Pros: Less time spent in learning new things, since most new technical skills will be abandoned in several years, so a lot of time is saved.
I agree that saving time is important, for stressful daddies like you and me. I try to identify those technology fads and avoid wasting time on them, except when the fad (like silverlight) is really needed on my job.
While working for big banks I feel I’m paying a price in terms of family life and my health (i.e. stress level).
Q: Is a less stressful job more healthy in the long run? not sure.
My OCBC job was slower after the initial 6 months, but my learning slowed down too much. I became less competitive less strong less marketable on the job market. That won’t help with long term well-being. So in this case answer is No.
My Citigroup contract project was also slower than other Wall St jobs, but I kept myself busy by learning c++. I guess the ideal situation is low-stress high-motivation, highly engaging. Perhaps a job we could cope well, but gives us motivation to exceed expectation. So in this case answer is Yes.
Overall, I felt (a bit) less stressful on Wall St as a contractor than now as an employee. As a result, my health condition was probably (a bit) better in U.S.
Paradoxically, I think my health condition has a lot to do with the job market demand — Wall St relatively easy to find a job, so I didn’t need to work so hard to keep a job.
Before entering finance IT, was my work stress lower? Sometimes yes sometimes no. Some of the stress on Wall St we can learn to cope, so it won’t affect health in a massive and destructive way. However, some of my non-finance jobs (in Singapore) were extremely unstable — one company let me go within 1 month, another company extended probation period. Stressful? What stress? Livelihood stress? I was a bachelor and didn’t feel stressful but I imagine a father of two would feel traumatized! In the early 2015 layoff, I was feeling really stressed and depressed after getting so few calls on the job market. I felt the local financial IT job market here was dead. The banks were not hiring. I was happy just to see a Barclays Singapore role below AVP. A Commerz bank java opening was taking 2-3 months to get approved.
Perhaps the key factor is the feeling of in-control — When I felt I could handle the turbulence, the ups and downs, the sudden changes… then I felt OK. Now, with kids, I need stable income and time to spend with family. I don’t like anything to rock my boat.
You don’t have to read these but my earlier comments are at
On Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 9:18 AM, you wrote:
Talking about learning, some people actively learn, just like what you did: plan what to learn, then take spare time to learn it. While some others passively learn, such as they are forced to learn in work. For example, one developer work in a company for several years, and then company wide technology upgrade to some main stream skills. So the developer can still keep pace with relatively new skills. Although those relatively new skills are not the latest, they should be proved to be accepted by big financial firms.
The latter guys won’t easily get an ideal job, but they should be able to get a job in most market conditions.
Cons: Difficult for them to pursue the ideal job. Dare not to change job just for better payment.
Pros: Less time spent in learning new things, since some most new technical skills will be abandoned in several years, so a lot of time is saved.
On Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 5:34 PM, Bin TAN (Victor) wrote:
Forgot to mention that my study of c#, c++ and financial math study
will, I believe, help with my career ….somewhere down the road. When
i get interview questions on these topics, I’m sure I can handle them
better thanks to my recent study. I tell myself to be patient with
this “investment” in myself.
As mentioned in the last mail, In the last 2 years after I came back
to SG, the study has slowed down quite a bit, but i believe i still
improved my knowledge and understanding in certain areas.
Another potential long-term return of my financial math study is ….
teaching as a career. A lot of finance professionals switch gear to an
academic career after a certain age. I keep this option open by
working hard on my studies. If i get decent grades i might qualify to
teach. Compared to financial IT, teaching is hopefully less stressful,
even though i don’t want to underestimate the job duty of a dedicated
teacher. A good teacher can really impart useful knowledge. I may not
be a top teacher but i have my strengths in this area.
On Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 1:38 AM, Bin TAN (Victor) wrote:
> I believe our mind (esp. our memory) is like a muscle. If we don’t
> seriously use it, it tends to age, weaken and lose capacity.
> Over the last 5 years, i spent 2009-2011 in the US on my own —
> tremendous learning and improvement, perhaps the most active learning
> period in my professional life. Then after I came back to SG, i
> studied financial math program, c#/dotnet, and some c++.
> I feel the serious study keeps my mind active. However, over the last
> 18 months, I notice various signs of my learning capacity reducing,
> but it’s not all due to aging —
> * biggest factor is lack of concentration, due to kids and family commitment
> * not enough time to periodically re-visit each topic,
> After all, I feel it’s vital and paramount to keep our mind in
> constant learning mode. 活到老学到老.