We live in this world of dichotomy of tension and chaos and the pursuit of orderliness.
We are constantly battling conflicting goals and priorities, irrational prioritization of human desires, motivations, and impulses.
Everything in my life, for example, can be viewed from the lens of satire. Or the seriousness lens.
Satirical work life:
As an investor, even in private equity, I am sometimes, in fact almost always, far removed from the real action. On this one particular deal over the past few months, I feel as if I’ve been trying to look through the tinted glass of two buildings. I see shadows of activity, and once in a while (mainly on a weekly scheduled basis) I can call someone in the first building to pull out their binoculars to help me peak more into the activities of the second building further away.
During meetings I feel as if I’m witnessing every bias, that starts from a to z in the first few chapters of my behavioral finance and/or psychology classes, presented as quintessential examples to reinforce my learning. We all try to call some out. However, just 100% more vocally offline than during the moment. However, the feeling that decisions may not always be the most logical and deliberate, is one I can’t shake.
Saving the world one memo at a time! How much impact does consider the right diction make? I still remember one of the first reactions I got from former investment banking colleagues when I switched over to PE “We were excel and PowerPoint monkeys solely, but now you have the pleasure of being a word memo churning monkey too!”
They say satire is the only way to capture hearts and attention for boring subjects like finance and economics. I don’t disagree—double, but oh so frequently used in finance, negative. It shows skepticism, but the inability to prove the converse. We are paid to be critical. You can’t have critical judgment without “critical”. Some of us are just more silent on it than others. It’s a super judgment focused field. Judgment with a little bit of judgment derived algebraic and statistical math.
Now the “seriousness” side. It’s hard to keep these up though…
“We use logic to decide on main issues.”
We are fancy. We write with dogmatic prose. Sometimes the benefit is that they can make anything “sound” professional and plausible. Or they get buried on page 48 out of 79.
And the purely dichotomous examples.
We put on an outwardly critical and questioning poker face on when conducting diligence. We then sell the same idea internally with beaming pride, as if it is the best. They all are.
…countless others exist.
As ridiculous as these “stories” sound, the laughter they erupt, in my mind and those of my colleagues keep us sane.