The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

The Road Taken

So I just read an article about how Professor Yunus just met with Hillary Clinton to discuss healthcare.

Huh?  When did Bangladesh ever make the news for non-cyclones, and what’s even more surprising… Bangladesh and “Green” and healthcare?  You would think that those would never be matched up in any article.  So I haven’t read the article yet, just a sec…

Eh, its just some boring shit about Grameen Bank’s new healthcare initiative and how Bangladeshis are going to be flooded out of a country in a hundred years, but who’s planning to live that long, anyway?

I guess about 250 million people will be.  So, either create the right conditions now, or be met by a quarter billion refugees somewhere around 2110.  And there is the crossroad in which Bangladesh, and to a lesser extent, the world, is at.

A "Dalal"

A "Dalal"

Do we start taking the correct measures — environmentally, politically, socially — starting right now, or do we see the eventual destruction of the country (or the world)?   A country that by sheer force of its population combined with said population’s penchant for dalali, is classified as belonging to the “Next Eleven” economies (although we come in on the bottom, granted).  Economies which have the potential to be the next largest in terms of GDP after the BRIC economies in the coming decades.

There is definitely a large economy here.  A potentially huge economy.  An economy which has only been lightly thumped by the global recession.  An economy, which is in many ways, more “free market” than most Western economies, due to the huge amount of business that is done without paperwork or under the table.  Anything goes, as long as it sells.

And that corruption is one of the quickest roads that could lead us to eventual destruction.  But I don’t think it will (it’ll be another road like rising sea-levels).  Today, a new form of corruption has risen:  “Take a cut, a big one… but try to do something good for the country as well.”  [sarcasm]It warms the heart.[/sarcasm]  These days, unlike during the last decade, it seems that initiatives are being taken which have the country’s long-term benefits in mind.

  • Incentivize industries such as agriculture and power, which will continue to be the engines that drive the economy.
  • Attempt to stomp rampant industrial environmental damage.
  • Plan for the growth of the city and country in 20 years.
  • Diversify the economy away from garments to other export-oriented industries (such as ship-building — who would have thought that Bangladesh would ever have built a ship for a European client?).

I find myself quite pleasantly surprised.  Someone up there holding the strings actually knows his policy shit.  Even if only 20% of what they’re planning comes true, its still quite impressive.  The plans all seem like something I would have heard coming out of the Obama administration if they were as cool as they used to be (or if they didn’t have to wade out of a recession in an international shit-storm).  Someone here who’s in charge has the long-term view in mind.  Coz they realize that without that long-term viewpoint we’re gonna be real f##ked real soon.  And we probably will be but at least we’re trying.

But this post isn’t supposed to be a rant on how great Bangladesh is, its supposed to be a rant about how great I am (DUUHHH)!  I managed to move here at the right time for doing what I want to do — starting a socially-responsible business in renewable energy.  I’ve been talkin’ about that ever since business school (just ask Rainer).  Now its up to me to take what’s mine.  The rightful key to the throne of the world.

As to how that’s going (the renewable energy thing, not the world domination thing), lets just say I’m meeting the right people, and happy with my momentum so far.  But I’ve always been a doer rather than a talker (really?), so lets leave it at that for now.

So here’s to Bangladesh… once “international basket case“, today, international manufacturer of baskets (I’m sure we do, in some tin shack, somewhere).

Filed under: Energy, Politics, Uncategorized, , ,

I Choo-choo-choose You.

Choices are notoriously difficult for Geminis to deal with, and I’m no exception.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

I Choo-Choo-Choose You - Let's Bee Friends

We like everything.  Beef and chicken.  Cats and dogs.  Drinking and smoking.  And that’s just when it comes to eating.   This bon-vivant attitude makes it hard for us to make decisions, which is why I rely either on a chance flip of the coin (literally), or on a last-minute whim.

This is not to say I never plan anything, because that would be ridiculous, and I’d never have gotten this far (all the way to unemployed-MBA status).  However, my choices usually consist of two or more equally-desirable outcomes.  Naturally, this sort of decision-making hasn’t exactly made my life proceed according to the straight and narrow path (according to Walt, the road that IS taken), but when I look back on it, and even while I’m experiencing it, I can rarely say I’m not fuckin’ happy as shit.  The past 3 years (maybe excluding the last) especially, have been phenomenal, and even last year, which was shitty economically, and perhaps career-wise, I can say I was part of a life-changing, extremely rewarding experience with my involvement on the Campaign.

So what made these most recent years so great?

  • Traveling to crazy destinations.
  • Meeting new, motivated, open-minded people.
  • Having the freedom to make my own schedule, to a certain extent.
  • Beaches and sun.

I guess those would be my priorities in trying to plan out my future life-path.  However,  at the same time, I can’t help but feel that its time to pay the piper.  One can’t continue to have fun forever, can one?  Someone convince me I can.

Herein lies my current dilemma.  Whether to re-enter the rat-race, as a city mouse, or whether to country mouse it up (sorry — too many animated mouse movies lately).  Should I attempt to re-join society (defined as “Western professional society”), by working for someone else (most likely an increasingly-evilly perceived multinational), padding my resume further, and generally starting to accumulate wealth and pay off debt (at least that’s the plan), or should I follow my natural inclination and take educated risks to further my personal career-goals (such as attempting to start one of the many daydreamed business ideas I’ve come up with).  I am a natural serial entrepreneur.  I just haven’t done it yet, and I feel like I need to start sooner rather than later.  Even failures are a learning experience and I love failing… I mean learning.

So lets put these choices forward more coherently, ‘coz I’ve been thinking about them a lot.

  1. Stay in DC: Try to put together a career in the government, specifically in the State Department, which is really where I belong.  So, the long-term in this plan is traveling and making my own schedule, although the short-term involves staying here.  I like the glamor associated with being a State Department employee, although in real life its probably not very glamorous at all, and involves narrowly escaping life-threatening situations (which actually is pretty glamorous!).
  2. Move back to NYC: New York is really where my heart is.  Every time I street-view the city on Google maps, I get heart pangs.  I feel like all my friends there are leaving me behind.  I miss them (even tho I know most of them are paired up, and things’d never be the same), and the assorted hotties I might meet but not hook up with.  What I would do here is more questionable — temp?  Contract?  The city’s economy isn’t what it once was.  But neither can I allow the city to leave me behind.  I must remain “cool” well into my late-30s and connected to the only place I’ve ever felt at home in.
  3. Set out for Asia: The scariest of the three, but perhaps the most rewarding.  Yesterday on Fareed Zakaria, they were mentioning that Asia’s economy will be the quickest to rebound.  That sounds like a prime opportunity to get in while the getting is not-so-bad.  Besides, as far as entrepreneurship, I’d have the most chance at success leveraging my knowledge of the society there, as well as my connections.  But the downside is that my resume will suffer.  Risk vs. reward.

So here I am, trying to take a significant step that, right now, seems like it will affect my life in a HUGE way FOREVER.

Forever is a scary word for a Gemini — too much committment involved.

Filed under: Strategy & Planning, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,