TL;DR: who do you think has the toughest job in finance? It can be an individual person past or present, a specific role, or a general section of the industry. I'm Interested in everyone's thoughts.
So I was reading the daily Bloomberg Economics briefing this morning, and the lead story was about the Eurozone missing its most recent growth estimate by a factor of half (growth was a fraction of 1%), and how Mario Draghi will react, and the balancing act he has to play with everything he does and everything he says publicly.
Now, I'm not a global macro guy; I'm an American who hasn't spent much time outside America and doesn't follow European events closely. But from the little bit I do have time to read, I can't imagine how tough Draghi's job must be.
You have Germany apparently having flirted with a recession lately. Italy is in trouble. France is as lethargic as ever but now there's political instability as well. Then you have Brexit on top of all that. You also have big cyclical demographic trends of people having fewer kids (which could turn your economy into the next Japan) and good luck combating those trends with expanded immigration policy because nationalistic sentiments are at their highest levels in decades worldwide. You have a trade war, Trump as POTUS, and other uncertainty elsewhere.
To my understanding, he's presiding over a monetary union without a proper fiscal union. We're nearing the end of a business cycle, but this one is also wrapped into the beginning of the end of a worldwide long-term debt cycle. All these countries/cultures have very different ideas about how much austerity is fair, how much people should work, what the government should and shouldn't provide, etc. And what's good for some countries monetarily at any given time is generally going to be not-so-good (or even downright bad) for others at that same time, depending on how their economies are doing. And this is a continent where a bunch of countries with different cultures are all jammed together and they have been at war with one another for most of human history, save for the last 75 years.
Icing on the cake: if you get it right, it's basically a thankless job and most of the masses don't even know your name, but if you get it wrong, a debt crisis ensues, a war may break out, and a bunch of know-nothing Monday morning quarterbacks will want your head because you didn't do they claim they would have done if they were head of the ECB.
Which brings me to the topic of this thread....what are the toughest jobs in finance? Who has a job that makes yours look simple and relaxing?
And I don't mean "tough" as in it's your first year in the industry and you're pulling all-nighters turning pitchbooks, but you know it will be better in a year or two.
I mean "tough" as in Paul Volcker trying to tame stagflation, Michael Milken fighting to legitimize junk bonds, or Bill Ackman doing quarterly calls with his investors while his Herbalife short bet was getting publicly pummeled on CNBC by Uncle Carl. Or those old school "open outcry" floor traders who were too long stocks on Black Monday in 1987 and walked into a bloodbath that ruined their careers in a matter of hours.
Or, without naming individual people and events, what are some specific roles, groups, specialities, etc. within the finance industry that you think are particularly tough?
Nominees can come from any era of Wall Street and any subsector of the industry. Interested to see everyone's responses.
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