The other night I got a call from an old friend and without endeavoring to stuff this blog with the lyrics of Billy Joel’s “My Life,” we used to be very close and he told me—not as sharply or as succinct as Mr. Joel—that a couple years ago he decided that he could not go on the American way.
He was working for a big bank since we had both graduated college in May of 2007 and it did not seem to be cutting it for him anymore. His wages had stagnated, he stopped getting the annual promotions that he had grown accustomed to (he maintains they were nominal for all intents and purposes) and he had become disillusioned with the organization’s corporate culture.
With graduate schools saturated with students of all ages since the global financial crisis forced a tsunami of laid-off workers upon their doors, he left his job to get his Master’s in Business Administration.
Two years later he was out of school, removed from the everyday inertia of the workforce, and “recklessly ambitious,” as he put it. The deluge of sexy jobs he had heard about in business school did not seem to be raining down on him, however. No tech start-ups knocking on his door asking him to move to Silicon Valley and giving him an energy efficient car and a six-figure salary upon arrival. The NFL, the NBA and the MLB were not hiring, either. Could the idea that earning an MBA will get you an executive job in the highly sought-after industries be wrong?
After trying his hand in the start-up beverage world—an industry in which companies rise and fall out of power and popularity like the Top 40—he decided, after being sold a life insurance policy, to get the proper licensing and enter the financial services world.