prevail because that's just the type of people they are.

You look at someone like Bloomberg or Blankfein or basically anyone who comes from a modest background and goes on to achieve extraordinary success (not just in the finance world) and my view is that there are some people (very few) that are so far above the mean that the margin of error called fortune/misfortune simply does not apply to them.

That is to say that when they are dealt the blow of bad luck the impact is minimized and when they are dealt a good hand, they have the awareness to recognize it as such and the tenacity to capitalize off of it disproportionately. If you were looking at it like a probability curve you'd see the shit end of the tail with a pay off of something like -0.1x and the payoff on the tail end of the good side at 15x. Going back to the poker analogy, thats when you fold on a 7-2 unsuited, and push your luck when you don't have much but are on the cusp of having a monster hand. Yes, sometimes you have a diesel hand and get caught on the wrong side of the river and sometimes on the right side of it. That's where luck, and to a lesser degree instincts come into play. But the key point is that there are some people who do not succumb to bad luck like the rest of us and rise to the occasion when they are the beneficiaries of chance.

You see this with these types of people who seemingly look like everything they touch turns to gold and they can do no wrong. But when you examine their track record more closely, you see that it is marked with failures just like anyone else. But they (a) don't get bogged down and dwell on their inadequacies and (b) they somehow figure out a way to turn a negative into a positive.

If you've ever competed athletically you know that there is a certain band of chance that has nothing to do with ability. Refs blowing calls is a great example. Lets say the margin of error is +/- 8 landed punches per round in a boxing match. If you're someone like Floyd Mayweather that is 2-3 standard deviations above the mean and is handily landing 30-40 blows more than his opponent in each round, that margin of error is irrelevant. If you're a more moderate all-star, while you may beat 80% of your opponents more handily, 20% of the time it comes down to 8 or so landed punches and so your successes and failures are subject to the whims of chance.

Am I saying that people of this caliber are common? Absolutely not. But that's not to say that you shouldn't strive to be performing at a level above the atmosphere of luck.

I wouldn't underwrite being lucky as a deciding factor in my life goals, I don't expect that my life goals will be inhibited by being unlucky.

Feb 10, 2014

Ok fair enough. But I will add that just as there might be people on one tail who have "positive convexity" when it comes to limiting downside from their afflictions and maximizing upside from their windfalls (just like poker), there are also those on the other hand who have the opposite situation. I guess my point is that like anything else in life it's not always so black and white. I don't disagree that one should always uphold the attitude of personal responsibility but sometimes that just doesn't get actualized due to external factors.

Feb 10, 2014

Good read. What it really boils down to for me is ambition, I simply don't enjoy being around people who lack that drive. Regardless of what the person chooses to focus on, along as they are ambitious in what they want to achieve, and want to be their best at what they do, I will respect and admire that individual.

Feb 10, 2014

Maybe I'm just an outlier, but I enjoy hanging out with people whose ambitions aren't held to the same standards as my own all the time.

Feb 11, 2014

I agree with you wholeheartedly. But let me tell you something, in this world there's always gonna be the winners and losers and the complainers. The difference between the losers and the complainers is that theres a portion of the loser subset that realize that they failed and need to work harder and smarter to become a winner. However, the other subset are the people that fail and bitch and whine and cry. But that's life. Unfortunately, in America, there are a decent amount of people who are too damn spoiled. Sometimes you have to look back at what you have achieved and be grateful about that. If you have failed, don't complain. Try again. and keep trying. At the end of the end, everyone including you know you tried and you gave a damn. However, unlike the complainers...they just bitch and complain. They want to be entitled. That is why we have doctors, lawyers, professors, engineers, financial specialists (this includes the financial sector), business owners, etc. After a certain portion of your life, you will realize your talent is only capable of taking you to a certain level/threshold and the rest you will have to rely on working hard and working smart. It's like Darwin's principle, survival of the fittest. This is life. Life is a jungle. If you are willing to work hard and put some brain power into it (not just grunt work), and if you fail, there are people out that there that will notice it and will try to help you. But at the end of the day, it comes down to you to make the move. You have to make the initiation. And always be humble that way you open more doors. good post nonetheless. if you have a chance, read Christopher Gardner's book Pursuit of Happyness (book>>>>>movie).

Feb 11, 2014

I think one solution is to actually fail and realize why you fail. I'll be honest, not too long ago I hit rock bottom, or at least I felt like I hit rock bottom. I had the same disease as you mentioned: Arrogance, self entitlement, a little bit lazy, anger, frustration, the whole loser attitude. Fast forward a year, I put 110% strength into my goals and I worked extremely hard and I finally tasted success. That feeling of succeeding despite your failures is the best gift I ever got in mylife. It told me I can actually do it. But with that reward came a valuable lesson. You have to work hard and be humble and be grateful. And I will carry that on for the rest of my life. Life is what you make of it but sometimes, you just have to be patient

Feb 11, 2014

The last paragraph, when you talk about the average person really got to me. One of my biggest fears is ending up mediocre and having nothing to really show for my existence on this planet. Granted I am more ambitious than the majority of the population....but I just cant think of many things worse than not living up to potential or waking up and realizing you are actually average.

Feb 11, 2014
BusinessSense:

The last paragraph, when you talk about the average person really got to me. One of my biggest fears is ending up mediocre and having nothing to really show for my existence on this planet. Granted I am more ambitious than the majority of the population....but I just cant think of many things worse than not living up to potential or waking up and realizing you are actually average.

That really depends on what you mean by average. Most people have their children to show for their existence on this planet. Pretty amazing thing if you think about it. Get out of the bubble, you can be above average by just not being an asshole and helping a person or two in your life, you don't have to make $500k+ to have a meaningful life. Your post just made me feel a lot better. Among other things, I consider myself a funny guy in real life (not wso), and that is something I love and have pride in, and to be egotistical...makes me fucking awesome. Money, or even being a F500 CEO can't give you that shit. Solely chasing money or prestige is a losing game my friend, because when you get there, ya think, this is it? This is what I stressed over for x amount of years? Then you think, fuck, now what I want is x years back!. Girls, family, health, fun experiences...are usually what people want...people often think LOTS of money is the only way to get there...not true.

I spoke w an owner of a large private regional company two weekends ago, at his sick mansion on a cliff overlooking the ocean (~20 million dollar house). He lives a good life and seems content. But I like my life better - living in a small apartment a block from the surfing beach (crucial for me), with my friends, my hustle, and myself. If I die here in this same spot 60 years from now with an awesome wife and some kids (maybe), I did pretty well and lived a good life. Every moment you spend on those fears listed in the quote - wasting time - before you know it it turns to years, and my friend...you only have so many, so stop that BS thinking. It truly is flawed.

Feb 12, 2014
MoneyTalksMonkeysWalk:

T I consider myself a funny guy in real life (not wso),

Don't worry, I think you're a funny guy, even on WSO

Feb 12, 2014
Anihilist:
MoneyTalksMonkeysWalk:

T I consider myself a funny guy in real life (not wso),

Don't worry, I think you're a funny guy, even on WSO

Yeeahh! (in peter griffin voice)

Feb 12, 2014

First off I really enjoyed your post but let me clarify. I never specifically mentioned what I considered to be average or exactly what I was trying to achieve to avoid being average in my own eyes. I actually agree with pretty much everything you said.

The older I get the more I enjoy life's experiences and the value of friends and family. I think my point that I was trying to get at is that, I don't want to feel like I wasted my life in relation to anything. I want to make a difference for someone or something. I will admit that money seems like a good way to make an impact but I also agree it's not the only way.

My perspective is that I feel being successful financially allows me to avoid the mediocrity I fear so much. Granted I am still pretty young and my perspective is sure to change many times over the years.

    • 1
Feb 12, 2014

Cool, I understand.

Feb 17, 2014
MoneyTalksMonkeysWalk:
BusinessSense:

The last paragraph, when you talk about the average person really got to me. One of my biggest fears is ending up mediocre and having nothing to really show for my existence on this planet. Granted I am more ambitious than the majority of the population....but I just cant think of many things worse than not living up to potential or waking up and realizing you are actually average.

That really depends on what you mean by average. Most people have their children to show for their existence on this planet. Pretty amazing thing if you think about it. Get out of the bubble, you can be above average by just not being an asshole and helping a person or two in your life, you don't have to make $500k+ to have a meaningful life. Your post just made me feel a lot better. Among other things, I consider myself a funny guy in real life (not wso), and that is something I love and have pride in, and to be egotistical...makes me fucking awesome. Money, or even being a F500 CEO can't give you that shit. Solely chasing money or prestige is a losing game my friend, because when you get there, ya think, this is it? This is what I stressed over for x amount of years? Then you think, fuck, now what I want is x years back!. Girls, family, health, fun experiences...are usually what people want...people often think LOTS of money is the only way to get there...not true.

I spoke w an owner of a large private regional company two weekends ago, at his sick mansion on a cliff overlooking the ocean (~20 million dollar house). He lives a good life and seems content. But I like my life better - living in a small apartment a block from the surfing beach (crucial for me), with my friends, my hustle, and myself. If I die here in this same spot 60 years from now with an awesome wife and some kids (maybe), I did pretty well and lived a good life. Every moment you spend on those fears listed in the quote - wasting time - before you know it it turns to years, and my friend...you only have so many, so stop that BS thinking. It truly is flawed.

This and a few other posts reminded me of Eddie's story about his friend who I think really sums up the epitome of being happy with his life and may offer a different perspective than some of the circlejerk that goes on here at times. Everybody's different. People have different goals and motivations in life. Personally, I enjoy being friends with a lot of people outside of finance but that doesn't mean I don't admire the hunger that a lot of people in the industry have. The question of whether I want it badly enough or not is something I ask myself quite frequently...
//www.wallstreetoasis.com/blog/back-door-mark-the-oracle-of-pb

Feb 17, 2014

wow, interesting you linked to that post, haven't read it in a while, but I live in PB where they are talking about in the post, crazy, moved here a few months ago. Now I just need to get in with the ladies like back door mike.

Feb 12, 2014

Such a great fu*king post. I've learned that people bitch and complain to push the goal post back and make it an even playing field.

Actually a great post for motivation to keep pushing forward and not listening to other people who tell you otherwise.

Feb 12, 2014

this is my rude awakening

Mar 13, 2014

deleted

Feb 13, 2014

Hard work will eventually pay off

Feb 13, 2014

This is very true for some people. I have never really found a good way to voice such an opinion in a social setting though, given the sensitive nature.

Feb 13, 2014

Very well said. Fantastic post

Feb 14, 2014

Amen.
Very good point of you about the average person. It's all about their ambitions and choices.

Thank you for the post. Great one.

Feb 14, 2014

awesome article, def a reality check !!!

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Feb 14, 2014

I agree with you that most people are lazy and that working hard is fulfilling. Although I find two things wrong with this post.
1. You allude to being a hard worker and focused yet you had time to write this huge rant. It seems like if you were such a hard worker you wouldn't have time for such a trivial exercise (let alone racking up over 1000 points on this site).
2. You keep saying that you don't think you are better than other people and that you aren't special. However the subtext of this rant is that you are in fact special and better than everyone else.

Feb 14, 2014

I agree with your anti-entitlement sentiment, but saying things like everyone came from the same place? The US is the best country in the world? IBDers are the most accomplished, smart people out there? Those opinions are just ignorant and sound like propaganda.

Feb 14, 2014

Sir, your post made my day. This is usually a difficult topic to discuss with friends and family when no one is in the Finance Industry. Most would consider you "not down to earth" or dreaming to far away from your reality.

Im currently having to decide "how bad I want it" and quit my current job which guarantees me a comfortable but mediocre life or spending my very little life savings and studying a Masters in Finance which is what my guts tell me I should do with my life since i love everything from the math to the pressure of this type of job.

Your post really helped me deeply question myself what I wanna do with my life and how bad do I want it.

Again thanks for sharing your opinion

Feb 15, 2014

Perfect

Feb 15, 2014

Been in this industry for 8 years... I'm 30 years old, seen so many people come in and fail all because they felt as if they deserved something special because they went to the best schools. No work ethic no will to sacrifice their personal life for their job.

Feb 15, 2014

I love the direction of this post, and I agree with a lot of it. People really do underestimate the importance of hard work. For example, at the target school I attended, I'd meet so many people who aspired to being an entrepreneur, yet when I ask them what they've started, they say they're waiting until they have (insert excuse here, time, money, skills, w/e). It's a giant pile of crock. Read the story of any successful entrepreneur, and you'll see half the story is busting your ass and failing before you succeed, not waiting for a magical moment when you have some world-saving idea. Not that they're bad people. I just feel sorry for them because I know they'll never get that freedom they want.

At the same time, your statement about "ordinary people" doesn't ring true to me. You describe yourself as ordinary, yet you describe ordinary people as entitled and lazy, certainly things that you wouldn't describe yourself as. Wouldn't that, by default, make you not "ordinary?" Not here to criticize, I'm just trying to clarify your argument. I think what you're trying to say is that there's a subset of "ordinary people" that feel entitled to more despite their laziness, not ordinary people as a whole.

Most people got more pressing priorities than feeling jealous about the rich and successful. Sure, they might feel it from time to time, but they got their own problems to deal with (family, money, regular shit). I've got plenty of "ordinary people" as friends, and none of them get pissed at me for being ambitious. Those entitled types you're referring to, those who immerse themselves in jealousy, exist in far fewer numbers than you might think. They might be more obvious now that you're going places, but that just means you need different friends, not that the average person is shitty.

In any case, if you really think you're average, then find other average people who appreciate hard workers like you do. Most average people I know appreciate people who've worked hard for what they got, and it sounds like you fit that mold. To be honest, I don't think your appreciation of hard work is all that mind-blowing or unique. You just need to find people who aren't going to tear you down for it.

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Feb 15, 2014

Oh, just-world fallacy. This is fun.

At this point, I'm pretty sure there is no objectively fair world. If you think you can objectively measure how hard someone works and what he deserves in return, you can join a long list of ideologues who had the same idea and the same lack of data to back it up.

I like markets. It's surprising how quickly people self-correct their biases once you put their beliefs in a market context. You're 99% sure your prediction is correct? Will you bet me $1000 against my $11? No? Glad we could clear this up.
What I don't believe is that if I make 300k, I objectively deserve 300k. I took a position in a market which is very likely to have been favorable to me, since many people accept physically demanding, sometimes harmful jobs for tiny fractions of that money, and I didn't. Did I work harder than some guy carrying bricks? Who knows.

If offered the same money I make now (which isn't fuck-you-money by any standards, but I'm doing okay) to work a standard entry-level position, I'd probably decline. I hate repetitive work, physical labor isn't much fun if you have scoliosis and a busted knee, I'm not a "team player" if the word is used as a euphemism for spineless sycophant*, and having no failures at all makes me feel like a coward who avoids tough challenges. Sure, my job isn't perfect, either. I work about twice as long as an average employee and have to get what feels like an order of magnitude more done. Every part of the job requires extensive amounts of optimizing my actions, and there's still no guarantee that all tasks are solvable by me, or even in principle. Variance is huge, everybody needs to be reminded at all times to do the simplest of tasks, and there's no real certainty of getting paid. But it's fine. It challenges me. It forces me to think about what I do, change my habits, and grow both in my profession and as a person. Additionally, completing a project feels better than most drugs I've tried. If forced to decide between the memory of my first acquisition or first sex, I'd easily take the former. I'd never get this out of a "normal" job.

But I'd never draw policy advice from my personal experiences. As long as you don't buy into conversation-killers like "You deserve what you earn" (note: gross income) on the Randian end or "Everyone deserves X" on the socialist one, politics can be really fun and open for almost anything. You can hypothesize about the effects, payoffs and costs of nearly anything and see what the stats say, since someone probably tried it somewhere already. It's the simplification, adherence to some sort of moral imperative that closes it down and turns one side into greedy grifters and the others into entitled deadbeats. I find these kind of arguments insanely naive and uninteresting.

As for hard work: Necessary, not sufficient. Get back to it.

*a little over the top. If I sound overly bitter, I'm not. Just don't like the combination of office politics and management lingo.

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Feb 15, 2014
Gustav:

What I don't believe is that if I make 300k, I objectively deserve 300k. I took a position in a market which is very likely to have been favorable to me, since many people accept physically demanding, sometimes harmful jobs for tiny fractions of that money, and I didn't. Did I work harder than some guy carrying bricks? Who knows.

You're committing just as flagrant an attribution error as the one criticizing.

What could possibly be the meaning of "objectively deserve" in this context? By whose "objective" standard are you measuring "deservedness"?

The market doesn't allocate income based on "deservedness". Your enormous paragraph extolling your individualism and inability to succeed as a "standard entry-level worker" is moot. If Jamie Dimon began working as a construction worker, he wouldn't be paid as he is as the CEO of JP Morgan; in fact, he would likely be useless as a construction worker and quickly fired. Dimon isn't paid what he "deserves" based on some "objective" determination of his "skills", he is paid according to a market-based valuation of his work. It is the conclusion of the compensation committee of JP Morgan, on behalf of the shareholders, that his work contributes to the company's success in excess of his income. It would almost certainly be the view of a foreman that his work would not contribute to the success of the project in excess of his construction worker salary. This is not a profound observation.

"Deserve" is a meaningless word in this context. But it's equally erroneous to contend there is no objective reason why an individual is offered their income: one party exchanges his or her resources for the labor of another. I see no compelling logic to believe that some abstract third-party concept of "deservedness" should be more legitimate a standard than the voluntary arrangement between two parties who both have direct incentives to economize.

There are millions of people in "standard entry-level" jobs: most of them progressively earn more income as they get older, some more than others. It's impossible to make precise statements about "why" some progress and others do not, but it's certainly a reasonable conjecture to think that motivation, morale, ambition, hard work, concentration, charisma, etc. have at least some role in the equation.

Of course happenstance is involved, and you may have some differing idea of how much it contributes than does Marcus, but it's just silly to harangue him about "deservedness". This "deservedness" concept is useless. At least Marcus opines on concepts that have pragmatic value, in that they 1) can be measured and 2) have a positive correlation with career success.

Feb 16, 2014
NorthSider:

What could possibly be the meaning of "objectively deserve" in this context? By whose "objective" standard are you measuring "deservedness"?

I'm arguing that there is no such thing. Market decisions don't carry inherent moral value, so introducing terms like entitlement, laziness and fairness to a discussion about Wall Street salaries doesn't make sense to me.

The paragraph on my own life probably comes across as a bit douchy, but I get irked by the "I earn much money because I work so hard" meme. Lots of people work hard and make little, and low-salary jobs aren't necessarily cozy and conducive to a lazy lifestyle. Increasing your earning potential will likely require more work, but that's fairly obvious and the productivity boost you'll get from reading a post about it is unlikely to exceed your standard nootropic in power or duration. Which should be a lot cheaper in terms of opportunity cost.

I had the same problem with the post on Glengarry Glen Ross, which received a confusing amount of support. You start by appealing to an in-group audience with applause lights, mix in some motivational material and end with a political argument massively simplifying real-world events in a way that might be interpreted as self-serving.

This is all very level 1. Look at your cards, play your cards. Don't think about your opponent, don't think about what cards you represent through your play, don't think about what cards your opponent represents.

You could go much more in depth on any of these issues. What does allow us to work hard? What affects earning potential on Wall Street other than pure effort? (Meta: How can we improve our capacity of that?) What causes public opinion regarding Wall Street? What political pressure and counterpressure exists?

I don't consider greedy poor people to be much of a threat to me. Worst case scenario involves change of residence and palm trees. Government collusion, espionage, shotgun approaches to regulation, financial instability, creation of large-scale systemic risks, those seem a bit more worrying. Don't lend themselves to an inspirational post quite as well, though, I'll grant that.

Feb 16, 2014
Gustav:

I'm arguing that there is no such thing. Market decisions don't carry inherent moral value, so introducing terms like entitlement, laziness and fairness to a discussion about Wall Street salaries doesn't make sense to me.

Your posts are chock full of unintelligible diction, it's impossible to decipher anything of substance. I can tell you're trying very hard to root out some profound statement about the value of work and significance of income, but instead this just amounts to an ocean of pseudo-intellectual semantic games.

If not "market decisions", what does "carry inherent moral value", by your reckoning? What exactly is "inherent" about the "moral value" carried by the decisions of your proposed framework?

Of course there "is no such thing" as "objective deservedness"! You've abstracted away any possibility of retort by employing an utterly intractable standard ("deserved"). If you would take a moment to read the post to which you're referring, you would notice that the OP explicitly argues against the idea that there is an income one "deserves". You add nothing to the dialogue by parroting this same observation, especially since you're ostensibly challenging the OP to validate his income by a standard that he himself is arguing against!

The paragraph on my own life probably comes across as a bit douchy, but I get irked by the "I earn much money because I work so hard" meme. Lots of people work hard and make little, and low-salary jobs aren't necessarily cozy and conducive to a lazy lifestyle.

Chugging along with your language games, here you're just equivocating with the phrase "work hard". Instead of addressing the substance of the argument, you've seized on the multiple meanings of the word "hard".

Increasing your earning potential will likely require more work, but that's fairly obvious and the productivity boost you'll get from reading a post about it is unlikely to exceed your standard nootropic in power or duration. Which should be a lot cheaper in terms of opportunity cost.

Your argument now flips from pointing out that "lots of people work 'hard' and earn little" (putatively, your argument being that working 'hard' is not linked to increased earnings) to jeering at the tautological observation that working more will lead to increased earnings. From your argument thus far, working 'hard' is either of dubious value or so clearly linked to value that it's obnoxious to even mention. A confounding refutation, indeed.

This is all very level 1. Look at your cards, play your cards. Don't think about your opponent, don't think about what cards you represent through your play, don't think about what cards your opponent represents.

Considering that this post is, if anything, a response to the social platitudes about high-income individuals "not deserving" their income, I'd say you're in agreement with the OP.

You could go much more in depth on any of these issues. What does allow us to work hard? What affects earning potential on Wall Street other than pure effort? (Meta: How can we improve our capacity of that?) What causes public opinion regarding Wall Street? What political pressure and counterpressure exists?

Yes, those are questions. Intriguingly, they all take for granted that 'hard work' is involved in success, a point you were disputing earlier, but took to mockingly agreeing with a few lines ago.

I don't consider greedy poor people to be much of a threat to me. Worst case scenario involves change of residence and palm trees. Government collusion, espionage, shotgun approaches to regulation, financial instability, creation of large-scale systemic risks, those seem a bit more worrying. Don't lend themselves to an inspirational post quite as well, though, I'll grant that.

Ah yes, more idle pontification. Arguing against the ghost who believes "greedy poor people" are a "threat".

I don't understand why you can't just accept this post for what it is: a rather straightforward response to a common trope in the rhetoric of class conflict, which has again been inflamed in recent memory. It clearly doesn't meet your standard of existential profundity (or semantic vacuousness), but here you are clamoring about it being at once doubtful and self-evident. At this point you're just feeding the flames of your own rant, because you're certainly not making a lucid argument.

Feb 16, 2014

Ugh. One of my biggest pet peeves has got to be "most people are X" or "most people can't do/realize that X".

C'mon, MOST people are actually decent, hard working folks. It is my view that as with most things, the minority gives the rest a bad name. Life is tough for everyone involved, and we all have to make do. If your thing is busting your balls to "make it", then more power to you. By simple virtue of competition, not everyone can make it as high as some, and that should not diminish "the average person".

Let's face it -- today's world is quite competitive, so it is my belief that today's average isn't all that mediocre. I'm of the opinion that so long as you are competent, are making money and happy with where you are, then you're doing well.

No one cares for the entitled, the incompetent or those unwilling to work. The workforce will weed them out naturally. They shouldn't be anyone's concern, so why let them bother you?

Feb 17, 2014

Then you come to things like record oil company profits, wall street bonuses etc... the average American has absolutely no understanding of the actual issues and complexity surround them yet has a barrel full of opinions they're dying to express.

Your point about complexity nails it. People have so much difficulty thinking non-linearly.

Feb 17, 2014

Excellent, excellent post. Couldn't agree more. You nailed it. Wish I could SB.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Feb 18, 2014

Theres been a lot of good content on this thread, and while I agree with most of it, I do believe that laziness is something that is nearly impossible to quantify. One of the examples that stuck out to me was the reference to having the highest level of respect for teachers. Personally, I thing teaching is incredibly important and I would love to go back and be a high school math teacher at some point in my life. That being said, there are some teachers I had in high school that I truly loved what they did and wanted to make a difference, however there were many that went into this particular field because it was easy. The benefits are great, you get weekends and summers off, and nobody can argue that the stress of being a teacher is even remotely comparable to what is found on wall street.

I'm sure someone will come in and argue that I shouldn't judge these people because 'they are living the lifestyle they want', but from my experience the people that got into teaching because it was easy are the ones who complain the most about others. You would be hard pressed to find a teacher that believes bankers deserve the salary they get. As if this wasn't engraved in my brain growing up, now that I seem some of my peers (whom most anyone would deem as lazy) going off to work as teachers, I believe it now more so than ever. So many of these kids had dreams of making something of themselves, and now that they realize their laziness isn't going to get the anywhere, they sit around giving me shit about how trading 'isn't doing anything good for the world' on their little teacher pedestals. The world is full of hypocrisy, but to quote a certain twitter account, the boos always come from the cheap seats.

    • 1
Feb 18, 2014

"The boos always come from the cheap seats." Indeed, this is true!

Feb 18, 2014

I think that ANT should jump in on this one.

Feb 19, 2014

My childhood best friend was and is an idiot. I met him at age 4, so I had no idea, but he is very stupid - think 20th %-ile stupid. As we got older, I worked hard, got good grades, and enrolled in top schools. He drank a lot of beer, worked a lot of odd jobs, banged a lot of sluts, and just generally lived a party lifestyle at an epic scale. As we approach 30, I'm 6 months away from a top PhD and he has his first steady job as a truck driver. I'm pretty satisfied with my life, but I think he is too.

What's my point here? My friend's life goal was to work just enough to support his beer drinking, hard partying, slut banging lifestyle. And he succeeded wildly at that. I had different goals, and I think I am achieving those as well. We all have different priorities, so judging someone else based on my goals is not justified. We are all much happier when the jealousy AND the condescension is snuffed out. This thread does a good job of pointing out jealousy, but the comments are chock-full of condescension towards the Average Joe.

Feb 19, 2014

@Pee H. Dee: Sounds like a lot of the guys/girls I went to high school with.

Feb 19, 2014

Unfortunately, Pee's story also sounds like alot of the kids I currently go to school with - universities will take anyone these days. Oh well, 2 more years until freedom.

Feb 19, 2014

@MissMoneyPenny: This is true. I remember someone who I won't name claimed that I "didn't know how to win or lose because I never played sports." Meanwhile, she went to a 2 year community college and has worked for the last 20+ years working at a local YMCA. She is the poster child (female version) of what Pee H. Dee mentioned above. Was a cheerleader in high school and makes a big deal out of having a history like this. Now is a big loser in life. Her life story is one of regret and shame but yet she wants to pass herself off as a professional. People like this make me want to throw up.

Feb 21, 2014

I know that this is an over simplification of the issue at hand, and to start it off, here are my two cents.

There will always be rich and poor people, there will always be ambitious and non ambitious lazy people, no legislation alone can change this, some part of it is innate, I would bet my life on it.

HOWEVER, there is a large segment of society that feels like the contract between the owners of the means of production and them, labor has been broken. Not because of the amount of money they pay said labor as wages.

No there is a larger deeper issue at hand, simply put the poor feel like no matter how hard they work, their lot in life is destined to mediocrity.

Pity not the one who wants to sit at home, lazy and complain about life, but the man who wants to make something of himself but cant for a variety of reasons, be it lack of money to go to school or get a promotion etc.

No the real anger of the Proletariat is a loss of BELIEF in that the system works, that the American dream is alive.

There is funny saying that "The American Dream is a dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it"

What I really think is needed cannot be measured in dollars, or food stamps and free housing.

To paint the poor as mostly lazy does a disservice to those who want to better their life but have the system stacked against them.

Higher wages wont solve the fundamental problem, the anger that most Americans have will not be placated by charity, or fundraisers.

They need to believe that through hard work they can get to be successful or at least provide a decent living.

Most urban youth give up, I went to a middle school where gangs and shootings were common and if you didn't have a group to have your back, you were toast. Yet my parents instilled in me the value of education and I applied myself because I believed that if I did study, I could have a better life. So I went to a private high school that I helped my parents pay for by working.

But I believed that with hard work, came a brighter future.

Americans don't believe that their efforts will be rewarded, whether the amount of opportunity has decreased or increased is irrelevant.

All they see is the guy at the top who makes 300k who just shipped half the department to another country, to boost profits. They wont see it as cheaper products that they later buy at Walmart.

Saddled with debt, their hope begins to diminish.

When a group of people feel like what they do, doesn't matter anymore to bring out their own success, then thats the stuff of what revolutions are made off.

But in the end, how do you fix this? I'm not really sure....

Feb 24, 2014

"The memories of a man in his old age
Are the deeds of a man in his prime.
You shuffle in gloom of the sickroom
And talk to yourself as you die.

Life is a short, warm moment
And death is a long cold rest.
You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
Eighty years, with luck, or even less." -Roger Waters

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
May 1, 2014

Generally good post, but I felt you were closely circling some core issues that you didn't actually get to. Maybe because that would've required a whole book, not a post.

The whole motivation thing gets very complicated. A friend of mine is a MAJOR slacker when it comes to work. But in his free time, he is a writer and has been trying to punch out a movie script. I was laughing at him, thinking "yeah right, you can't finish a single college assignment on time and you want to be a movie director or whatever".

Last week, I heard he has already somehow clawed his way to a major mover and shaker within the business. He wasn't lying either, I think he already landed himself some small time work.

That shut me up.

Sorry for the segue.

May 1, 2014

This was said perfectly. Focal point here is people who speak very loud and do very little.

I've honestly never expressed that a bonus is really just a salary, and that probably started as an incentive for people to turnover less since the working conditions are less than optimal in IBD (you will at least stay for your bonus, and it gets harder to leave as you "accrue" more comp).

Point well made, and I agree its easy to point fingers at someone who makes more money than you to and say the system is flawed. Its not perfect, but I work really damn hard for what I make, and I give up a lot for it too.

*Bananas Given*

    • 1
May 2, 2014

I really like your point here.

May 7, 2014

great post

It's all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation. -Gordon Gekko

Jul 10, 2014

Thanks for this, I easily become lazy when I have no pressure at all. Now it is time to get back.

Jul 10, 2014
Marcus_Halberstram:

Anyone with average intelligence and above average ambition can do it.

Agreed. It is sad to see how unambitious some people are. I happen to know some people who almost make you feel guilty for wanting to improve your station in life.

The biggest downer for me is when they try to pull others who are taking risks, working hard, trying something new - and possibly even making some mistakes along the way. To me, all that is par for the course.

Dec 27, 2014

Just so you know I printed out your blurb on the Average Person, framed it, and hung it in my bedroom.

Dec 28, 2014

good post!

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Dec 28, 2014

In my own words, I would say the issue is not with lazy / non ambitious people, but with entitled people who are both lazy and not ambitious. I would tend to agree, but I'm not so sure it's that simple. I know lots of people that made poor choices and then ask why are they unlucky and why are all of these successful people lucky. It frustrates me that they think this way. To this end I completely agree. However, to address the entitlement of the average person may not be completely without reason. Their view may be that the difference in your and their success is for many reasons and not solely on your work ethic and mental ability. This leads to another question(s), is ones success entirely their own doing? How much is due to their own efforts, outside forces, luck? It boils down to a nurture vs nature of sucess argument.

Jan 7, 2015

nice post!

Aug 10, 2015

I'm listening to people

Aug 31, 2015
Dec 27, 2015
Feb 16, 2016

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Jul 5, 2016
Oct 28, 2016
Aug 1, 2018