Of rare breeds and buy low, sell high

The entry requires a tad of boring back story before I can get to the point:

The Series 7 (S7) exam is the exam that allows someone to legally give investment advice. My current employer doesn’t offer stock, so the S7 isn’t a necessity. They do, however, maintain the license for me. The Series 6 (S6), the S7’s much nicer younger sibling, is all that’s required. Things are moving in the direction of us becoming a full service broker dealer (i.e. offering stocks, options, etc.) rather than our current menu of annuities and mutual funds. Fascinating, I know. The S7 is 260 questions split into 2 sections with a 6 hour time limit. There’s a required 30 minute break between the two sections. The S6 is 100 questions with a 2 hour time limit. See what I mean about being the nicer younger sibling? I already have my S7, so I’m off the hook. Everyone who only has an S6 will need to upgrade to an S7 at some point over the next year or so.

My supervisor has his study materials for the S7 on order. I gave him a few tips on what to have a solid understanding of before going into the test. I studied several hours a day, five days a week, took a 4 day crash course, and still only passed by 1 point. Granted, I was new to the industry and working from scratch, but it’s still a test that requires a lot of time and effort to be able to pass. My biggest piece of advice was don’t get cocky just because he’s been in the industry a few years. When he asked me a few weeks ago why I was studying options strategies, I told him I wanted to do something remotely work related that might help me later on. If we are moving in the direction of going full service, there are exams I want to take that are entirely options based. Having those licenses would offer a ton of opportunities because they’re fairly rare. I’m currently a rare breed and I’d like to keep it that way. In short, I’m more than a little territorial.

I commented to someone else that by helping him out, he’ll owe me one later on. Why can’t I just offer advice because I can without expectation of anything in return? Help a brother out? Why should I expect something back in the first place? Well, we’re not friends. I’ll help my friends out for free, but you’re not my friend, so you better pony up, either now or in the future. Is that the kind of person I really want to be? It’s one thing to say “I’ll owe you one” knowing full well that you’ll return whatever favor because you want to. It’s entirely another to say “You’ll owe me one” and expect something in return whenever it suits. I could have refused to even offer the advice in the first place. I could have just kept it to myself. Instead, I told him what I’d learned from my own experience.That doesn’t mean he’s obligated to share something with me when I ask for it. (My advice was completely unsolicited. It came up in conversation).

I take a great deal of pride in the fact that I passed all four of my exams on the first try. Part of me feels like if he starts passing the same exams I have, first try or otherwise, then he’ll get promoted or selected or what have you over me. Again. He was hired after I was. He didn’t have any licenses when he came in. He doesn’t have a college degree. He skipped every entry and mid-level management position. I know I’ve said it before and I certainly don’t want his job (too much dealing with the great unwashed. Ew.). I don’t like feeling that my experiences, licenses, and ambition are being totally ignored and under used. I was able to tell another manager who isn’t currently in my chain of command about those issues. He consented that it’s a frustrating position to be in. If I give my supervisor tips and he passes based on what I told him, then I’ll feel like I screwed myself by helping him. After four rejections in as many months, it stings to think that I could be party to him still having a leg up over me. There’s probably another rejection looming. I interviewed for an internal position two weeks ago, a decision was supposed to be made last Friday, and I’m 99.8% sure I’ll be passed over for that one, too. Then I’m still left where I’ve been for the past 3 years doing exactly what I was doing when they hired me with no real options to move.

It’s normal to be frustrated. It’s normal to be upset because I know I walked in with much stronger credentials. Yet someone who, on paper, was inferior to me moves up faster than I could ever hope. While he and his supervisor have harped on how my attitude is holding me back, I honestly don’t think that’s a large part of it. Everyone I’ve interviewed with said I gave a solid interview. There’s just always been someone who edged me out. I’ve been second choice at least three times. The hard part is trying not to let it get me down.

Beth (Hailey’s doesn’t give a fuck younger sister), pops up with her opinion that I should just say “fuck you” and genuinely try to find something different. I know for a fact I could get paid more. I know I could find somewhere that would actually use my credentials to their true advantage. I wouldn’t be a rare breed any more, but I also wouldn’t be constantly frustrated and annoyed because I’m not being challenged at all. Hailey, on the other hand, is all about “What’s the point? You’ll just get rejected again anyway”.

I can sit in the mud and sulk all I want. Eventually, I’m going to have to get up, rinse myself off, and keep moving. My core is all about being able to get up again. I’ve survived a hell of a lot worse than being stuck in a rut at work. I’ve been in a sexually harassing work environment. At least my supervisor isn’t walking up behind me at my desk and touching me without my permission. I survived getting fired for a completely bullshit reason. I can survive this as long as I keep getting up and keep showing I want to move forward. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.



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