Doing my usual work today I came across a high powered investment firm in New York. Like many company websites they have a team member section with nice biographies on their employees. Reading through them I learned that most were from the Wharton School of Business and those that weren’t were almost all from the Ivy Leagues schools.
It made me think of what it might be like to live in that world. Here in San Francisco I’m certainly surrounded by very smart people but it is a laid-back comfortable environment. When I imagine what interactions with the employees from the firm in New York might be like it immediately makes me feel a little uneasy. From my experience money and work at a powerful company make people a bit uppity. They put up their guard and it seems to me as though in order to have more of a two sentence conversation with them you must be pre-qualified according to their standards; that’s unless of course you’re taking their order. I wonder if others feel the same way or it is just me?
I think money does change people’s attitudes towards others and not for the better. When one has money then it might make them question other people’s motives when approached and erect a permanent guard where each response is not more than a word or two to others they do not know.
I wonder if these employees would constantly be analyzing their dates during a dinner at the restaurant. I’ve found that with Ivy League people the conversation always has to be about something “intelligent” such as the current state of the market economy along with inflation levels in Syria.
“Sooooo, I’ll have the Beluga caviar with the 87′ Cab, Estate Reserve. But back to the ISIS influence on Middle East currency exchanges, do you believe it is a good time to trade in the Syrian pound? What say you Grant III?”
Every conversation becomes a constant competition to conclusively show the other party that your head is about to burst with knowledge unless some of it is immediately let out.
During my conversations with Ivy League people I’ve found that you have approximately 8.4 seconds to show them you have smarts. The first question they ask is what school you go/went to and if it is another Ivy League then you’re automatically in the club. If it is not the Ivy League then the stop watch starts and something impressive better spill out of your mouth. For me, the fact that I speak Japanese always seemed to work because school prestige holds absolutely no bearing in relation to Nihongo fluency. You can either speak it or not and it is immediately apparent with each conversation as each word, the conjugation of each noun, is a testament to ability.
I’ve never been to New York so this post might be completely unfair. But I for one feel so comfortable here in San Francisco; no matter who I’m speaking with I’m relaxed. If I ever had the chance to speak with anyone from that investment firm in New York I’m pretty sure I would feel like I’m being scanned head to foot with a judgement ray before they ask me for a tall soy no foam, non-fat latte .