Minyan Mailbag - Trading Humanity
Best of luck!
Note: Our goal in Minyanville is to remove intimidation from the financial markets and encourage an interactive dialogue among the Minyanship. We share this next column with that very intent.
I had been an enthusiastic reader of yours since the 2000/2001 Realmoney days and "found" you again recently through Minyanville. I have always found your commentary filled with a sense of profound humaneness, in addition to the insight and wit. You are really quite different from most other financial writers I have read.
My question to you is: How do you do this, especially in the face of a cut-throat environment where everything is reduced and reducible to numbers and P&L?
I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in counseling (I love working with kids) and already have a graduate degree in electrical engineering. Now my ADHD mind is investigating a detour into the financial industry, but I have this persistent fear that I would somehow "lose myself" in that environment (let's ignore the fact that it takes a lifetime to "find oneself"!) therefore my question to you.
Minyan Paul from San Francisco
Thanks kindly for the snaps--we try to sprinkle "life" in the 'Ville as it's important to balance the flickering ticks with the important stuff (and no, I don't always practice what I preach!).
Wall Street has always been about the bottom line but we each map our own parameters. Yes, we are measured by numbers but no, that need not define us. I've watched money do bad things to good people and ruin as many lives as it has helped. I've said it before and it bears repeating--some of the wealthiest folks I know don't have two dimes to rub together while some of the richest remain bitter critters to this day.
If you want my honest vibe, I think Wall Street is a shrinking pie and vicious circle. That doesn't mean there aren't opportunities but the earnings curve will continue to steepen. With that said, the capital markets won't go away and there will always be a place for hard and disciplined workers (in any industry). Whether or not you find (or lose) yourself should be independent of your career choice. From the tenor of your note, I get the sense that won't be an issue for you.
Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at email@example.com.
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