Friday, June 22, 2007

Smartest Guys in the Room (plus still prego)

I anticipated pain, nausea, fatigue ... all the nasty bits of giving birth. I didn't anticipate the waiting game. You'd think waiting would be easier. After all, being pregnant is so much easier than having a newborn. And having an overdue baby is generally better than a premature baby. But I am officially one week overdue and not entirely thrilled about it. (Though actually I think my due date was a bit off and I'm actually only 4 days over.) I'm ready to start my post-pregnant life.

So we watched the Enron movie finally. Funny little flashback. Enron feels like a lifetime away. It was interesting to think about how the company impacted my own life even though it was so far removed from me. But if it weren't for the company and the California energy market crisis, I don't know that I ever would have gotten interested in the energy markets, written a thesis on energy issues and started out at a energy trading company first thing after college. (And now want to invest in energy markets/technologies post-MBA.) I wanted to be an energy trader when I graduated college. (Until I realized, West Coast trading hours were just not my thing.) I remember reading about Enron in the last year or so of college and wanting to work for them. I actually interviewed with Enron and Arthur Andersen in the Spring of 2001 for a summer internship. (ha!) It was my first foray into the corporate world and I was completely naive so I assumed the interviews went badly because I was just unprepared, not because they were just really miserable interviews. In hindsight they were the most unpleasant interview experiences I've ever had. But that's another story. But then two years later I ended up living in Houston, staring up at that empty Enron building ... and meeting piles of ex-Enron types. And being very, very glad Enron did not deem me worthy of hiring.

But watching the movie made me reflect on my own concerns about corporate ethics and the impact of greed and sheer human hubris in this career path I've chosen. On the one hand, I am very much motivated by money (I grew up in very modest means and have no desire to relive that) and unfortunately am not completely without desire for some degree of prestige and status. On the other hand, prestigous, big-name firms make me a bit uneasy. I am more comfortable in a start-up, underdog situation where it's much harder for folk to rest easy on past acheivements. I hate the back-patting, favor trading mentality that can be hard to step out of once you've stepped in. And the sheer blindness of the sell-side folk to Enron's issues is still hard for me to wrap my mind around. How can pumping a crap stock be good for your career in the end? Would I have been tempted to do the same? Can even the most ethical and prudent among us be blinded to the obvious potential long-term consequences of chasing short-term benefits?

Not new questions or revelations by any means. But as I approach my MBA life phase and think about the possibility of graduating with a fresh pick of employers, these are the type of questions on my mind. Enron is not an every day occurance but I think mini-Enron situations do occur on a fairly regular basis and I just wonder how they might cross my path again.

And Happy Summer Solstice!

1 comment:

DreamingLady said...

Is your baby a girl or boy? It is good to have due day before the school starts. Wish you have a smooth delievery. I am here still waiting for my due day in November. Much worse situation. Enjoy breasfeeding baby in summer at least.