I was inspired to write this after reading the thread of others' jobs. What interested me was it made me realize my world is so different. I wish I knew more people with jobs that some of you have. I have a well paying job with a potentially rich future. Currently I am still in "entry level" so to speak but I make about 120k/year. My bosses boss makes $950k/year but realistically I don't want to go that far because to get there your life has to become work. I have a PhD in economics and loved teaching, but my student loans more or less put me at the poverty line when I taught. Academia is a giant hazing ritual and you don't become middle class, even with a PhD, until about 8-10 years in. I went to a lower school so that doesn't hold for top tier types but even a Harvard PhD is hardly going to be upper middle class even mid career. So I left, went to work for a large bank headquarters. I build statistical models that predict the chance of default for large commercial loans. For loans like these, $5 million is considered small. These are loans to build a shopping mall, hotel, or that large apartment complex in your neighborhood. Day to day, I sit at a cubicle in a large downtown skyscraper. Suits walk around looking important. Everyones so dang serious. I am a "quant" as in "quantitative" and out of all the quants in the bank, I can count on one hand how many were born in the Western Hemisphere. Cultural differences are kindof a big deal and nothing feels more American than overhearing a Pakistani try to talk to a Chinese guy and a Turk in English. My tool is a statistical program called SAS that I literally hate with ever fiber of my being. SAS was developed on punchcards and it has maintained itself as the standard despite being horrible much like MS Office. For you programmers - SAS to this day still operates as if you were feeding it punchcards. I learned statistical programming with more modern languages and SAS is truly a relic of the 1960s that needs to be put to bed. Anyways the result is I spend nearly all day and many weekends wrestling with this ancient piece of crp and trying not to lose my cool in cubicle city. I am allowed to work from home one day a week and I try to do my real SAS coding at home with beer to manage the "fun" of coding. How fun is SAS? Well I wrote a complex program to cycle through about 65,000 potential default models and there is no useful debugger. Plus, when things fail the errors are cryptic to the point of being useless. All I really know when it fails is "something went wrong and I think it happened in this area." My wife takes the kids to the park when I am into it at home because I scream at it sometimes so much that I literally start crying. I am a grown man by the way. I have also been programming since I was 13 (C/C++ and many others). I have simply never seen a language that is at its core highly discouraging of complex programming. I'll could go on and on but I won't. The neat thing is I am good at it and better than my coworkers simply because most are so intimidated/frustrated with it that they give up. I can write much better programs because I yell at it and get it out of my system. Other frustrations involve my coworkers -there is a strong tendency amongst many to see "getting ahead" as "trash my coworkers and make them look bad to the boss." This week my model was challenged by another team and they start out the presentation with "We did it so much better than John." My name is not John but for this post it is. I was distrustful of their results because the guy presenting is a known liar. He has Harvard on his resume but only took an online class (he went to a much, much less prestigious school). Thankfully his reputation is well known. I went back to my cubicle and was puzzled that they didn't report certain statistics and summary information. Low and behold, I found out they cherry picked the data when I opened up their version of my data. They basically took 10% of it. Oh and in the process, deleted the other 90%. We call it "trying to be CEO." If you meet a new coworker we often say "I'm not trying to be CEO." It's a way of saying "I am not going to try to make you look bad in front of others." At my last job at another bank our department had two teams that did not compete yet the other manager consistently trashed us and called group meetings to trash our work, more often than not for no good reason other than he was "trying to be CEO." Its dumb because one of my mentors actually was on track to be CEO - he quit and decided he had enough money at age 50. He told me that to actually move higher up, trust is vital and that behavior backfires. Sure enough - that manager that was "trying to be CEO" got removed and shipped off to another group. I learned from my mentor that actually trying to be CEO isn't my thing. He gave the first 20 years of his life to it and only after quitting did he get married and have his first kid - at age 50.