A Wall Street Banker Turned to Comedy for Happiness and a Career Change
“We can’t be all we could be.” That is what I heard from so many friends over the years. “Even if we give up every other ambition in our life, we’ll never be satisfied. Something is never enough.”
But is that true? Is striving to be something more than enough, the “more” we’re never enough for? There’s a very practical reason to ask such questions.
For centuries we’ve been told that more than enough is, well, enough. It was a useful concept for businesses. And it’s still an appealing one for anyone who wants to make money.
I suspect that in the long run we are all too tired to worry about such practical matters, and that the idea of striving for more than enough is, for all practical purposes, a pipe dream.
So, in my view, the “more” you are striving for is something the rest of us—including, it turns out, Wall Street—think you already have. It turns out that there’s a very specific, and surprisingly practical, definition of what it is to have more than enough that you can actually use.
It is to be in control of something that’s already yours.
A few years ago, I was contacted by an executive at a very large, publicly traded financial company and asked if I’d like to apply to be its chief marketing officer. My first job out of college had been as an investment banker for a small, private firm. The company where I was working had just been acquired by a bigger firm and I was going to be sent to work for the new owners.
So, when it was all said and done, I was going to be taking over the marketing department at the new firm.
I was being recruited for the first time, but I didn’t know it. My decision-making authority in this case was actually zero, because when I arrived at the top of the organizational pyramid—and not much lower—my boss’s boss was the head of the company. So I was stuck with a very small marketing role.
The CEO never even met me and, after a few months of that, I came to the conclusion that I’