Has COVID changed your way of thinking?

Has COVID changed your outlook or goals? I'm not sure if it's the WFH or COVID itself but I've found myself questioning whether I want to work 80 hours a week and be limited to certain cities. I think about where I'd really like to live and enjoy my life. It's also made me think a lot about starting a business and working for myself.

 

We are in the MIDDLE of a fucking Pandemic! Mask up! You are going to a crowded bar? Yikes!! It's not worth the risk. Stay safe. I get a vaccine to keep people like you safe. Just two more weeks. Trust the science!

 

The ratio is inspiring tbh. 6 months ago I'd have got 60-40.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.
 

Lmao sounds about right.

"Let them riot, it's for a good cause so who cares about regular people and property owners" 

"Lockdowns for years guys, it's the right thing to do"

"Eliminate the filibuster and pack the court with new justices because things aren't going our way for once in the past 5 decades, waaaahhhhh"

 

Tbh has me considering a career switch to tech or big data.. only a matter of time before the finance boomer bosses have us back in office 5 days a week

At this point in my life I just want a job that allows me to work remote, and have my job “done for the day” when I leave.. not having to constantly check emails after work and always worrying about live deal fire drills that could’ve been avoided if people weren’t idiots 

 

I work in AM, so not IBD, I was in an internal call the other day and my firm are planning to pay 60% of the living costs to have our junior employees close to the office to come in 3-5 days a week, emails went out November and most are up for it. I think my firm just really values in-person collaboration however. I'm kind of indifferent however I must say working from home gets incredibly incredibly lonely.

 

I think Omicron will effectively crush this. Several of the banks committed to permanent WFH flexibility of at least a hybrid model...it will become a massive competitive disadvantage for JPM / GS over time if they forced in-person 5 days a week

I know of several AM shops that actually are now permanently WFH...could never have imagined this before. Definitely a huge net positive as I'm questioning if I want to stay in the city I am LT vs going back to my home city. Top talent wants to work flexibly from anywhere and the floodgates are now open. RIP to those who don't adapt 

 

IMO Hybrid and growth of WFH was inevitable, but COVID brought this forward at LEAST 10, maybe 20 years. Like you said, it's now a competitive disadvantage to do 5 days in.

As someone somewhat early in career, it's incredible that 5 days a week in office will likely be a thing of the past

 

Our society is completely fucked. It’s like being in a real life version of the movie “they live” except you don’t need special glasses. 

 
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This 100%. These two years have taught me to discern opinions from facts. It’s a very liberating feeling to cut through BS at a mindset level.

 

Yeah, a few things.

1) I don't know what to believe in the media anymore. Take vaccines, for example. Both anti- and pro-Covid-19 vaccine persons have spread so much misinformation that it's extremely difficult to decipher truth from fact. I always kind of believed that was true with mainstream media, but the last 2 years have opened my eyes that all media is prone to deception and half-truths. I guess I had rose-colored glasses on.

2) With respect to work, I was definitely in the camp that office worker production would be far worse teleworking than on-site. Turns out, production has been just fine. I REALLY don't see the point in full-time in-office for many (most?) office workers. That said, it's sad because the workplace used to be one of the top places people would meet their SOs. My parents, for example, met at work. The telework trend really does feed into the destructive, corrosive Tinder-style dating atmosphere.

3) For me personally, I moved out of my long-term home to a really nice, historic town an hour or so away and I've started collecting 19th century real estate while I telework. In fact, there's a good chance I'm going to start a job next month at an office 5 minute walk from my townhouse with a 20% pay increase. Covid has exacerbated the divide between the haves and have-nots. 

4) The Western democracies are full of petty tyrants who enjoy wielding arbitrary power over people--and that doesn't just include elected officials. That includes career bureaucrats, voters, and individuals. The past 2 years have been illuminating and a reminder of why the American founding fathers were so adamant that democratic processes were necessary evils that must be limited to the greatest extent possible.   

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Actually, I think for the most part, America's checks and balances held up fairly well. Federalism allowed for some states and localities to act like deranged lunatics while others didn't. Courts prevented some of the worst abuses, though they definitely failed early on. The American system didn't have protesters beaten in the streets and people jailed arbitrarily as in some other places.

My point is, the last 2 years were illuminating and provide greater insight into the brilliance of those who formed our system. 

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Buddy in office relationships were dead well before the COVID pandemic. MeToo era and sexual harassment fears are to thank for that (rightly or wrongly). The trend of people meeting SOs in the office and views on poentially meeting a partner there have been declining for years leading up to 2020

 

On your second point, definitely great for your parents that they met in the office but it would be pretty brutal in today's #metoo culture. Obviously everyone should be respectful and no one should tolerate Weinstein shit, but I'm not sure I'd even be comfortable asking out a girl from work. If they slightly spin it and report to HR, you as a dude are f*cked. HR will never take your side and your career there may be finished. Even if you survive, there will be those who will always look at you as if you did something wrong. 

100% agree with you on your point on Tinder. I think to really successfully date in the modern era, you should try to meet people offline vs online for exactly this purpose. Also makes you get out of the house and develop hobbies. Some options include: church / mosque / etc, rec sports leagues (kickball is a big one), friends of friends, meetups, etc. I'm actually Indian btw, my parents met via arranged marriage. While I still could not stomach doing the same (meeting once before getting married), I'm definitely open to the modern version of it (parents connect you, you guys date for a year to see if you're compatible and if so get married afterwards). Used to be vehemently against this back when I was younger but the older I get and the worse dating gets (i.e. apps) I've come to realize that you've got to aggressively take control of your life and run towards your happiness. I'll probably still use 1-2 apps but nice to know there's another option to explore if needed, sadly not an available route for most young men in America. 

Also I'd asked you about effects of porn in another thread -- I could not agree with you more. Most people will fail in trying to quit but I do know a few that have made it out and are in much happier relationships. It's an addiction no doubt, there are some who are strong enough to break it if they can produce a very good reason & stick with it. That said, it's not ok that this is even an issue men should have to deal with. We are being psychologically manipulated to do it & our minds think they've won the evolutionary lottery seeing all these porn stars when it fact we are only damaging ourselves. My rec is jerk off if you need to, but without porn. Our ancestors for hundreds of generations did jerk off, just not with porn suggesting that porn is the problem vs. masturbation (assuming in moderation, maybe 1-2x per week or less).

 

I may look back on this time period as one of the best things that's ever happened to me. it's sad that so many died, but the combination of WFH and other things allowed me some tremendous personal growth. so here's some reflections from the past 2y, still a work in progress

  1. I've gotten incredibly efficient. taking away commute time, office banter, etc., has led me to 2 record years professionally and have spent less time doing bullshit. I think this was always going to happen as I got older, but covid accelerated it bigtime. this has taught me that most of what we deem as important isn't really important and maybe I've been judging the french poorly all these years for only working 35 hours. there truly is more to life and the clients don't suffer
  2. my decision making has gotten better. I've completely stopped social media, never watch the news (though I do miss caroline hyde and maria tadeo), only get news via reading and occasional podcasts (apart from local, though the traffic on my local interstate or a cafe that got flooded has little to do with markets). this reaffirmed my belief that there's no upside to being a news junkie. I still can keep up with politics and markets, but one does not need as much info about current events to have an educated opinion nor make good decisions. in fact, information saturation is counterintuitive in my opinion
  3. I finally got fluent in my 2nd language and started my 3rd. this was something that I'd always wanted to do, but never made the time for and for years I had great excuses. with those excuses removed, it was the kick in the pants I needed to get it done. this reminded me that all good things come through struggle and how fun it is to achieve something new (I'd been in a bit of a rut, not really challenged recently until this)
  4. I spent more time with my wife than I ever have, reminding me that it really is all about the relationships you have. our marriage has never been stronger, and I'll gladly take less financial upside to keep the extra time at home with her if I ever have to do that tradeoff.
  5. in the same vein as #4, I've thought a lot about the protestant work ethic and whether or not hard work in perpetuity is really a good thing, virtuous, or even necessary. I'd thought for years that I'll be working 60 hours a week all the way into my late 30's so that I can make significantly more money earlier than my peers, have a shitload of clients, win awards, and all of that. I've noticed a lot of miserable millionaires the past 2 years, and people who didn't take the extra time to enjoy with their spouses but instead only focused on the business (even when there's no going concern issues, it's thriving), and I think that's a symptom of a cultural problem, both in the protestant west as well as finance, so I'm questioning that. why should I grow my practice in perpetuity? do I really need to double our business in 5 years? or should we slow down the growth rate and just take really really really good care of what we have, grow incrementally, and say "fuck it" to getting on the Barron's list? I still love the thrill of the hunt, but I'm now leaning towards the belief that becoming a gigantic team/producer is less desirable than working less. I've got plenty of pursuits I could attend to instead of focusing solely on growth just because that's what the analyst community expects
  6. covid affirmed many of my stoic beliefs about death. seeing so many people afraid of the unknown and their own mortality was eye opening, and it made me re-read many of those texts to affirm what I'd long thought and think about daily. some day I will die, and there's very little control I have over that apart from not wrestling alligators, free solo rock climbing, and driving drunk without a seatbelt (among others), and therefore there's very little reason for me to worry about the threat of the unknown. I can prepare my body and mind as best I can, but at some point I must surrender to the fact that I do not have control over it all. I still don't fear death (and don't think I'm some sadist who prays for it), and I'm damn sure not going to stop living my life because the rest of the world is scared to shit

so yes, covid did change my way of thinking a bit, I think for the positive mostly, and I'm excited to see what the future holds 

edit: interesting enough, I had covid when I wrote this, thought it was a cold initially because of a false negative, had 2 positive tests after writing this and my having the disease doesn't change one iota of this. for me, it was a cold, I've had sinus infections and bronchitis that were far worse. not a big deal at all for me

 
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and that's part of the ambivalence I'm feeling. it's inarguable that hard work has accomplished so much for society and the world and I think that everyone should be free to work as hard as they want to. my question is more in the vein of "is this really the only way?" and "is this right for me?"

admittedly, it's still an unanswered question, but I hadn't ever asked it pre-covid

 

The issue with the Protestant work ethic isn't that hard work isn't beneficial, it's the theological underpinnings that say working hard is a sign that you are part of the Elect. Tying hard work to self-worth, religious or otherwise, is a dangerous precedent because hard work in and of itself doesn't mean anything. You can work extremely hard and be successful, and you can toil endlessly and be stuck in the same place; there are all sorts of factors outside of your control that dictate the outcomes of any given effort. Effort shouldn't be valorized for its own sake but for what comes out of it, working 80 hours a week for work that could have been done in 50 or 40 isn't inherently better. 

 
thebrofessor
  1. I've gotten incredibly efficient. taking away commute time, office banter, etc., has led me to 2 record years professionally and have spent less time doing bullshit.

Yeah, the people I know who were happy and successful pre-pandemic are absolutely crushing it now, and everyone else is getting left behind.

As a chronic procrastinator and someone who hates their job, this legitimately scares me, because there's nowhere for me to hide - I'm expected to be intensely focused all day.

This "accelerating hyper-specialization" trend is worrying at a societal level as well, for two reasons:

  • The continued erosion of the middle class; do we start seeing civil unrest once people realize there are no more ladders left to climb?
  • The more specialized the skill, the easier it is for a computer to emulate; what happens when high skill knowledge jobs get replaced by a neural net?

"May you live in interesting times" is actually a curse...

 

Naval had a great quote something along the lines of “the future of workers will be highly technical, highly interpersonal, and or highly creative”. I think this trend is growing and I really don’t see a way to stop it. 
 

I procrastinate a lot too, but my friend got me into listening to Tim Ferris and there’s lots of content about it. You don’t need to be hyper productive 24/7 either. 

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
 

You might have a 7 figure salary, but if your skillset doesn't include waging guerrilla in warfare, you are a cowardly slave like everyone else

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.
 

Masks, endless injections, no gym, gender pronouns, bugs as food, CRT education, empty shelves, insane energy prices. These are just some of the deranged changes to our lives that have been shoved down our throats in just 2 years.

Anyone claiming 4 years ago that this was going to happen would have been laughed at as an equivalent to Alex Jones. I'm a very cynical person and that might be my own personal flaw, but is money worth this shit? How much is your compliance to increasingly dictatorial demands over your personal life worth? When enough is enough?

I fucking hate the future.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.
 

Even DEVGRU runs into issues with one determined person with a PKM. All this ninja BS is a lie. Sure, some tactics are more effective. But it’s not some super clean CQB low ready vs high ready precision stuff. So if you think everyone needs to train in small unit tactics, that’s a bad take imo. 
 

The US military, which is the most powerful at the moment, relies mostly on our technology (owning the night), air superiority, and incredible logistics. 
 

here’s an interesting podcast: 

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
 

I'm a simple guy who looks at results, like Afghanistan. Only those who can replicate what Talibans did can consider himself a free man.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.
 

I am not liberal by any means (my biggest flaw being my elitism), but I don't really get this talk of detesting liberals. I'd much prefer their exaggerated rhetoric and performative actions over a strict anti-science stance by most conservatives. That being said, I understand that most of WSO's users are dumb as hell* so I understand why most liberals and conservatives on this website can only see in black or white views.

Biggest takeaway from COVID is how important time is. You really don't get that back. The last two years, I have not been able to see my grandparents due to COVID and now they're dead. Couldn't hug them. Couldn't say goodbye to them. Couldn't even go to the funeral. I really fucking hated myself for a bit. I'm planning on leaving finance soon - I want a WLB and spend more time with my parents.

 
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"I understand that most of WSO's users don't come from top colleges so I understand why most liberals and conservatives on this website can only see in black or white views."

Congratulations on putting forth the most insanely idiotic comment of the year on 12/27. Nice buzzer beater. 

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Biggest takeaway from COVID is how important time is. You really don't get that back. The last two years, I have not been able to see my grandparents due to COVID and now they're dead. Couldn't hug them. Couldn't say goodbye to them. Couldn't even go to the funeral. I really fucking hated myself for a bit. I'm planning on leaving finance soon 

I am not liberal by any means (my biggest flaw being my elitism), but I don't really get this talk of detesting liberals. I'd much prefer their exaggerated rhetoric and performative actions 

Was following the exaggerated rhetoric worth it? You'll never see your grandparents again. You could have worn an N95 and seen your grandparents in-person had this been a red state. You could have gone to funeral had it been a red state.  

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No, but they live in another country that was going through one of the worst outbreaks, so I could not get into the country despite their conservative government at that moment and they still require 10 days quarantine when you enter now. Trust me, my family tried everything from begging to bribing but nothing worked.

Honestly, compared to other countries, our lockdown was relatively lax.

 

Wtf is an “anti-science stance.” COVID has made the word “science” very triggering to me.

science and policy are completely different beasts and only those with agendas care to mix / co-opt the two. Seriously, sciencists can tell you a fact like “eating more calories than you burn creates weight gain and risk factors.” Policy can say “we’re banning sugary drinks to prevent such impacts.” If I disagree with the latter I am not “anti-science,” I am pro liberty. Your take is reductionist AF and shows deep lack of critical thinking and nuance which is unfortunately all too common. Also “science” isn’t a thing. There are scientists and fields they study but the monolithic view of science again is naive and dumb 

 

You're an idiot if you haven't realized how much liberalism has decayed in the past 2-4yrs. I would have considered myself a liberal 5+yrs ago but now there isn't even a speck of intelligence in the measures they are trying to put forth. Liberals have completely ignored financial incentives and think they don't matter anymore ("Why not raise marginal tax rates to 70-80%? Why not raise cap gains to marginal tax rates? Why not eliminate the filibuster and increase the number of justices to pack the court, surely that would't hurt our democracy?")

Alt right has always been dumb (not the right, the alt right), but at least transparent. Liberals these days try to disguise everything they do and pretend they're on your side while causing this country to go to sh*t. 

 

Even this website has had a marked shift towards thinking about geographies post COVID that was virtually non-existent before COVID. 

Pre-COVID it used to be NYC/LA (and maybe CHI as T2) and that was it for the places to be. Sure there were heavy taxes, sure the rents were high but these places were the centers of finance, arts, and culture, and the idea of living somewhere else would have been laughed out of the room on this forum.

Post-COVID the number of threads talking about LCOL cities and general COL have become a new facet of this forum that didn't exist before. The lockdowns, reduced capacity, mandates, rising crime + homelessness (don't cite me 1970s figu