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About Divides

There is no such thing as a work-life balance. There are work-life choices, you make them, and they have consequences.”
- Jack Welsh

Last week, someone I know approached me during an event with other brokers and asked me if everything was okay. Surprisingly, I responded that nothing could be better at this moment. As a matter of fact, the mounting pressure in dealing with the increasing workload at this time of the year has been smooth so far. Indeed, after having experienced a full cycle at my current job, it has become clear to me of how things work around here. There are always new opportunities to learn from, but at least the basics are well acquired and established.

At that point, my colleague adds another question into the mix: “How is your professional conscience? Are you having any doubts in that department?” I certainly did not expect the topic to shift in that particular direction. It turns out that this person had been reading my articles for quite some time now, particularly the one published the week before this one. After all, it sure appears contradicting at times to be working in finance whilst writing a blog on the side which focuses on elaborating the more human aspect of things. How does one consolidate two different worlds into the same persona?

This reminded me of a conversation I had with another person I met during a house party back in Reims. They had been working for almost ten years when we met across various industries, ranging from computer services, pharmaceuticals and even satellite and arms development. The person in question prided themself in taking a stand that they would never work in an industry where they would feel that their values were being compromised. Apparently, this was the reason as to why they turned down the job at one of the biggest French companies in satellite development. They just could not attend a job in the day that would keep them up at night.

I remember not agreeing with everything that person shared with me that night, but that particular story stayed the same way some used bubble gum stays stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Whether we like it or not, the jobs we do in life tend to define who we are and where our priorities are. They are the indirect proof of how important our values are to representing a correct image of who we are, in case we decide to leave them at the door.

“Moral values, a culture and a religion, maintaining these values are far better than laws and regulations.”
- Swami Sivananda

On a personal note, taking care of your values and making sure they are at the centre point of your life is primordial the image you want to spread around you. Otherwise, when push comes to shove, how will you know what should truly be done in such situations? The dilemma between what one wants to and what one should do is almost a certainty, along with death and taxes. Rightfully so, that person was right to ask me whether my professional conscience was clear. It made me think of the famous television series Suits.

In this show about lawyers working for one of the most prestigious firms in New York, we see two contrasting personalities portrayed by the two protagonists: Harvey Specter (played by Gabriel Macht) and Mike Ross (interpreted by Patrick J. Adams). Throughout their various adventures, there is one particular topic that often comes back up for debate between the two characters: for Specter, the aim is to always win law cases no matter what; Ross, on the other hand, wanted to win and potentially become one of the best lawyers in the city, yet he did not want to achieve that feat if it meant sacrificing his values. Indeed, Mike Ross came from a humble background and always tried to make sure that people would not get hurt or have their lives ruined whenever he did something.

In every case, we would see Specter willing to get his hands dirty and use all means possible in order to win and remain the best, when Ross preferred to find solutions that did not involve leaving bodies behind. This is often referred to as the concept of the greater good, or utilitarianism. In ethical philosophy, utilitarianism is a family of normative ethical theories that prescribe actions that maximise happiness and well-being for all affected individuals.

Coming back to the main story at hand, my answer was brief and simple to that person’s question: “There is no need to worry. My professional conscience is intact. The day I feel that it is being compromised is the day I will start asking questions about the added value of my job.” I do my best to keep the human factor involved in my job when it comes to risk analysis, as tough as this may be at times. Given the market I work on, the human perspective of things is a crucial advantage if you want to be successful at what you do.

I do not feel that the ideas shared on my blog are compromising my job.
The feeling is mutual in the opposite direction as well.

“I am not censoring my soul for nobody, and the only thing I can be:
All that is good, all that is bad, all that is me”
- Read All About It by Professor Green
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