I wanna be a hedge fund manager

May 23, 2007, 7:33 PM UTC
Fortune


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All my life I’ve wanted to have a job that paid me ridiculously well regardless of performance. In that regard, my career has been a gross and total failure. Every year things get harder and harder, and nobody cuts me no slack. When I screw up, I get poleaxed. When things go well, I get a raise that makes perfect sense to anybody worried about corporate governance.  

It’s always been that way, but I’m not complaining. I guess I’m doing all right. I am not, however, making enough money to buy the entire economic output of Sierra Leone. I don’t even want whatever that is. Good luck to them with it. I do, on the other hand, want a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan. I’d have to mortgage my left leg to do it, though. That’s because I’m not running a hedge fund.

Hedge fund managers take a tasty little bite out of every dollar they manage, whether they’re successful in growing their clients’ ostrich eggs of capital or not. They do better, of course, if they do produce profits, but even if they don’t, two percent of a zillion dollars is still a couple of quadrillion. There’s very little downside, is what I’m saying. Big upside. No downside. That sounds like my kind of job.

My problem is I don’t really understand the technology. For instance, the concept of going short or long has been explained to me almost as many times as I’ve received instruction in the game of craps, with approximately the same result. I don’t even know enough to play. I understand that hedge funds deal with tiny fractions of a dollar, turning them into wads of crisp green. My fractions of dollars tend to stay that way.

I’m not giving up, though. I figure with hard work and sustained intellectual effort, I could become a very, very bad hedge fund manager… producing in several years of deplorable results only a small winery in Sonoma rather than the 2500 acre estate in Tuscany that would be the reward for the hedge fund manager who actually knew what he was doing.

That’s all right. I could deal with that kind of failure. I’ve always been willing to pay the price for my own shortcomings, and the hedge fund game seems like one willing to mete out the kind of punishments I’ve always felt I deserved. References available upon request.