One of the points I write in “Party Like It’s 1999 – 10 Takeaways From This Recession” is that people have short memories. Back in the first quarter of 2009, there was massive populist outrage over Wall St. bonuses. Who could blame the people, when folks such as Andrew J. Hall collected $100 million despite Citigroup taking tens of billions in assistance from the government and is now 1/3 owned by us.
The Wall Street Journal reported that 2009 Wall Street compensation will breach 2007 levels, and Goldman Sach’s average compensation per employee will reach $734,000 vs. “only” $364,000 last year and 12% higher than 2007 peak! WOW! Sign me up! I almost spit out my Honey Nut Cheerios when I read the news. Yet, after scanning over 200 blogs yesterday not one decided to highlight this story. Meanwhile, take a quick search of posts 10 months ago and you can see the outrage that populated the media.
WHERE DID ALL THE ANGER GO?
So what happened to the anger the media displayed at the beginning of the year? A return to a crazy bull market is what happened! Most of us, whether we know it in our bank accounts or not have benefited from the rebound in the stock markets. Even those who are unemployed should feel optimistic about 2010 because the markets are leading indicators for the economy. Amazing how we no longer care about the eye-popping compensation figures anymore because our own wealth is growing again.
This leads me to a serious question: Why are we so hypocritical to skewer people who make more than us in bad times, and not care when the good times return? Shouldn’t we take out our pitchforks and chant ridiculous phrases such as “give us back our tax payer dollars before you buy yourself a Rolex!”?
DEALING WITH ANGER & JEALOUSY
It’s human nature to feel jealous of others. But, jealousy always makes people feel more miserable. We need to focus on ourselves and figure out ways to better our own lives instead of whine about others. How do we fight our jealousy? May I suggest doing what my mother told me as a child and think about good karma.
Whenever someone is doing better than you by making more money, getting a promotion sooner, finding the love of their life or scoring with every sexy being on the planet, think about their past karma. This person you envy must have done fantastic deeds earlier in her life, or even in her previous life if you believe in reincarnation, to deserve what she has now. With this train of thought, you free yourself from jealousy and start focusing on ways you can do good to improve your own karma.
Believe in the goodness of others and you’ll start believing in the goodness of yourself.
Readers, is it possible to ever stop comparing ourselves to others? What to do when you start feeling you’re falling further behind?
Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
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