Saturday, October 22, 2011

Menial, Useful

Fascinating things are happening. Occupy Wall Street for example. How is it that certain people are paid millions of dollars for work - work which is not really that amazing or productive? If Apple creates a revolutionary product and charges people good money, where they have the discretion of buying it, I believe it is more than acceptable. If an organisation jeopardises the financial system through leverage while paying its employees insane amounts of money for long and rather un-intelligent work, that is odd.

I am writing about this because I met a friend yesterday who quit her seemingly cushy job at GS India. She is probably quite intelligent but the work she did, as is in most investment banks, was quite mind-numbing - literally. I have worked at a small investment bank and even though I don't know what really goes on at the larger I-Banks, I do know that they employ an army of people who can work crazy hours at typically 'programmed' jobs. These 'Analysts' (please dont get me started on the first year, second year and third year analysts) and 'Associates' largely mine data and prepare documents. These documents may be for internal review, marketing or presentation purposes. They are paid wild amounts of money for the implied dedicated hours of work they will perform.
An example of disparity: A person working as a copywriter in an advertising agency may be paid INR 50K to 100K per month (I am being very optimistic here). A copywriter is a creative person and quite often he/ she will come up with interesting ideas/ concepts for advertisements or presentation. Real work that be.
An analyst at an investment bank usually prepares pitch books or public information booklets or financial models. According to me, this work is compilation of data in a more presentable format. And these guys are paid upwards of INR 150K per month.
Ridiculous this disparity be.

The reason I write about this is that I see many friends working at sad places and or sad profiles and or for sad money, but thus be life. With this, I go back to Europe. Appreciation for fashion, art, creation, life, outdoors, society and a lesser emphasis on materialistic pursuits. (Lesser not no).
The nature of work has changed drastically. Work used to be more immediate (Bake cookies, sell cookies) or (make steel, sell steel). The supply chain was shorter and life's conveniences were not many. I see that in India, the sheer abundance of people makes many employed people rather useless at their jobs. Tasks can be unbelievably menial.
And this goes out to those who know me. Let's do something really worthwhile with our lives. We should, for what else could life be worth?

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