To All the People Debating Who Has It Harder

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I recently came across a post from a self proclaimed Asian male talking about how all white males have it easier than he does, and that he has to work x2 as hard as he is being constantly compared to against other Asian males who are top performers. AND he doesn't qualify for diversity. I personally don't doubt this is the case, and it is objectively unfair. I acknowledge that. 

And then there was a comment from an individual coming from a virtually unknown 3rd world country that is extremely impoverished, who thinks he qualifies for being a diverse candidate as one of a tens of thousands to attend university from his city (I agree with him wholeheartedly). 

So I wanted to use these two posts to make something clear to everyone on this site; diversity is a box companies will check to show that they care about Corporate Social Responsibility and are progressive, diverse, and open minded. They do not give a flying fuck about who they hire as long as they can tout cultivating a progressive, culturally collaborative environment. They are not looking for actual diversity!  

So fucking accept this, acknowledge your own additional challenges, and move on. How do I say this as a straight white man (spoiler alert, I am a straight white man)? I say this because I face my own set of adversity, one that I cannot talk about in the office ever. I have two chronic illnesses (one is pretty severe, e.g. Epilepsy, M/S) as well as depression, and extreme anxiety. Yet, I will never bring up any of this to my workplace.

In fact, the box on job applications that I am supposed to check only hurts my chances of being hired. I know this because when checking that box I have been immediately dinged for positions I was grossly overqualified for. But wait, many companies have a requirement to hire a percentage of total staff living with a chronic illness or that qualify as disabled? Yes, companies do have these policies, but these mandates are met through the lowest guys on the totem pole (e.g. the cashier or shelf stocker at Walgreens/CVS). These policies hurt you tremendously if you are applying for top positions, as you are a huge liability. Let's say you come on as a VP of Corporate Development, and you approve acquisition of a shitty roll-up. Then when it comes time for your review, you mention on the day the approval was given, you had just been placed on a new medicine, and a side effect was that it impacted your decision making. Its not like the company can fire you without risking serious legal recourse, and now they are in a bad spot. 

As I look to apply to MBA programs, I have been advised not to mention any of my current health issues in my applications. "No one wants a sick and weak person to go through their program" - Recent advice from a Stanford MBA grad who mentors people looking to go through the MBA process. But these are the challenges that make me unique. I have had to jump through additional hurtles since I was six years old, and have accepted that I could die on any given day. But yet it adds no value for the program, and with no disability quota for these elite institutions, they have zero incentive to admit me to their programs. 

I theorize that no one would want me at their company, and promotional opportunities would be far less obtainable had certain elements of my identity become clear for all to see. Any time I make a mistake on a project or a live deal, I never blame it on my health conditions, regardless of how things unfold. There are so many people out there with medical health issues that are severe, that cannot or choose not to disclose them as it could put their career in jeopardy. When it comes time for company-wide layoffs, who is going first, the average healthy employee or the individual with multiple health issues that could potentially affect performance on everything he does.

I say this as a top performer. I have taken full accountability for every single mistake I have ever made since I had my first internship, despite keeping my health issues to myself. I see this as a means of survival, and am not complaining about it. 

I also don't want to use this post as an opportunity to say look how hard I have it, quite the opposite really. Everyone is facing their own set of person challenges, and regardless of race / ethnicity / gender, if you want to succeed bad enough, you will. I know people who had cancer while working in IBD (who went on to beat cancer and have very successful careers). I have spoken with international folks who are alone in the US, with parents who died young and/or were never in the picture. So many people face tremendous challenges, yet still prevail.

Yes, racism is fucked, and yes certain races objectively have it harder recruiting for the most sought after positions or elite academic programs right now. But the world is slow to progress, and indisputable progress is being made. Please show me a statistic saying there are less African Americans or women working in senior positions of high finance now than there were in 2000. I am by no means saying the number is where it ought to be, just trying to speak toward general improvement here. 

It is so frustrating to see all these people debating who has it hardest, when the reality is if you work hard enough and perform well, it will all be water under the bridge. Using your adversity as a crutch for underperforming is such a weak man's mentality, and its so common to see it everywhere now. Own your results. 

Comments (88)

 
  • Intern in PropTrad
Sep 16, 2020 - 11:46am

+sb

really well said.

I concur - We are all in the same game, with different levels. Dealing with the same hell, just different

devils. 

 
Sep 16, 2020 - 12:11pm

I am not really sure what the thesis is for this topic.  I assume that the main point is that everyone has their own unique set of disadvantages and each person who works hard can overcome the obstacles.  While I agree with the main point here, there are factors which are very difficult to overcome.  I agree that most companies do not really give a shit about diversity.  Most companies care about earnings and whoever can contribute to higher sales and earnings at a company will be the one management hires.  With that said, in finance, most senior executives are white and most clients are older white people.   This makes it particularly challenging for a black guy to get hired.  This is the reality on the ground.  The senior executive wants to appease these older clients who probably harbor racist views due to their age and the environment in which they grew up.   The senior executive will likely hire the white guy because he thinks the clients will be most comfortable with him.  Asians also face this form of discrimination but it is probably not as bad as the discrimination faced by black people.   

With that said, the pool of black applicants in finance is kind of small either because they are more interested in other fields such as law or because they assume that getting a job in finance might be difficult.  

 

http://www.series65examtutor.com
 
Sep 16, 2020 - 5:51pm

financeabc

I am not really sure what the thesis is for this topic.  I assume that the main point is that everyone has their own unique set of disadvantages and each person who works hard can overcome the obstacles.  While I agree with the main point here, there are factors which are very difficult to overcome.  I agree that most companies do not really give a shit about diversity.  Most companies care about earnings and whoever can contribute to higher sales and earnings at a company will be the one management hires.  With that said, in finance, most senior executives are white and most clients are older white people.   This makes it particularly challenging for a black guy to get hired.  This is the reality on the ground.  The senior executive wants to appease these older clients who probably harbor racist views due to their age and the environment in which they grew up.   The senior executive will likely hire the white guy because he thinks the clients will be most comfortable with him.  Asians also face this form of discrimination but it is probably not as bad as the discrimination faced by black people.   

With that said, the pool of black applicants in finance is kind of small either because they are more interested in other fields such as law or because they assume that getting a job in finance might be difficult.  

 

I 100% agree with the sentiment you're pointing out. But, I think OP's comment about comparing today's numbers for black leadership/representation or women's to 2000's numbers shows that the progress of diversity initiatives improving who is represented in leadership is slow progress, and it doesn't happen over night that affirmative action or diversity automatically leads to change and should be scrapped today. I think that's what OP is saying.

 
  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Sep 16, 2020 - 6:00pm

Billion with a B Nailed it with the first part. I am not against AA by any means, but I think it should be amended. Mainly, I am looking to emphasize that change is occurring, and the successful minorities leading the large got there through perseverance. AA or no AA, these people wouldve succeeded. Yes AA may have helped them, but I have no doubt the top men and women (especially that are minorities) would have gotten there without it. And that people who claim that the reason they arent successful is because AA didn't work in their favor wouldnt have been all that successful in the first place. Don't get me wrong, I think AA is a noble cause. I think that increasing the percentages of QUALIFIED women and minorities is important, but it needs to be done in the right way. 

 
Sep 18, 2020 - 4:51pm

I do not agree with your take on the main idea of the topic.   The main point is that everyone has their own set of disadvantages.  All you need to to do is man up, work hard and you will succeed, not matter what the circumstances.  His analogy with depression and anxiety misses the mark here.  You can conceal mental illness but it is pretty difficult to conceal one's skin color

http://www.series65examtutor.com
 
  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Sep 16, 2020 - 6:20pm

The key points are that companies will never ever actually seek out diversity unless it is lucrative, mandatory, or they have something to gain from it. Everyone faces a different set of hurdles and if you are attributing your lack of success due to your inability to be lumped in to the AA crowd you were never destined for success. Finally, people with serious chronic illnesses are supposed to be given preferential treatment (comparable to those AA policies), but for any job worth having, it actually works the exact opposite way. At least for diversity applicants there are some people who benefit from the policies in place. 

 
Controversial
  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2020 - 12:22pm

Imagine comparing “anxiety” and “depression“ (which everyone seems to have nowadays) to systemic racism. And I say this as a white male as well. OP is a joke 

 
Sep 16, 2020 - 12:29pm

Clearly you equate "depression" with "feeling sad for a few days" and think the cure is "just man the fuck up". This is why mental illnesses will continue to have a stigma attached to it.

True clinical depression is debilitating and while I haven't personally experienced it, just take a look at some subreddits to hear personal accounts.

 

Array
 
  • Prospect in Other
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:17pm

Completely agree with this point. Anxiety, depression, etc are all things that anyone of any race / ethnicity can have. What is unchangeable the systemic factors of how one looks and therefore how one is perceived by another consciously or subconsciously. Not taking way from others' struggles. But when you account for the fact that everyone can have mental illnesses, the one huge impacting factor of recruiting that is out of your control is being viewed differently as a result of race / ethnicity. Your adversity could have been made much worse if you were black / asian / female. And that's a fact.

 
  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:26pm

1. I said two chronic illnesses coupled with depression and anxiety. So lets assume for a second that I imagined coping with anxiety and depression. Turns out you were right, they both aren't real. I don't wish to divulge which conditions I suffer from I have (they are uncommon, particularly in my field), but I have had multiple near death experiences and know countless people with my conditions that don't hit 30. I've lost track of how many times I've been to the ER. So do I now have your permission to speak to facing adversity? 

2. I never, for a second, compared my health conditions to racism. The only comparison I made is that in both cases discrimination will continue and it is inevitable and unlikely to change in the near future, so it is wise to accept it and move on. Also, I would argue I have lost out on a fair number of opportunities as well due to being honestly naive about sharing certain information. 

3. You missed my primary points entirely. My main point is to think of adversity (in whatever) as another unfair hurdle, and to continue to persevere despite it. Race and ethnicity will never stop a successful person from being successful. Sure, he or she may have to work twice as hard, but discrimination is never the roadblock that stops people permanently in their tracks. 

 

 

 
Sep 18, 2020 - 12:23am

OP, you bring up some important points that definitely are worth discussing, but making a blank statement that "race and ethnicity will never stop a successful person from being successful" shows that you have a very naive/simplistic view of the world. Black people in the ghettos of Baltimore - are they there purely because of class (and not race-related) reasons? So if a math genius who is born in the ghettos doesn't make it to wall street, that's only because of reasons other than race/ethnicity? Systematic racism has roots deeper than you think and the lives of those coming into the world from the ghettos have been determined and mapped out long before they were even born - regardless of how much potential they have to be successful. 

 

 
Sep 18, 2020 - 1:12pm

You don´t know what you´re talking about, buddy. I watched the person I love the most crumble into little nothings due to depression. At the lowest point, there was barely anything left of them, no joy, no laughter, no motivation, no hope, nothing. Depression is like a cancer of the mind, and far stronger people than your sorry little ass have been consumed by it.

 
Sep 16, 2020 - 12:38pm

+sb. Investing all my bananas here. Extremely valuable advice.

Personal experience: I just went through SA recruiting process. I do feel that I am more qualified than other candidates but was not afforded the same opportunities. Because of that, my self-pity compelled me to seek out external validation and tell the world about how hard I've worked for it and how I'm a victim of the system, etc.

I think that's completely normal, it's what the ego does.

Is it in my best long-term interests though? Absolutely not. So I'm trying to be more aware of it.

I've come to the conclusion that there will be winners and losers in every period. 60-80 years ago society favors the white men over women & blacks. You would have given everything to be white. Now we favor the (mostly upper class) women & blacks - suddenly you don't want to be a white dude anymore.

Maybe 10 years from now Asians will have it easy, after the Supreme Court rules against Harvard in the ongoing discrimination case.

The point is: Is it fair? Nah. But can you do anything about it? Also no. Just got to go with the zeitgeist.

Men's biggest flaw is the illusion of control, so we just got to make the best out of the hand we are dealt. Cheers

Array
 
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:31pm

vanilla_twilight_options

 

 

I've come to the conclusion that there will be winners and losers in every period. 60-80 years ago society favors the white men over women & blacks. You would have given everything to be white. Now we favor the (mostly upper class) women & blacks - suddenly you don't want to be a white dude anymore.

This is Bullshit with a capital B.  Yeah, we had racism against black people 60-80 ago and now it is gone, Yay!

 

http://www.series65examtutor.com
 
Sep 16, 2020 - 5:59pm

vanilla_twilight_options

+sb. Investing all my bananas here. Extremely valuable advice.

Personal experience: I just went through SA recruiting process. I do feel that I am more qualified than other candidates but was not afforded the same opportunities. Because of that, my self-pity compelled me to seek out external validation and tell the world about how hard I've worked for it and how I'm a victim of the system, etc.

I think that's completely normal, it's what the ego does.

Is it in my best long-term interests though? Absolutely not. So I'm trying to be more aware of it.

I've come to the conclusion that there will be winners and losers in every period. 60-80 years ago society favors the white men over women & blacks. You would have given everything to be white. Now we favor the (mostly upper class) women & blacks - suddenly you don't want to be a white dude anymore.

Maybe 10 years from now Asians will have it easy, after the Supreme Court rules against Harvard in the ongoing discrimination case.

The point is: Is it fair? Nah. But can you do anything about it? Also no. Just got to go with the zeitgeist.

Men's biggest flaw is the illusion of control, so we just got to make the best out of the hand we are dealt. Cheers

Not sure why I feel this way, but I really see the argument that Asians DON'T have it easy as hard to make. It's no question that Asians work hard but it also seems to be the case that it produces incredible results. Now, with that being said, when it comes to an easy path through top target schools, it may be the case that that is a little harder for the average Asian person, given the typical higher expectations for test scores. But outside of that, there are results that outperform any other category of measurement for success. Numbers of representation in top American schools often times is 4-5x higher than general population. Household income is is about 1.5x national average. Education rates are high. Wealth is pretty good. The one thing that seems to be problematic. The one. Is college admissions, specifically at a handful of schools. Is that really a societal issue? Additionally, statistical measurements aside, the Asian population qualitatively produces better group results through their traditions, which is much better than any other group, and is partially why this exists, which is that they are contextually viewed as "too good". It's a tough one, that I just see very marginal benefit to fighting this fight of college admissions.

 
Sep 17, 2020 - 1:23am

vanilla_twilight_options

+sb. Investing all my bananas here. Extremely valuable advice.

Personal experience: I just went through SA recruiting process. I do feel that I am more qualified than other candidates but was not afforded the same opportunities. Because of that, my self-pity compelled me to seek out external validation and tell the world about how hard I've worked for it and how I'm a victim of the system, etc.

I think that's completely normal, it's what the ego does.

Is it in my best long-term interests though? Absolutely not. So I'm trying to be more aware of it.

I've come to the conclusion that there will be winners and losers in every period. 60-80 years ago society favors the white men over women & blacks. You would have given everything to be white. Now we favor the (mostly upper class) women & blacks - suddenly you don't want to be a white dude anymore.

Maybe 10 years from now Asians will have it easy, after the Supreme Court rules against Harvard in the ongoing discrimination case.

The point is: Is it fair? Nah. But can you do anything about it? Also no. Just got to go with the zeitgeist.

Men's biggest flaw is the illusion of control, so we just got to make the best out of the hand we are dealt. Cheers

What a loser mentality. You can't do anything about it? You can fight. Especially against this evil madness tearing our society apart. 

 
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2020 - 12:51pm

You’re fortunate to have an illness that you can hide and be able to progress in your career. My disability is incredibly obvious so I can’t hide it and constantly get dinged by companies. :(

Array
 
  • Analyst 2 in Consulting
Sep 16, 2020 - 5:37pm

Using the term Fortunate when we are comparing illnesses is not what I would go with, but if you want advice or help create a throwaway and comment on this and Ill DM you and help if I can. I know how hard it can be, and I will try my best if I can. Depending on the disability, it can be really hard to get top FO positions (IB / MC), but doesnt hurt to try

 
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2020 - 5:46pm

I’m past FO roles because I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress and long hours given my health issues. I was actually referring to being repeatedly dinged for MO/BO roles. I just leave the “prospect in IB” tag because that’s who I really was before my conditions escalated.

Array
 
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:02pm

You've basically explained intersectionality. Yes, people can be oppressed in many different ways and sometimes even in multiple ways and I agree with most of what you say. Where I disagree is in your reduction of discussions regarding the struggles of marginalized groups to a suffering Olympics. I think people have a right to call out the ways they're being discriminated in any way they see fit- ultimately,. I think it's good as it makes people think and become more sensitive to other's suffering. 

Array
 
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:28pm

I might get MS for this. I get that we have to just “accept” that this is the way things are, but I really fucking can’t. Maybe this is because I’m younger and more idealistic and less willing to accept the unfair reality of the world. Diversity hiring and AA is truly unjust. All this systemic racism nonsense is bs imo. You mean to tell me that a black guy from a well-to-do family should get an edge over an untouchable from India or a poor Vietnamese immigrant because sYstEmIC RasIcM? The dumbest bull I’ve ever heard. Can someone give me one legitimate example of a disadvantage URMs face solely because of their skin color and not because of other factors (economic status, no value towards education, stupid personal decisions like trying to steal a taser from a cop etc.)? Any disproportionate representation of races within lucrative fields (heck, any field) is largely based on the the cultural background, upbringing, and the personal decisions of individuals. More whites and Asians in finance? Maybe that’s because more of them have been pushed by their parents towards the “path” (Ivy League->???->Goldman Sachs) than any other group. More men in tech? Maybe more of them are interested. If we can look at under representation in lucrative fields and conclude that it’s due to systemic racism or discrimination, then I demand that the NBA and NFL hire Chief Diversity Officers because quite frankly, I’m tired of the sYStemIc rACiSm against whites and Asians in pro sports. And if a team hires too many black athletes, then they are clearly racist and we should sue the fck out of them. Load of bs we have in this country now.

 
Most Helpful
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:55pm

I'll give a legitimate example. Resumes with ethnic hints, such as minority-sounding names (Lakisha, Jamal, etc.) perform better after they're "whitened." 

https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/minorities-who-whiten-job-resumes-get-more-i…

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/298795100_Whitened_Resumes_Rac…

https://cos.gatech.edu/facultyres/Diversity_Studies/Bertrand_LakishaJam…

 

Also, funny you mention the athletic superiority of African Americans. Overall, you have a very uninformed point of view. The NFL is SOLELY because of capability, and it would be great if that were the case for the common job fields as well. But it's not. If you can find me evidence of white people being prevented from joining, even if they have equal capability as someone qualified, I would like to see it. But there's MOUNTAINS of evidence for discrimination against URMs, which is why there's diversity initiative. I can send more research of discrimination, if you like. They were never hard to find, even though you're asking for an example. You never tried to bother looking.

 
  • Prospect in Other
Sep 16, 2020 - 1:39pm

.................................................

 

Array

 
Sep 16, 2020 - 2:24pm

Another unnecessarily long post from a liberal trying to justify why racial discrimination is ok so long that it's against certain groups.  

Look, dear OP, this isn't a debate. You support racial discrimination? You are a racist. End of the story. Your opinion is worthless. 

 
  • Intern in Other
Sep 16, 2020 - 3:08pm

I'm just a bill.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in committee,
But I know I'll be a law someday
At least I hope and pray that I will,
But today I am still just a bill.

 
  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 16, 2020 - 4:52pm

Op has never  been called racial slurs, never had to code switch to conform, never had to feel insecure and question whether his ethnicity or foreign sounding name will be the reason he is dinged in an interview because of the lack of representation of his race in c suite, never had to suppress feelings of anger because of the lack of action taken to dismantle discriminatory or racist "jokes", doesn't deal with ignorant stereotypes but wants to say that he acknowledges it and then chimes in with his own issue that is non racial. Sure you have life concerning health issues and I'm glad you have dealt with them to succeed but you're using that as a comparison to a racial issues that YOU can never experience. A counter argument to a racial issue by saying "yeah I know you suffer but pull your socks up " is as flawed as saying don't be homeless to a homeless person. 

Array
 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 17, 2020 - 5:36pm

 

Op has never  been called racial slurs, never had to code switch to conform, never had to feel insecure and question whether his ethnicity or foreign sounding name will be the reason he is dinged in an interview because of the lack of representation of his race in c suite, never had to suppress feelings of anger because of the lack of action taken to dismantle discriminatory or racist "jokes", doesn't deal with ignorant stereotypes but wants to say that he acknowledges it and then chimes in with his own issue that is non racial. Sure you have life concerning health issues and I'm glad you have dealt with them to succeed but you're using that as a comparison to a racial issues that YOU can never experience. A counter argument to a racial issue by saying "yeah I know you suffer but pull your socks up " is as flawed as saying don't be homeless to a homeless person. 

If people want to claim behaviorals and social skills are merit in a job, why does that not qualify in how Harvard admits its incoming class? Meaning, maybe there is a 10-15% merit in someone who has had to face the challenges you mentioned but it's implicit and doesn't show in test scores or academics. Logically, the concept of higher academic based measurements such as test scores seems simple enough, but there are other factors to consider and that is less contentious when it best suits the individual.

 
  • Prospect in Other
Sep 17, 2020 - 8:09am

Didn’t read 

Array

 
  • VP in S&T - Other
Sep 17, 2020 - 11:19am

+1

Array

 
  • Prospect in Other
Sep 17, 2020 - 11:59pm

Can I ask for some advice. If you disclose a serious medical condition in an application, this might be held against you. If you don’t disclose your condition, and get selected, would you not need to disclose it during pre employment health checks. 

 
  • NA in Other
Sep 18, 2020 - 1:47am

Well said. Still a bit bitter that I was denied from all of HYPSM despite being co-Valedictorian with 14 APs, 4 club presidencies, near perfect SAT score, etc. because I'm upper-income Asian (settled for T10 instead). Nonetheless, will continue to strive towards success

 
Sep 18, 2020 - 11:05am

I understand and agree with a lot of what you are saying. However, an important reality to note is that while certain disabilities might have medications/treatments (you need some sort of money/insurance to acquire these) and you do not have a choice about your illness/disability just like you don't have a choice of what color your skin is when you are born, you can't hide your skin color when you are in contact with people especially now through video. You can choose to not check the box with the disability and try to hide it but you can't hide your skin color. From the start the BIPOC is already disadvantaged because of bias be it subconscious or not.

Not to belittle your illness/disability as I live with similar disabilities, but imagine being in your situation and on top of that being black, hispanic, pacific islander, a female, etc. Often times (in my experience) these individuals have to work 10x harder and are even more qualified at times (especially in IB) than their respective white male counterparts and (in particular to black people) more likely to come from an impoverished situation. Ultimately, yes, the work hard attitude and everything might work but in reality it's more about being at the right place at the right time. Working hard alone won't get you the same places if you aren't white and we have come a long way but there is still lots of room to grow.

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