Saturday, November 15, 2008

Office Moguls

Mental Rehab Post #37
More of the detritus of the many days I've spent. Suddenly things are in flux, and I haven't had the time to stick more than a minute into anything. And I'm suddenly concerned about things I should have taken care of weeks if not months ago. A simple error may have life changing consequences. But more about that later. Now, more crap from the back of my mind.

In my office, for the past few months, I have been victim of someone who does not have enough to do.

I've unfortunately become intimately aware of a number of things in his life...his apartment break-in, a piece of land he owned jointly with his sister, what he hoped to do with his land, his sister's objections to his plans, his plan for the house on said land, the hybrid car he bought, a certification he wants to get, the certificate for his new certification he didn't get, his entire stock portfolio, his theory of stock activity and market movement, how much he got when he sold the land to his sister, the house he wants to buy, the other house he wants to buy, what he'll have to do to this other house to make it livable, what his doctor said, the joy of his new iPhone, his political opinions and the fact that he didn't know if he was registered to vote or not, his unique brand of sarcasm, his new diet, this other house he's looking at, his new found joy of cigars and if you'll note...

....I haven't mentioned his actual JOB once. It's not that I'm listening. He's an older guy, who looks much older than he is and who sits a row over from me and has apparently no perception that sound carries.

The office rule is you do not as him questions if at all possible. Especially not his opinion.

He sits next to another older guy who enjoys snakes, playing videos of his cello concerts on his computer for whole office to hear and talking about his own meager stock portfolio. He also has no perception that sound carries. I have no reason to part of his conference calls, which he perfers to have on speaker phone. He doesn't understand why I have a problem.

I knew I should have taken that office with a door when they offered it to me.

I make this entry, because as I plod through my day, it has dawned on me that neither of them truly understands what they're doing. Guy B understands more than Guy A, but only by a little. And both of them understand less than that.

These two guys are the reason that Bush's plan that everyone needed to invest their retirement accounts in the stock market was flawed. It assumes that A) either everyone will know what they're doing or B) those that don't know what they're doing will be wise enough to consult a professional. As I listened to someone admit they'd emptied their 401k to do some investing ( he freely admits he's day trading his retirement ), it occurred to me that maybe...just maybe... the stock market isn't for everyone.

That same idea also strikes me when one of them can't comprehend why everybody keeps saying everything is so bad because the stock market hasn't completely crashed and gone to zero. The idea that all the financiers who supply the companies they want to invest in are writing down billions and staring down the concept of going belly up doesn't register with these "traders". They are apparently in the 10% who think the country is on the right course. Guy A is still trying to figure out how he can "flip" a house.

With no studying of the data, fueled only by "somebody told mes" and an "I figure" based on a blurb or apparently gut feeling (I haven't seen a single copy of the WSJ or even Fox Business news or Bloomberg or anything even semi-research related) they invest for hours at a time on the company clock via their PDAs and company computers announcing loudly $500 losses or $50 gains and wonder why their bosses think they're not really working. These are the men who will need Social Security or a well managed pension fund.

But maybe its that I'm not that bright. Because both of them make more than I and obviously aren't busy all day. So maybe I need to shut up and pay attention.


Barkeep - Cutty Sark. And Boone's farm for my friends.

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