Turned down a spot on Forbes list, may turn down my girlfriend next

Was unknowingly nominated and selected to be on a Forbes list this year (think 30 under 30 or 40 under 40). Turned it down because I feel it's a jinx trap; most people that make those lists fizzle out. You become a target for envious people to pray for your downfall. Sure, some people continue to progress, but most have peaked.

Selection criteria is too vague/subjective and the whole thing feels superficial. There were a lot more people deserving than me that didn't even get nominated. Actually, I think such "accolades" are distractions because you (falsely) start to believe you're ahead of the game and no one likes a humblebragger either. 

My girlfriend thinks I'm crazy for saying "no". Apparently it could've "lead to more opportunities from all the recognition". Don't get me wrong, I like attention as much as the next prestige whore, but I'm also kind of shy, especially when getting smoke blown up my ass. From personal experience, being mysterious has helped me as much as being attention seeking. 

When I was younger, I was flabbergasted to learn that my one of my boss's boss's boss was an "unofficial" billionaire. Guy would literally donate tens of millions dollars multiple times a year, including to his non-target college in the middle of nowhere. These places allegedly had no idea where the money was coming from, however since I was in the finance department, I could see trail clearly.

While I hardly dealt with this generous donor, to this day, I still cannot understand how a person can avoid the temptation of showing off, bragging and stroking one's own ego like that guy. But I try my best to emulate him daily (though I do hate when people assume I'm unsuccessful or a bum when they see my beat up car, small house or my wired earpods). Reality is, I get way more happiness out of being financially free/stress free and spend immensely on my baseball card collection.

Thinking about dumping my girlfriend since she's too much into appearances, optics and keeping up with the Joneses. Don't need that stress in married life. Is it better stay humble/modest/low-key or should you capitalize/take advantage of recognition? Please share thoughts- thanks.

Comments (29)

ADTIBE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is that what everything is to you..."a thinly veiled humble brag"?

You were probably on one of these lists.

EDIT: Tried posting anon, but can't in the off-topic forum (even though this whole thing is anon). Not sure what the appeal is to brag to a bunch of strangers that I don't know or who don't know me (IRL).

UCSDThrowaway, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is that what everything is to you..."a thinly veiled humble brag"?

You were probably on one of these lists.

I don't even know how to reply to this lol, you're all over the place. Mad cuz on Forbes list, then asking whether to dump girlfriend (who appears to have had a normal reaction to your accomplishment)

Anyways… 🙄

  • 4
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rf949, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hah that was my exact thought

kindheartedconsultant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Is this a thinly veiled humble brag post 

One of the few times I agree with you

Remember, always be kind-hearted.
Most Helpful
DifferentKindaHigh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think if you inadvertently gain recognition for generosity or "acts of kindness," I think accepting some sort of recognition at that point is totally fine, just shouldn't be expecting anything to come from it. 

Great example I love mentioning is a footballer, Warrick Dunn - this dude had his mom killed when he was growing up, raised his siblings while playing for FSU, and has continued to give back to local communities that started his rookie season. He began to help low-income, single parents obtain stable housing, something he had never really experienced growing up. ESPN did a 30-for-30 on him, and he deserves all the praise for the philanthropy he's done. I don't think he went out doing this charity work because he thought he'd get press coverage for it, rather he mentioned the feeling it gave him seeing the emotions flow from the people he helped.

I also know people tend to scoff at those YouTubers and social media videos of donating things for likes, but at the end of the day, hopefully they're actually making an impact on those on the receiving end even if it's for additional impressions.

I do agree living within reason and reaching out with excess to help those in need deserves some kind of praise, because there's not enough of that going around in today's society. I also think being appreciative of the hard work (and albeit lots of luck) that come with being in our profession is totally fine - I'll be the first to admit I can be a bit excessive with the amount I never thought I'd be earning (travel, gifts, personal hobbies) - mainly trying to say that even small amounts can add up. I know most firms do matching campaigns and I try to do those whenever possible (minimum for now,) but as I move up I would hope that'll increase a bit.

bankinthetank, what's your opinion? Comment below:

'This dude had his mom killed'

Scared me over there chief.

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Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

yeah seriously, hope he doesn't write things for work also

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

Sequoia, what's your opinion? Comment below:

There's a middle ground on expenses man. No need to get yourself a BMW, but just get a new VW Jetta / Passat, get the damn wireless earpods, and get a mid-sized house. You're still being financially savvy but this way people don't think you're a complete loser. Moderation is key (and this is probably the low end of moderation given what you're making)

  • 1
ADTIBE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'm genuinely happy though, not like I'm torturing myself or anything. I used to own multiple exotic cars, but I've adopted the minimalist lifestyle over the past few years. Let me tell you that the lack of clutter has had an unbelievably positive impact on mental/physical/spiritual well-being. Can't really explain, one must experience it first-hand to truly understand. You're literally advising upgrading just so other people judge me differently?

When it comes to wining and dining, I spoil myself, family and especially girlfriend. And I like that I never have to charge my (wired) earpods. 

Trust me, I know appearances matter (which people use to form opinions, judgements and impressions), but I hate that comes down to EMOTION vs LOGIC. 

monkey0114, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agree would say its worth spending money to make yourself feel comfortable because that is gonna make you happier and more likely to perform better.

FinanceBrah, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personally I wouldn't take the award because I dislike awards in general.

However, I can see why your girlfriend has a point. This might not seem relevant but I'm currently looking at the difficulty of becoming an emerging manager and personal branding is a notable part of raising a fund successfully. I may have to delay fund formation due to various personal factors. If you got nominated there is no shame in accepting or rejecting the award.

DisgruntledAppraiser, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First of all, congratulations. I'd say the nomination alone is worth as much or more than the award. Appreciate it for what it's worth (it's a good sign to get recognized for your achievements thus far and you should feel honored) and then forget about it. Unless you are ready to retire (which it sounds like you aren't) then you still have work to do and it sounds like the worst thing you could do is start getting cocky and change your path. 

If someone only wants to work with you or have you work for them because of this list and not your other qualities, do you really want to be involved with them?  I think your initial reaction about this was right and you should stick to it. 

thebrofessor, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've been in barron's/forbes/FT, it doesn't lead to shit

your boss's boss's boss is doing it the right way. donate quietly, this "I'll donate 99% when I die so people think I'm virtuous" is disgusting. charities need money now fuckwad

on the beat up car etc., don't worry about it bro. I get this too, even on WSO people tell me I should spend more on a house/car/viagra because I can afford it. I say bullshit. if it's important to you, spend money on it, but if not, don't. if you want a rebuttal to the "if you're doing so well why don't you have a nicer car/house/etc.?" just say what you do choose to spend your money on like you're trying to retire early, you spent a lot on travel this year, or you killed somebody so need to keep a low profile and they better watch their fuggin mouth. do you bro

only exception I make is clothes. do not look like a bum. don't need to spend $5k on every suit, but you need to look nice. you can be cheap, but no excuses for being sloppy. 

ADTIBE, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey man, I'm frugal, not cheap! 

Totally agree, people need money NOW, not just when you're dead (and as a billionaire, they'll probably live longer than average). And I don't trust that the "pledges" don't come with fine print or strings attached. 

Can't donate as much as the big boys, but when I give an outsized tip to a college restaurant worker or something, it feels really good inside, not gonna lie! Is that my way of being selfish? You decide, but I'm sure the recipients don't mind/care.

monkey0114, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Out of curiosity what did you do/accomplish to be nominated for that (can be vague if u want)

hananburgh, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good idea! Will try this one (and with GF too haha)

Portnoy's Complaint, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I think you're crazy for saying no  

I understand that on the surface it's completely a brag - but to my knowledge, no one is making you write a LinkedIn post about it, you can just be on the list. 

From a career perspective, it's a free signal to the compensation committee and and lateral recruiters that you're the real deal - why the heck would you say no to that? Like, when you're on the screen and the round table is discussing whether to bonus you that extra $20k, do you REALLY think being on that list isn't going to come up? Do you REALLY think your IB is not going to trumpet that you're 30 under 30 in pitches, where appropriate? It's a way to have someone circle you name on the list of 100 other names. As far as lateralling, sure, maybe you're happy right now, but people get back stabbed and screwed all the time. To have something like that on your resume means that you, at least, will always get a look. It's a back pocket parachute. 

So idk why you made this post - but since you asked, my personal opinion was this was a mistake in the name of stoicism.  


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benshapiro, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You're a legend for this. It's way more impressive to turn a feet like this down than to bask in the glory and have people suck you off. The evil eye is real, avoiding envy and not planting seeds of jealousy is super important. Wishing you all the best.

On another note, I'm Judaism (my religion) the most commendable way to donate money is anonymously. Big respect to your boss.

Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I matched with a girl on hinge recently that was forbes, but do they do it at a regional level? She's on a EMEA list. Haven't met her yet but am curious what these people are like in real life.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

H110, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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SafariJoe, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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SafariJoe, wins again!
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