From the November 2006 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

November 1, 2006

Thankful

As the turkey's least favorite time of the year arrives, I reluctantly must face the inevitable truth. Another precious year has passed -- and I still have no idea what to get anyone for the holidays.

Each month has its own unique traditions, and November is certainly no exception. It's the time of the year when our inner pilgrim gives thanks. No matter how miserable the past year has been, if we search hard enough, we're bound to find a few things that make us fall to our knees to give thanks. Maybe it's something of a personal nature like, "I'm thankful I only gained 50 pounds this year." Or maybe it is something more professional like, "I'm thankful I was able to come up with 12 ideas for this column." Whatever category it falls into, now is the time to show your gratification.

In the spirit of the season, I decided to uncover what it would take to make our peers dish out the candied yams to celebrate. So I reached out to many of my old friends scattered throughout the securities industry and asked each of them the same question: What are you most thankful for this past year? Here's some of what I heard:

J.A., Head of Compliance at a BD: "I'm thankful Compliance is sexy again." (Come again?!)

C.C., Mutual Fund Wholesaler: "I'm thankful my boss doesn't look at my expense reports."

L.R., VA Wholesaler: "I'm thankful my wife doesn't look at my expense reports."

A.G., Retired Fed Worker, Washington, D.C.: "I'm thankful Andrea Mitchell has a thing for older men."

B.B., Fed Worker, Washington, D.C.: "I'm thankful the old man finally retired."

P.P., Hedge Fund Manager, Stamford, Conn: "I'm thankful no one can figure out how much money I make . . . until I tell them."

A.D., Recruiter at an Independent B/D: "I'm thankful for AMEX."

J.C., CNBC Host: "I'm thankful people like to hear me yell and scream."

M.B., CNBC Host: "I'm thankful I don't look like Lou Dobbs."

E.S., AG of NY: "I'm thankful for mutual fund insider trading."

As you can see, each of us has very different ideas about what to be thankful for. That's the beauty of it. I'll bet by now you've started compiling your own list of goodies. Keep it up. And while we're at it, let's knock off a little CE credit.

I'm sure you've heard that this is the first year of the new securities industry CE regulation that requires a "mandatory period of thanks" in or around the month of November. You will be happy to know that the SEC and I have struck a deal that allows you to satisfy this new requirement simply by reading this entire column. Let's begin, shall we?

Have you thought of anything to be thankful for? If the only thing you've come up with is being thankful that you're not a turkey, try this simple five-step process to facilitate the trip to Thankification.

Step 1. Have a shot and a beer.

Step 2. Inhale deeply through your nose.

Step 3. Reflect on the previous year -- gently sifting through the tragedy.

Step 4. Give thanks for anything that is important to you.

Step 4. Exhale through your mouth.

Step 5. Have a shot and a beer.

Repeat this process until you run out of things to be thankful for or you lose consciousness, whichever comes first.

Congratulations! You have now completed your mandatory requirement for one Thankful CE credit. You will receive your certificate in the mail in six to eight weeks -- just in time to start focusing on the new SEC New Year's Resolution requirement.

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Once a mildly amusing comedian, columnist Bill Miller now works as an industry wholesaler; reach him at writingbill.mac.com.

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