Thursday, September 6, 2012

- Who Is Slamming The Door?

I have a situation at work which I obviously can't be too specific about, but since it ties in to the vision for America that we're currently debating, I thought I'd beat around it's bush here for a minute.

I think most people who've worked closely with me in the past saw me as a pretty smart guy who was somewhat 'difficult' to manage. But I don't think anyone would have ever called me a devious or calculating person. For better or worse I've never been able to successfully pretend to like or respect a person who I didn't actually like or respect. You saw me coming a mile off, which many people would consider a good thing. But it was much less popular with the people I didn't really like or respect. And as a result of this transparency (at least in part), I've made enemies.

I don't think there is anyone out there nurturing a little shrine of hatred for me in their closet at home - I don't think any of it was ever that big a deal. Now that I've moved on I'm sure they've forgotten all about it. But it's really beyond debate that I had people out there who were working very hard, to the point of doing things that were hurting the profitability of their own business, simply to prevent me from achieving my goals. And it wasn't a question of differing visions for the business. They were doing it all out of a personal animosity. I'd hear tales of my name coming up in staff meetings and senior people reacting with an unexplained irrational fury at its mention. One person's hatred of me in particular, was a very public secret.

If you come from a background like mine which isn't from the 'anointed' classes, that's the kind of thing that can leave a mark. You end up feeling like the only way you can ever get ahead is if you do it over the objection of people who dislike you. If you lack the capacity to pretend to be someone you aren't, and you're convinced that some people will dislike you for that trait, then you begin to think that the only route to success is to find those people before they find you, and to isolate yourself from them. Put up some sort of wall between you and the people who will work to prevent your success.

In its most abbreviated form, this is how I've worked for most of the last 5 years. As much effort as I've put into the markets and the actual profit generating part of my job, I've put at least that much into determining who the political players were, determining who would have a problem with me, and trying to find a means to keep some political distance between us. And I'll be honest, it was a lot of work. I'm no good at corporate politics, so instead of focusing on the thing that I am objectively good at, I had to focus much of my energy and time on something that I'm not. But all of that has more or less come to an end for me now.

I've been asked to take on a more senior role in my firm - one that makes the most of the strengths that I've demonstrated. And instead of achieving this goal over the objection of others, I'm getting the enthusiastic support of both the CEO, and the Chairman-Founder of the firm. Both are looking to me as someone who can use my skills and energy to make them more successful, and are only interested in making it as easy as possible for me to do so. Instead of arbitrary and irrational obstacles designed to protect their political turf, they are backing my efforts whole heartedly, and doing all they can to facilitate things.

And I can't tell you what a massive relief it is to me to only have to worry about succeeding, and to put all that political nonsense aside. Instead of having to multitask between something I can do well and something I really can't, I can focus on the singular task I've spent the last 20 years learning. And to me that feels like I've been unchained. To have people be happy with me succeeding on their behalf instead of being angered by the way it weakens their political position, is about as liberating a feeling as I've ever had in my life.

This is the difference between focusing on politics, and focusing exclusively on economic benefit. It's the difference between a free market which is left to run itself with nothing restraining success except someone's competitors, and an economy which is 'managed' by disinterested third parties in government. It's the difference between a vision where success is unambiguously rewarded, and one where someone whose only stake is political, get's to decide who is being 'fair' and who isn't based upon their own ideas of fairness.

I've heard that clip of Michelle Obama talking about how once you are successful you shouldn't slam the door behind you. I've spent much of my career with doors being slammed in my face. And the one thing that was always true, was that it was being slammed for political reasons. But if we reduce the influence of politics in our economy, we unchain people just like I now feel unchained. If we increase the power of politicians, all we do is pick a different person in whose face the door will be slammed.

Mitt Romney doesn't want to slam the door in anyone's face - he wants to eliminate the doors altogether and let the market and the consumer decide. It's the Democrats who want to slam doors - but only in the 'right' faces, so their political supporters can move ahead, whether the market says they deserve to or not. Dodd-Frank is a door that they plan on slamming in someone's face. Obamacare is 10,000 little doors - each with a face 'targeted' to be slammed in. And the EPA, the department of energy and all the other bureaus have faces they think a door should be slammed in.

Solyndra's low cost loan was a door slammed in the face of it's competitors. So was GM's 'bailout'. So was everything that team Obama calls an economic success. Slamming doors in people's face is the only thing they know. And the only way we'll achieve the Obama vision where the door isn't slammed in the face of the person behind you, is by eliminating the role of government in our economy, and the importance of people just like Obama.


Tom said...

for my former coworkers who are reading this, I'm not trying to say I'm some altar boy. I've had good faith differences of opinion where I should have been more flexible, and I bear the responsibility for my own situation.

And it's all worked out so I bear no ill will - even to the people who probably deserve a little.

ikaika said...

I can sympathize with your situation.
I blew through my benchmarks only to have a conniving rat manager take credit my team's work and tell the three of us that there was nothing he could do to improve our employment situation. Other scuzzy stuff came to the surface within my last year with them.
All three of us were promised (individually) that we'd be escalated to a cetain rank etc... (it was impossible because only one of us could get there).
When I voiced my dissaproval with how certain things were being handled by the boss to the detriment of clients, I was rewarded with a person I had trained being promoted ahead of me.
I did the right thing and congratulated the guy, but he was embarassed because he knew that the promotion was done out of spite.
When I left NYC for Miami, I was taking a huge risk and a huge chunk of revenue off the table since my wife would be leaving her job and heading to grad school.
From what I have heard, more people have vacated my former boss because he (a democrat) would trot out "there are no jobs out there, so you better suck it up like the rest of us..."
That speech gets tiring when you get it 4 times per year during qtly reviews.
I have no animosity. Unfortunatly my former teammates are still stuck with that guy. If I knock the cover off the ball, I would hire them in a heart-beat, but I gotta crawl first.

FYI Roger Altman is the worst guy that CNBC could use to comment on the ECB or Euro-crisis. If you don't understand the Maastricht Treaty, don't pretend that non-masstricht rationale will govern the actions...

Side note: this will cheer-up Chess:!

Tom said...

First of all, anything that cheers up chess I'm unambiguously in favor of. I haven't even seen it myself yet, but that's irrelevant in my view.

Secondly, the sell side (where you work) is notoriously political when compared to the buy side (where I work). We know this of course but the broader readership might not. So I'm not surprised you've had problems - I had them on the sell side too. But we 'eat only what you kill' animals in the Hedge Fund world are supposed to worry about profits not politics. It's never really fully that way.

My last sell side boss was a horror. My entire team all resigned within 2 weeks of each other just to get away from him. (I'm still the closest of friends with one of them.)

In the interim We've all prospered, and he's been forced to fall back on his family's wealth to support him in his prolonged and debilitating illness. So there is karmic justice out there if you can wait long enough for it.

Chess said...

Hey !!!!. Swiped again??
Im a very cheerful person .Right now Im going through some Platelet/stem cell shit.That means lots of needles in bone marrow and joints awake.Good times...My body just sort of keeps attacking my tendons and joints.But there is improvement and I might actaully whack a golf ball next year. I havent in 3 years.Ive got wood to split and cant. The lab has trouble lining up the splitter and she wont hold it anymore since i tagged her with the axe.
Ikaika.. I know Harold and Kumar exscaped form Gitmo. I think by showing up for the DNC they should be waterboarded and placed back in the camp.

Tom said...

It's not swiping to wish you increased good cheer. We kid because we love.

chess said...

7 years ago I left Anesthesia. I was primarily hearts and vascular.We had been a top 50 heart hospital in America for a longtime. Then as usual a new ceo for the hospital decided he would hire a new head of hearts from New Yawk. (enter enemy of good is better). It took about 10 of his pts dying before we lost the top 50 and not even honorable mention. Apparently me sayng he was a butcher put me on the wrong side of the equation and since it was their sandbox I got invited to not play nomo on a Sunday am.
Best thing that ever happened to me.Subsequently the Bigdog heart dude turned out to have a drug habit besides being a butcher.He got the boot but it was too late to put all the shit back together.Their heart volume has dropped by 60% and I work out of the house.

chess said...

I didnt like this ADT crap this am. I dont want one glimmer of hope for this sob..Hel be clucking tonite if he knows tomorrows number is good.I hope that 1 month cant change anyones mind.These are simple minds he is trying to change.
I once told a girl a longtime ago that I loved her as much as my first Lab. I think I ducked a dinner plate lovingly thrown at my head..It was a helluva compliment coming from me and my love of dogs.
I love you guys almost as much as I love this 3rd Lab.

chess said...

Tom Brokaw Rushed to Charlotte Hospital

I told him to retire after the Greatest generation hoopla.

ikaika said...

chess, I figure the parody of the sobbing democrat would warm the cockles. Made me laugh.

My third lab wasn't very obedient, but he was fun.

ikaika said...

Ok Chess - dinner date republican ad just for you:

chess said...

Ikaika...My 3rd lab(my first yellow) the other 2 were chocolates IS A MANIAC AT 4.
This back at you for the voice vote by the Riddler...

Verily I say unto thee That this night before the cock crow thou shalt deny me thrice AT THE DNC
Thursday, September 06, 2012 8:11:22 AM · by Clint N. Suhks · 14 replies
ME | 9/6/12 | Vanity
Is that what happened at the convention last night? Three times Antonio Villaraigosa called for a voice vote on the changes to add God to their platform and each time the no votes seemed to have it. Was Jesus denied three times? REALLY? WAS THAT MONTY PYTHON WE WERE WATCHING? Got irony much?

Tom said...

I really got the impression that they were shouting down "Jerusalem" more than god, but Drudge is carrying the headline the other way for some reason.

ikaika said...

Yeah Drudge stretched it a bit.
Freep posted a photo of the "Teleprompter" instructing Frank Gorshin to ram through the platform amendment:

chess said...

Ha...Gavel the dam motion before you and get off the stage.

~RA said...

Tom... I am feeling your political pain as we speak - its amazing how the priority of making money for the investor gets lost in the battle for job security, Who's turf that is, and the endless meetings to have meetings. Basically, government on a smaller scale.