I agree with J that life is made up of the moments that we have experienced.
Take my weekend for example: I had too much fun this weekend, despite knowing that I needed to do work for the major project that I staffed up on last week, so when sitting here on Sunday night, pressing F9 and then waiting 10 minutes for the workbook to calc, I naturally gravitate towards blogging whilst I still retain some of those moments in my mind, naturally.
One brief moment of genius that happened earlier this week during an otherwise bad interview session for a job that I didn’t really want was my answer to an interesting question: “Tell me one defining story in your life that makes up the essence of your character.” Like a good interview answers, I knew immediately the morale that I wanted to share, but it was just a matter of making up a story on the fly to fit my pre-determined punchline. (You have my permission to jot that method down for your future interviews.)
I settled on telling the story about my trip back to my birth city in middle school (aka the greatest city in the world) – the first time I’d seen my real home since I moved away. Even though I needed a manual (aka my grandpa’s whispering in my ear) to determine how each of my newly re-discovered family members were related to me, the blood flowing through our veins meant that most interactions felt like we had never skipped a beat.
That’s when I knew that loyalty was the rock upon which I would build my character as I grew up. By extension – I knew that family would be the most important thing in my life even as friends and girlfriends came and went.
How does this relate to a Wall Street job in which your worth is often determined by how much other firms want to poach you? Well, loyalty cuts both ways – you should be extremely selfless with the ones who are loyal to you and just as selfish with the ones aren’t. On the street, loyalty is only defined by the next bonus. Translation: pay me…but don’t ask me to keep my so-called commitment when you laid off a couple of kids from my class only three months after they started their first job out of college. After all, how can you trust someone who’s defining life moment was walking into the big guy’s office and asking for a higher bonus or threatening a walkout?
If this seems a little dark and somber, just remember that we’re all just a reflection of our experiences. I’m someone who falls, and falls hard. I get fooled, and fooled easily. But after a few too many burns, you have to look at the essence of your character and realize how you got to where you are today. For better or worse, who legit helped you out and who only talked to you when times were good?
So, if we used to be friends and I no longer speak to you, you were probably disloyal to me. Did you break bro code rule #1? Well then, you are dead to me. On the other hand, if you stood by me when times got tough, I’ll take a bullet for you. In fact, I’ll probably incite someone to shoot at you just so I can prove that I’d be willing to jump headfirst in front of it.
As I told J back in his more naive days: you have to look out for yourself because no one else gives a fuck about you.
Crazy moments of the day – Situation: director lied to a client, ran off to play golf, left me in charge of a process I wasn’t cc’d on, and yelled at me through email anyways. Bad: had to cover for his lying butt without getting us sued. Good: chatted on the phone all with the CFO the company, a MD at a BB bank, and a principal at a PE shop.