The Sapient Ape

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

No Bones About Bonuses

So I noticed a recent divergence of viewpoints between a close friend of mine who’s been working in banking since 2008, and myself, who’s been working in, well…

Yeah.  That.

This difference came to my attention when I noticed his FB status retorting angrily on the fact that the media had scapegoated the AIG execs for taking their substantial bonuses after being bailed out.

cute? yes.  disturbing?  yes.  but also LOADED!

cute? yes. disturbing? yes. but also LOADED!

And here I am, thinkin’, “man I hate those damn rich fat cats who don’t care for us common folk,” bla bla bla.  “How dare they take that tax money that I haven’t been paying for the last 3 years — my hard-unearned tax money that I worked so unhard for.”

Good ol’ #####, stander-upper for the common man, the proletariate lover, good ol’ #####.

And then it struck me — I’m standing up for ’em coz I AM ONE OF THEM.  I AIN’T GOT NO CASH AND NO ASSETS.  I ain’t got shit on me but a half-decent brain, a good amount of heart, and even more debt.  Ladies?  Anyone?  Going twice…

I wonder if this is how my parents started off being hippies… oh noooz I’m reliving their lives!!!

This MBA is starting to look like a worse and worse idea.  I’m gonna be paying those damn loans off for a long, long time unless I kill myself.  Then my mom gets to pay coz she cosigned.  Hah!  Vengeance from beyond the grave!

I think a sigh is in order here.  Sigh.

K I’ve digressed into self-pity interspersed with moments of self-loathing, as well as a touch of general hatred (slowly seething) for all humanity.

So yea, if things had gone differently, would I be the one who would feel victimized for being blamed for hoarding taxpayer money?  Could I be that haughty millionaire, squinting at the rabble through my monocle, while checking the hour on my gold pocket watch, as the world came crashing down around my gold Rolls?  That’s an interesting question.  I always consider myself highly adaptable mentally — so maybe instead of adapting to my current low-brow everyman syndrome, my mental state of being would be adapted to that fantastical state of being where I might have been a New York banker, complete with bad attitude, loathing for everyone else, M5 and hot blonde girlfriend… ‘cept I prefer brunettes.  No gentleman is he, that sitteth here.

Is that really the measure of a man — a car and a girl?   Ummm, yeah pretty much.  Maybe what video game systems he has as well.

A visual representation of my worldly assets.

A visual representation of my worldly assets.

Off-topic once again — so yeah, I could probably see myself in my friend’s shoes, and even thinking along the same lines as my friend.  The old capitalistic “It’s mine and I worked hard for it” line was one that I professed to quite strongly way back when (only a freakin’ year ago?!?!  It feels like a serious eternity).  And still do.  I believe very much in the right of an individual to amass as much private wealth as he can.  Amass as much wealth as he can, yes.  But doesn’t that give one a responsibility to the rest of society to do something good and worthwhile — or at least to help others get the same opportunities?

I guess the table I now sit at is so much lower down than that of those AIG execs, that I’d like to think that had I been in their position, I might have actually felt guilty about taking that money, as the world came crashing down.  Or at least been scared of getting caught.

Or I’d like to think that I would feel the same way as I do now even if I sat at the big-papa table, because the values that my “hippy” parents have instilled in me aren’t socialist or capitalist, but… human.

I’d like to think that, anyway.

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Filed under: Personal, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From Social Media Whore to Cyborg

My new Safari 4 Homepage -- too much information?  It saves all my top sites and presents them in this view

My new Safari 4 Homepage -- too much information? It saves all my top sites and presents them in this view

So tonight I was watching the President’s speech to Congress and twittering at the same time, and I was asked if I was interested in a job opportunity based on my political commentary.   I was never much of a twitterer — I only have like 20 people following me, and although I’ve been a member for over a year, I never really used it much until very recently.  I couldn’t figure out what it was for.  How does someone use it?  What does it do?

I’ve been figuring it out slowly.  I’m not going to get too into it, but I think its greatest application is to be able to tell, through keyword searches, what themes and topics humanity (albeit a small percentage of humanity, and perhaps not representative of the whole) is thinking about at that moment (singularity jeebies anyone?).  One of the most twitted words during the President’s speech tonight was “quitter“.

A good secondary application is to stalk celebrities.  I’m now following the real shaq, thanks to someone’s facebook status update.  As of this evening I’m also following (twitterspeak for stalk) Steve Nash and Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY).

The scary thing is that this all really happened in the last few months.  All except for venerable facebook, which is kinda the friendster of modern social networking (that’s why I’m hardly ever on it anymore — check my wall).  First it was google reader.  Then slowly I started with the sharing of the links, the following sites like digg and reddit, then the blog, and now twittering.  Slowly I feel like I’m being inundated with so much information, but so far, my brain hasn’t exploded.  In fact I’m feeling quite intelligent — almost like I took a great leap forward in communication in the past few weeks.  Or in methods of communication.

But when does communication become information inundation?  I feel like I’m going faster and faster… well not that I’m going faster and faster, but that communication is getting quicker and quicker.  Yesterday I was ironing a shirt, and I almost decided to look up the proper way to do it on the internet.  Ten years ago that would have been ridiculous.  Ten years from now, I might be able to do that without dropping the iron.  Ten years after that, I might be able to learn how to do it instantaneously.  Some stranger posted a link on the singularity in my comments and I read it, now I feel like I”m living it.  And embracing it.

I’m a firm believer in the theory that exercising your brain and using for creative problem solving can only improve its elasticity and make it last longer, and at my advanced age thats a big plus.  Turning into a robot… we’ll worry about that later.

Filed under: Networking, Social Media, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,