I had the worst lunch in London, with two former colleagues, MDs at Goldman.
We were talking about what I do, when one of them got red-faced angry.
Frustrated, he snapped: “Stop, I don’t want to talk about this.”
Surprised, I asked, “OK, what do you want to talk about?”
He said, “Look, we get together for lunch to bitch about our jobs, and I don’t want to hear about all the ways I can change it.”
At the time I was quite shocked, but as I stepped back I realized it was my fault.
Easier To Blame Your Job
Talking about making changes made him feel bad because it implied he was responsible for his situation, and he didn’t want to hear that.
It is much easier to blame the firm.
To blame the job.
To blame being trapped, than it was to be honest with himself and see he was miserable because he had made himself that way.
Rather than looking for what was good in his job, he was looking for all the things to bitch about.
Rather than looking for what he could do differently, he was looking at the reasons he was stuck, trapped.
People are often looking for reasons to explain why my work is bullshit and why it isn’t possible for them to make the sorts of changes that I did.
Non-Wall Streeters say to me, “Well, it’s easy to take risk when you can stash away money from a lucrative Wall Street career.”
Wall Streeters list out all the reasons it is much harder for them than it was for me.
“I would do that, if I didn’t have a family.” Or “It worked for you, but it wouldn’t work in my career.”
Bullshit, Keep Going
As George Carlin said, “It’s all bullshit, and it’s bad for ya.”
The truth is, I transformed my career by working at it every day for more than a decade.
At Goldman, when half my class was laid-off, rather than bitch and moan about how the firm had changed, I got focused on making change.
Instead of sitting around whining like a kid forced to go to school, in addition to working my 80 hour weeks, every night and every weekend, I focused on the actions I was taking to make change.
I won’t bullshit you, it almost destroyed me.
At times it was so hard, so confusing, so disappointing, so frustrating, so stressful, I wanted to stop, but I kept going.
Year after year after year I kept going.
And one of the reasons I left Wall Street to write my first book was to make transforming your career much, much easier.
Rather than having to read thousands of books and make it up along the way, I wrote the book that fifteen years ago I wish someone had handed me.
For those who are beyond the bullshit and committed to taking action, it is this “easy.”