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Dreading the culture
Old 08-31-2007, 01:11 PM   #1
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Dreading the culture

Hi -

I wanted to start a new post on this to vent, , although I've seen the theme repeated in old posts here numerous times.

I work in high finance, and for the most part the corporate culture is young. Most of us are 20 somethings and 30 somethings. There are 'older' folks as well, but we grunts make up the entire base and mid-section of the pyramid here.

I like what I do for the most part. I get to deal with theory, practical application, analysis, projects, clients, travel, etc. For the most part, it is a 'good job' if there is such a thing. I like my boss; he is uber-smart, challenges me at work AND outside of work (marathons, triathlons, learning, etc.), and he is all around good guy and family man.

My issue rests with the 'others' as a consensus. Most people who I work with are single. Some are dating, some are not. Regardless of what their status is, all they want to do is spend, spend, spend! Which is fine, as it's their life. But, it is expected of me to tag along, go with the 'corporate culture' and not be the weirdo in the office. This is my struggle...

It means drinking at the bars at night, regularly, baseball games a few DAYS each week (depends on workload), buying designer clothes, who is dating who, making Starbucks runs daily, where are you going on vacation this year (think wine country or International travel), why aren't you coming to lunch with us to the new cafe that charges $20.00 a plate, which neighborhood of the city do you live in - AND - how nice is your apartment (meaning, how much do you pay each month for rent), do you have a car - if so, then is it a luxury car or a sports car, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

Those are all very nice things. I'd enjoy many of those things on that list, however, I have different goals than everyone else and they are fundamentally incompatible with the culture of the young and single crowd. I show up, I do a good job, I will go to an event with the group here or there not to seem like a complete psycho, but I pretty much do my own thing. Then when others find out that I am currently single, then they are flabbergasted that I am not going out with them and partying and hitting on anything that walks or hooking up with the asian girl that works on another desk and has been eyeing me for quite some time - I must be a real creep.

I keep mum on many of these things. Basically, it boils down to:

1 - I want to retire early, hence why I don't run with you guys everywhere; NEWSFLASH - I save and invest well over 80% of gross; I want freedom one day. Freedom to pursue my life as I see fit, without the shackles of a boss, a desk, colleagues, etc.
2 - I haven't met the right girl yet. I can care less about the arm-candy that the men AND women in the office want as that normally boils down to high maintenance (think lot's of spending). It's tough to find someone like-minded within the industry that I work in, and the grueling hours aren't conducive to meeting others outside of work easily.

Now, I honestly don't mind what others think of me as a result of this. If I did, then I would have royally screwed up my life years ago , but, that's not to say that it's not a struggle many days.

I could be mistaken as I am young and have only been in the 'real world' for barely 2 years so far, but I think some of this is unique to my 'job,' but I am sure it's common in many jobs. I work in a major U.S. city and I work in high finance. Those two components alone deduce to frivolous high spending for most - the older folks who have families do their own things, but if you are young and single, oh my freaking God, what is psychologically wrong with you?!?!

I live in a less quality area (to them) called the suburbs as it is far cheaper (to me), but also, I don't mind the suburbs. Anyway, I am the only 'young' person at my firm who lives in the 'burbs and I catch flak for it, especially from the girls that I work with who think I'm cute. People think I'm secretly married or have a kid at home with me. Why else would he live in the suburbs and not want to always socialize with us?

I don't take extravagent vacations. Some people have questioned me on this. Do I have any plans for vacation? Anything exciting that happens in my life?

I don't frequent bars and clubs with covers (in some cases as high as $20.00 just to get in), and then pay $10.00 for a drink like they do. Starbucks isn't bad coffee, but neither is the coffee from our *FREE* coffee machine in the kitchens. I have a car; an older model which is fuel efficient. I have 'nice' clothes, but I can care less about Chanel, Gucci, Prada, etc.

Has anyone here struggled with things similar to this? Perhaps not as extremely, but I'm sure you had some struggles. I know a simple solution would be to quit, but, I like what I do, I have exit options (if need be) by building up my resume with great experience very early on, and most importantly, I get paid well for the time being. I'm trying to capitalize on this as much as I can as I know it won't be forever. But it's tough. I don't think about caving in, but I struggle with keeping my sanity around others and how many BS lines can I feed people; how many times can I try to skirt the conversation or how many more times can I portray myself as 'lame' to others in the office by not being 'cool enough' to drink the kool-aid with them.

I'm very focused on the light which is at the end of the tunnel - FIRE. Freedom! But my biggest challenge is dealing with the aforementioned items in my quest to FIRE one day.

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Old 08-31-2007, 01:21 PM   #2
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Pavo, I want to adopt you!

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Old 08-31-2007, 01:41 PM   #3
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I had a similar situation when my daughters were both in college and I was perpetually broke. "No" seemed to work best. That, and not caring what the others thought went a long way.
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:52 PM   #4
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When it all boils down too it, who cares what the idiots you work with think?

Asian woman are hot, you should reconsider that part hehe
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:00 PM   #5
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what does hooking up have to do w/ lbym? isn't that cheap entertainment/exercise! minus the condoms (just buy in bulk)?

given your cobbling together of the hooking up and the lifestyle thing, i do think you're mushing together the social aspect w/ the high life. it may reduce your stress about this to go out once in a while, buy a drink and just see what these people are like beneath the fancy clothes? there might be one or two other nice people that you might like but you mistakenly lumped in w/ the crazies. and some of them might just be really superficial - so avoid them.

there's a difference between being anti-social and lbym. if you plan on working in that place/that sector, i suggest you figure out a low-key way to blend in a little? it would suck to continually feel so marginalized and out of place. maybe consider it an investment in your happiness and future promotability?

also, maybe it's cuz you're young, but one day, you won't care at all what other people think, they will admire you for your financial discipline and wish they had been more like you. perhaps that mental image will help you through the day. i always say - "be like a duck" and let the water roll right off of you
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:07 PM   #6
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A large part of the work environment is unavoidable. The culture, which creates an "in group" also shapes favorites for promotions and raises. I have never worked in the type of setting you describe, but have been in situations where I didn't fit in. I found that my tenure in those positions was pretty short.

It is much easier to say ignore the fools than to actually ignore them. I don't imagine there is a clear or easy fix. You said you do some of the socializing. As long as you are comfortable with that balance, you simply need to keep saying "no thanks" to the invites. Yes, you will earn a reputation and maybe some teasing. If you can't let it go, you will need to look for a different setting where the spending is not so "in your face" so you fit in better.

But, stay the course and come here for encouragement when it seems all others are out of control
I would not have anyone adopt my mode of living...but I would have each one be very careful to find out and pursue his own way, and not his father's or his mother's or his neighbor's instead. Thoreau, Walden
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:17 PM   #7
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It is very apparent that you know exactly what you want!! I would not quit the job unless it is getting between you and your ER plans. It doesn't seem like that is happening.

I would turn down the offers to socialize/spend, and at the same time, smile and make it obvious to everyone that you are not rejecting THEM - - you are just an individualist.

It might come between you and a raise or promotion, but the degree to which you LBYM will bring you to ER faster than spending more and LBYM'ing less, even at a higher salary.

So, I think the best thing to do is to perservere, and have confidence in your goals. Focus on what you want, as you have been doing, and you will get there.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:27 PM   #8
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Is it likely that failure to spend on status items and to frolic with officemates
will materially impact your career? Sometimes these things matter a lot, but sometimes they matter very little. It sounds like it is your peers who are putting on the pressure, not the folks up the chain from you. If you are producing for your boss, then it's likely he doesn't care much about your lack of spending on luxuries. He might not even care if you aren't socially clicked in tightly with the others (as long as you can be part of the team on the job).

There's a lot to be said for keeping your social life distinct from your professional life. You've already noticed that the people drawn to your line of work may not share other values with you. Also, frankly, when the hours at work get really long it is important to see some new faces every now and again.

Going along with the crowd is the easy thing. You may be a lot happier if you can stay a part of the team when you're at work but say goodbye when you are done there. This will get easier with time--the people you work with will recognize that you're just not going to attend a lot of things after hours. Professionally, if your performance is strong, the folks up the chain may just reward somebody who is his own man and who knows how to separate business from the rest of his life.

Plan B: Tell one gossip in the group (swear him or her to secrecy!) that you have a poor aunt in Bosnia who needs expensive medical treatment. It's costing 80% of what you make, but she's getting better. Now you're able to help some of her family with living expenses, which was the promise you made to your mom on her deathbed. So, only a cheap vacation for you this year, and the Honda Civic looks good for another 2 years. "Hey, Pavo was having an appetizer and drinking water again during lunch at La Dromadarie. He probably saved enough today to buy his aunt a walker. He never even talks about it--what a great guy!"
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:43 PM   #9
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I'm very focused on the light which is at the end of the tunnel - FIRE. Freedom! But my biggest challenge is dealing with the aforementioned items in my quest to FIRE one day.
You have long-term goals and a long-term plan that you are working. What's wrong about that? Many of the folks that visit this forum have had to endure similar things in order to ER. It's a personal choice to live below your means (LBYM). If it's any consolation to you, most folks, when they hit about 50 years old, begin the retirement planning process. It is too late for them however, because they do not have enough time to get into the game.

Keep up the good work that you are doing for yourself. Future dividends are guaranteed.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:46 PM   #10
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I love Plan B. Plan C is to find a girl at the office or even better outside of work, who is an LBYM type. The girlfriend will give you an excuse not to hang with expensive yuppie crowd. Girl that are high maintenance (not sure what my excuse is LOL) aren't that hard to find, the board has a bunch of them.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:53 PM   #11
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I was always the cheap-ass frugal one in our group. Once I let it be known, folks started to not care appreciate me for what I was, since I just didn't care myself.

Every once in a while I would participate in activities on the Group W bench and we would all be friends starting the cycle anew.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:01 PM   #12
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I totally understand your situation, as I work in finance as well. I'm assuming you are either in NYC, Chicago, London or HK. I've noticed this behavior a lot more at the "bigger" shops than the smaller ones. There is a certain shift in mentality that develops when you work on transactions of millions of $s a day. It makes money less of a tangible, and more of a concept of easy-come easy-go, and there's always more to make... And they all try to live that 80s "Wall Street" movie-esque life, not to mention the urban-metropolitan-life that involves having every whim catered to you, constantly. Someone to wash your clothes, food delivered, rental girlfriend, etc, etc...

I really think Plan B is insiduously genius! The ladies will find you ever cuter!

The one thing I would say is make sure to go out drinking with them every once in a while. That is where all the bonding is done. Some of those guys will be bosses someday, and will give you opportunties when the market turns sour. I've found my last 2 jobs from "drinking buddies". And every jump has been better than the previous.
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Old 08-31-2007, 03:37 PM   #13
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I feel your pain. I have experienced similar pressures, but mine was from a boss. When I didn't spend like him, he thought I was being cheap and took it personally. I finally had to have a sit down with him and explain that I just wasn't interested in spending money the way he did. Of course he took this personally and I ended up leaving the company. But that was for the better, because now I am with a company that I really like.

I had a friend who was getting the same pressures that you are getting, except he was working for a large insurance company. His out was that he was married and couldn't do all the after hours events. This worked well for awhile, but eventually he decided that the culture was just too different for him and moved on to a job that he absolutely loves and is making a lot more money. But when he was with the company, he determined what the minimum amount of time he needed to spend socializing outside of work was and stuck to it. Everyone respected him for this.

Maybe this company isn't right for you because the culture is so different. With that said, I wouldn't quit just because you are getting a little bit of razzing. And in any job, you are going to need to socialize with people. Too many business relationships are established in non-business environments. You need to find out where your comfort zone is and anything beyond that you need to learn how to diplomaticly say no.

You seem like a strong person who knows what you want. Maybe you just need to learn how to play the game on your terms, not your colleagues, and have fun with it. Whenever I am challenged for being frugal I make a joke about it and go on with my life. I never take anyones opinion of me seriously, especially someone who is spending themselves into poverty.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old 08-31-2007, 04:11 PM   #14
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"I've put myself on a budget to get my savings back on track."

"I've put myself on a budget to help my family out with a few financial issues."

"Sorry, I've given up drinking while I'm in training."

"I don't know where that barista had her hands before she made my frappacino, but at least the diarrhea has stopped. I don't think I'll be going back there anytime soon."

"Thanks, but I have lots of studying to catch up on [tonight] [this weekend]."

Originally Posted by Pavo View Post
NEWSFLASH - I save and invest well over 80% of gross; I want freedom one day.
Here's a thought. If you carved out 2-5% of your gross for "office socializing & career-enhancement entertainment", how much money would that free up for lunches & cover charges? How far would it set back your ER? There might be a middle position that'd give you a chance to socialize just enough with your officemates (and your boss) for everyone to forget about the issue, and it might not significantly delay your ER.

But if you're going to feel grumpily coerced into burning $20 bills while you try to fit in with the group then you may need a new group of friends... and perhaps even a new employer.

Originally Posted by Pavo View Post
2 - I haven't met the right girl yet.
That's the ultimate in hard-to-get lines. If you tell your officemates that you haven't found the right girl yet, perhaps the yentas will take it as a personal challenge and start parading them through your cubicle by the truckload.

I went to school with a guy who played the field so thoroughly that we were running a monthly pool on the number of different women he'd dated. He later confided in me that he was convinced he'd never find the right girl, never get married, and never have kids. He was 30 years old at the time, and when we met again five years later he was happily married with three kids. So enjoy your freedom while you can, grasshopper!

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Old 08-31-2007, 06:42 PM   #15
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Interesting problem, I think more common than many might think.

How's this for a strategy: Dress really sharp and stay trim. Be cool. After the initial investment, the up-keep should be manageable. Tell them you are buying an island.

I have a friend who is a VP of a tech company that does it like that.

my bumpersticker:
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I am retired.
And I don't care how big your truck is."
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Old 08-31-2007, 07:11 PM   #16
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My advice: don't be too focused on the future. You say you are saving 80% of your gross? what do you live on, Top Ramen? Of course you should plan your future and you should invest a high percentage of your income, but you can't take your money with you, can you? You could die tommorrow, so why not live a little today while you are still young?

Personally, I follow this simple plan: I live on 40% of my income; 30% I invest; 30% I pay taxes. This plan has the discipline I need to FIRE, yet still allows me to treat myself to the finer things in life too. You don't have to live like a mooch to reach your FIRE goals.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:17 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Pavo View Post
(marathons, triathlons, learning, etc.),
If you seriously train, it may be a respectable out for at least some socializing.

Training = eat very healthy, don't drink much, get to bed early and get enough sleep. Some people may be jealous as they add on the weight that goes with a desk job and daily drinking, but most seem to respect the dedication and drive that is involved in staying in serious shape.

And I really like nords' idea of creating a work-socializing budget line item.
You can pick and choose a few events here and there without feeling like you are spending money that you otherwise would have saved.

(Ummm. And how do you save 80% of gross?)
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Pavo View Post
I keep mum on many of these things. Basically, it boils down to:

1 - I want to retire early, hence why I don't run with you guys everywhere; NEWSFLASH - I save and invest well over 80% of gross; I want freedom one day. Freedom to pursue my life as I see fit, without the shackles of a boss, a desk, colleagues, etc.
2 - I haven't met the right girl yet. I can care less about the arm-candy that the men AND women in the office want as that normally boils down to high maintenance (think lot's of spending). It's tough to find someone like-minded within the industry that I work in, and the grueling hours aren't conducive to meeting others outside of work easily.

Now, I honestly don't mind what others think of me as a result of this. If I did, then I would have royally screwed up my life years ago , but, that's not to say that it's not a struggle many days.

I could be mistaken as I am young and have only been in the 'real world' for barely 2 years so far, but I think some of this is unique to my 'job,' but I am sure it's common in many jobs.
I, too, am single (but quite a bit older) because I haven't found the "right one" yet either. And over the years the qualifications for "right one" have changed and evolved drastically! In the early years her financial life meant very little to her financial life plays a much greater part! If she's not financially healthy, she doesn't have the slightest chance with me!!! Been there...done that! WON'T do it again!!! EVER!!!

In my 30+ w*rking years, I tended to NOT socialize with my co-w*rkers. Once in a VERY great while I'd meet up with one or two of them for a Coke or a cup of coffee, after w*rk hours.......but the was extremely rare! I had a very nice social life outside of w*rk, with people who were like-minded as me. I preferred to keep my w*rk life and my social life separate. And I STILL enjoy a very nice social life!

There were some of the w*rk crowd that tried to give me a rough way to go, but I just told them that I had my own life on the 'outside', and that they and I held far different ideas of the meaning of "fun" and "living". Most of them are still slaving away, living paycheck to paycheck, "keeping up with the Joneses", trying to impress people as well as each other, and they'll be doing that for MANY years to come!!!

I did my own "thing", and am VERY happily FIRE'd.....and will be doing THAT for MANY years to come!!!
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Old 08-31-2007, 10:28 PM   #19
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I know exactly what you is the same way in my pharmeceutical company.....from the admin level to executive level. I get strange looks when I tell people that I spent the weekend blasting Ella Fitzgerald, painting, meditating, and reading. It's worse when I tell them I did that for vacation instead of going somewhere exotic. I also have a simple (all black) wardrobe which makes it very easy to get dressed in the morning and transcends all trends!
I don't drink so that hinders much of the networking aspects; however, everyone knows that my passion is my art....the work is just something to pay my bills. I don't agree with the fact that one has to drink with the team to be a team player!
I guess it all comes down to your dreams, how comfortable you are with your decisions, and just accepting that you will always go against the norm....most of our society is trying to outdo each other in their accumulation of goods.
I personally don't give a crap about what they goal is to semi-retire by 45 and do what I LOVE....they will still be working till 67!!
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Old 09-01-2007, 12:32 AM   #20
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All -

You guys are wonderful! Extremely refreshing to see so many responses so quickly. It's nice how a 'newbie' doesn't just get tossed around here; I'll try to respond back to each of you as there have been so many good comments and questions...

CuppaJoe - That's fine by me. Do I have to pay any rent?

pfpelican - It's actually easier said than done. The environment is highly political. Although I am not a big wheeler by any means, I do work with many big wheelers within the company as well as clients. We're talking about guys who leave to start their own hedge funds, others who leave to start a tech/software firm, etc. 'Big wigs' by the definition are in the office for meetings every so often as well (think PMs of top performing funds or Directors of equity research).

Bigritchie - I agree with you; I don't care about what others think, but it's tough due to the political nature. Yes, some asian women are hot but I refuse to mix women with work. I learned that at my first job when I was 16. I've seen it work, but I'd rather not risk it. Plenty of fish elsewhere.

bright eyed - I was describing the culture as a whole, apologies if I seem to have caused any confusion. The social aspect IS very much a part of the high life. I'm sure there are many professions like this, but the world of high finance is extremely tight knit.

That being said, I have met many cool people. Oddly, most are all older. I think much of this might be a 'young' thing. I'm not sure how old you are, but what were you doing in your early and mid 20s? What are most people in there early to mid 20s doing?

P.S. I don't want to just hook up anymore (believe it or not). I started hooking up when I was gosh, who knows, middle school probably? I've far too many girls by the time I hit 25. I've been looking for Mrs. Right since then. This isn't about looks or the whole package; it's tough to find the right person when the net is cast across a very wide range (i.e., major city) and time constraints apply.

Sandy - Great points, and I agree with you. Much of it is due to the nature of the very small world in this niche of the industry. I run weekly with my manager after work, and we do compete in triathlons together; I'm very in with him, but, he's older and has a family. I think this comes back to being in your 20s and having a high paying position in a major city, as if that means you should live in a rock star.

Want2retire - I completely agree with you; I know exactly what I want (for the most part) out of life. And yes, I am also quite the non-conformist. But, thus far it hasn't hampered my work performance as I was recently promoted (few months ago).

Imagine blending work with your personal life into one. That's my environment. It's not right or wrong; good nor bad, but, I personally like to make my personal life distinct from my work life. I think it's healthy as it creates balance. For most of the people that I work with that is not the case, unless they are older.

FYI, I have no problem going on lunch/dinner when on client or office visits with others, sometimes grabbing lunch with co-workers (personally, I'd rather grab lunch and eat it at my desk so I can wrap up at a decent time).

samclem - Great observation; it is in fact my peers rather than my superiors (for the most part). I previously commented on a thread on this site which addressed challenges, and I mentioned for me it was the modern vs. traditional dilemma. I'm the oldest of European immigrants; first in the family to go to college, etc. It's a battle between traditional values and being a part of a culture which is 3 or 4 (or many more) times removed from their heritage. That being said, my values are a pretty complex hybrid, but specifically, the notion of FIRE, let alone saving, is foreign among my peers, among other values. Again, neither of us being in the right or wrong - simply different.

One of my good friends at work asked me how the heck I (or anyone for that matter) can afford a home (personal property) in their mid 20s. I replied it was simple, to which he gave me an odd smirk as if I'm a lunatic.

I like plan B. It makes me sound so compassionate and sensitive.

mickeyd - Thanks for the kind words of encouragement and support. I know I'm well on my way, but, the road has quite a few obstacles in it's path which doesn't make it a smooth ride.

clifp - You're unleashing an alphabet of plans here...

I do have an 'office spouse' at the moment (okay, yes, she is asian as well) were we are 'just friends' but we'll see what happens. I'm still getting to know her - but we also sit right by each other. That is the only thing which has stopped me from taking it to the next level, but it's obvious to others what is going on between us. For now, we'll simply hang out and get to know each other some more.

I've dated some high maintainence girls before and they are not worth it to me no matter how hot. I know there are LBYM women out there my age, but I just haven't found her yet.

LOL! - Hhmmm, I'm stumped (LOL). I will take your words to heart.

Olav23 - Ahhh, my long lost brother! Yes, I'm in the heart of the financial district of Chicago, but I travel to Wall St., Canary Wharf, and hedge fund country in Connecticut quite often. You very well know what it's like, no doubt.

When you are dealing with the behemoths of this planet (Fidelity, the BBs, Citadel, etc.) then what are thousands of dollars? What are millions? They gain and lose millions daily. I deal with smaller shops (asset<1 billion) as well, and these guys are much easier to work with; they're very down to earth people. The big boys don't mess around though.

3 months ago I met with a client who is on the Forbes 500 wealthiest in the world; I, barely 2 years out of college and trying to navigate the 'real world', was in a room with a guy that is worth multi-billions. A few years ago I was drinking the cheapest of beer, sleeping on the floors of dirty college apartments, name it, and now I have to learn to speak a new language - golf (I stink at golf, but when they ask me what my handicap is, I can't say I don't play), yachts, anything and everything uber-uber-luxury.

You spend your down time with clients discussing moves (implemented and expected) by the Fed, foreign currencies, how the kids are doing (LOL, all of my clients think I'm married so this gets interesting when they find out I am single, and only a kid out of college), how so and so's fund is performing, where so and so is at nowadays, etc. Basically, it's always business, but I do like it for the most part. It's fun in many ways, like when they ask me that I am the PM and what my portfolio what consist of, or I'm the MD - who would I acquire and why. Basically, every moment of face time is pretty much an interview as you never know who will make you an offer (it happens quite often) and who will come to bat for you one day.

Your post is spot on. People don't clean their place, as that's what maids are for. If you own a car, then it better be sport or luxury (better yet, BOTH!). If your clothes aren't designer then they look upon you as if you haven't showered in a few days. The list goes on.

And you are correct about the drinking. I'm actually not a big drinker since I left college (no time), but this is where finance takes place. This is the networking. This is where ideas are spawn; where deal planning begins; where trade secrets are revealed; where connections are made. I do it, but definitely nowhere near the amount I should. These guys are machines. They can put in 80 hours worth of work and still hit the bars at least 3 times a week.

TedMunson - Playing the game...good point. I've been doing it, but it's been a struggle at times. I have gotten better at it, but it's still tough as I am learning.

The ante is raised in this respect because we're also dealing with some of the largest egos in the world of business. I'm not a superstar of sorts, neither is my pedigree. I'm an average Joe from a modest background who was transported into another dimension. I have the potential, that much is clear, but I am a rookie to all of this. It will come with time.

Nords - I can afford to spend some, but I am being rather stingy. I do buy my boss Starbucks or pay for lunch every now and then, but I should socialize a little more with everyone. Good career advice. Definitely something I want to work on, little by little.

Interesting about the 'player' you mentioned. I already have that rep. among some in the office. The honest to God truth is just that - I have not met the right person to be fully exclusive with the goal of getting married, and I do want that. I do want a family one day. It's hard for people to believe me though.

Ed_The_Gypsy - Interesting post. With respect to clothing, I actually am known for 'style' among the guys. When I first started that wasn't the case, but after a couple of months I knew that I had to make the investment. I went to Nordstrom's & Macy's and bought a bunch of excellent slacks (which I love to death) that were expensive, as well as a number of of great shirts and ties. Then I took the big plunge, and bought the suits: a few Canali's. Throw in a few pais of shoes, and that ultimately set my FIRE goals back a bit, but I knew it had to be done. This was an investment.

Funny that you mention the island. About 2-3 months ago I had a meeting with a 12 year vet from the Street. We made plenty of small talk and began discussing islands. He was mentioning how a certain VP might buy an island, then we rolled over to Virgin's purchase of Necker Island and the costs of operations, ownership structure, etc. It went on to be a complete financial analysis of buying an island - no practical implications. Ironic that you mentioned that.


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