Getting a job in banking is hard. Keeping it, and thriving in it, is much harder. At the LSE Alternative Investment Conference, employees from Goldman Sachs‘ asset management team gave a talk to prospective students about work-life balance and purpose.
Yaajan Govinda, executive director and cancer survivor (which we’ve written about here) likened many students’ approach to getting a job to getting very good at pickup lines. “You’ve managed to get that date, but nobody’s taught you how to be in a healthy relationship.”
Things will be hard, but Govinda called setbacks “stepping stones to success.” He said his unique circumstances gave him “so many opportunities that wouldn’t have come around had I not had cancer.” Govinda said failure is “an event, not a person,” and you shouldn’t take it personally when it isn’t.
Tobi Tikolo, a VP who joked that he was “born in Goldman, raised in Goldman” told students “gratitude is an absolute superpower.” He said it’s not just about “appreciating the journey you’ve been on,” but having the “grace to say I’m important enough to have time for myself.” He espoused both meditation and exercise as a means of doing this.
Tikolo also talked about the importance of inspiration, turning to cinema. He follows Matthew McConaughey’s mantra of wanting “something to look up to, something to look forward to, and something to chase” each day.
Inspirations can be dangerous, however. Tikolo highlighted the ending of the movie Whiplash as an inspiring moment, demonstrating “commitment to a craft” and the “emotion of giving your all to something.” In reality, the ending is a little more up to interpretation; its director Damien Chazelle envisions the protagonist Neiman going on to be “a sad, empty shell of a person [that] will die in his 30s of a drug overdose.” Neiman, however, was not thankful, nor did he meditate.
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