Job Descriptions

“The best part of my job”, declared the wife this morning, “is that everyone knows what Toyota makes”. This, she said, she realized after she had tried explaining to several people (mostly in vain) about my job (past and present). Here are some sample responses she told me about:

  • “Oh, Golden Socks! Even my neighbour works there. Software, right?” (this was back when I worked for Goldman Sachs. To put this in context, about half of Goldman’s employees in Bangalore are in IT)
  • “Oh, he works for a bank? What is he? Is he a manager there?”
  • “Investment bank? What interest rate do they offer for deposits?”
  • “Oh he is a financial consultant now? Can you ask him to recommend to me a few stocks?” (on being told that I’m a freelance consultant now, after having worked at a bank)

I realize that given what I’m doing (and what I’ve done, and what I intend to do, which is the same as what I’m doing), I’ll never be in a position where the man on the street will be able to understand what I do. For the rest of my lifetime most people will never really “get” what I’m doing. I wonder if that’s a problem.

Personally I don’t think that’s going to be so much of a problem as long as there are enough people who understand what I do for me to get adequate work and adequately paid. But this refusal of the man on the street to even try and understand what I do is a bit irritating, I guess.

I’m going to make up a list of obscure stocks and obscure reasons to buy or short them. The next time someone asks me to recommend stocks, I think I’m going to actually give them some. And given that they mostly tend to be people I won’t care much about, I don’t think I’ll care about the quality of my predictions, either.


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