Sunday, 12 July 2015

Managing Oneself

If you're not motivated by status / power / glamour like myself, you'll soon come to realise that all jobs suck, with some jobs sucking more than others. So the best job to do is one that pays you the most money on an expended effort basis, in order for you to maximise your savings rate, invest your money wisely and get to living life asap.

The key to being able to get to a position where you can kiss your job goodbye is simply to, as trading parlance goes, "keep your seat". You want to be there to collect a monthly pay cheque, grab your yearly bonuses, and the other typical benefits that come along with that (overtime meal and taxi allowances, health insurance, etc.). Keeping your seat is a little similar to keeping a relationship going. There must be a desire on both ends of the relationship to keep the flame alive. Your employer must want to keep you, and you must want to keep your employer.

Let's talk about the former first. Simply put, you've got to be competent enough to execute your job well and be likeable (i.e. get along well with your team members, be a team player, that kinda stuff) to prevent your employer from terminating your contract. Sometimes even that isn't enough, the Volcker rule which was implemented post Lehman brothers saw many proprietary trading jobs being wiped out "overnight". More often than not, you'll need an element of luck on your end. That being said, internal locus of control ya.

Now to touch on the latter, which seems a little strange to discuss, given most people would only focus on the former. Well, an upfront thought is that this might not apply (I am leaning however, to the notion that it does apply) to situations where you are trying to jump to a better ship, to a higher paying gig, or if you think your team/employer are fucktards in general and you can't wait to get out of the house before it crashes and rains burning embers all over your already tired soul.

Essentially, what I'm driving at is that you've got to maintain an even emotional response to your job, and not burn out in the long run. Two schools of thought for maintaining equanimity in the workplace. The first school of thought is to not give too much of a fuck and just do the necessary in order to maintain your perceived competency. The second school of thought is to throw yourself into the role that your job requires and yet be able to maintaining a strong level of detachment from your job once you're done for the day. In other words, being able to manage yourself, your emotions and desires when you're working daily such that you become adept at compartmentalizing and develop grit through the process.

People do think that the first school of thought is an easier proposition. My own experiences have led me to come up with a differing opinion. If you hang around the fringes as opposed to being wholly immersed in the process, time passes a lot slower, your personal development (in terms of soft skills, general character attributes, hard knowledge (not generally enthused about hard knowledge given it's mostly non transferable)) gets stunted and you just end just treading water instead of slowly moving forward.

But when you go all in all the time, you tend to get burnt out after a while. The key really, is to manage yourself, to manage your responses to daily events and stimuli. That, I do feel, is really a never ending process of daily personal development and self improvement. How to do so? I'm still figuring things out, though I have benefited a lot from stoical perspectives and self meditation.

The more experienced and wiser personal financial bloggers might have better tricks up their sleeves. Care to share?