lunch break meditations

so i sit here, in my cubicle on the 15th floor of the National Football League office in midtown manhattan, not quite believing that days like this, when i bring up lunch from the huddle cafe to eat at my desk while surfing the internet, are numbered. i wasn’t feeling too well in the stomach the past two days, so i decided to be cautious today and got myself wild mushroom brisket soup, a piece of hard bread, some fresh mozarella with tomatoes and roasted peppers, and a piece of pan roasted salmon with strawberry salsa. at $6.17 for all this, and a tall starbucks coffee included, i don’t know where else in new york you can find as good a deal for such gourmet foods.

since handing in my final paper of my undergraduate career last thursday – a 12-pager for my chinese cinema class (I wrote it on Blue Kite, an excellent movie) – i’ve been bracing myself for the next chapter of my life (I know, how cliche) and i can only wonder what the transition will be like. to work long hours, to have no more papers or lectures (to fall asleep in), to no longer be a part of a campus (if i ever was), and to have the added responsibilites of living outside a pre-furnished, pre-managed college environment. hunting for apartments has been my most time-consuming task. i’ve seen apartments in chelsea, financial district and upper east side so far. i’ll have to check out murray hill and midtown west today.

yesterday i finally finished reading Barbarians at the Gate which chronicles the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco eventually won by the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. in reading about the true life drama behind the scenes and the notion of managing the biggest deal in the history of business not only made me excited about working in finance but also made me question what the whole point of it was. the authors of the book do make the point that this whole LBO craze was an invention of Wall Street which, in the end, had nothing to do with the business of selling tobacco or cookies, which was how the company had made all its money in the first place. it really made me think about the business i am getting into – a place where you try to shift perceptions and profit from the visible difference, charging lucrative fees along the way. but of course, there is no need to exaggerate. financial services exist because companies have demonstrated need for restructuring debt or finding ways to fund new investments. it’s just that every once in a while, the market tends to allow for some questionable maneuvers that warrants criticism, regulation, and even punishment. i do feel good about writing that 25-page paper on investment banking during the Great Depression last semester.

i’m not quite sure how well i’ll use my time in the next month and a half. i hope to be industrious and productive, but that is always just wishful thinking at best. i keep having pleasant thoughts about playing basketball at Hidden Park again with my high school buddies. a few days ago, i wondered why i didn’t have the same male support group at Columbia as i had in high school. i realized that i hardly played the amount of sports here and whenever i did, it was with random people. i guess athletic activity is one of the most effective ways of bonding with people, and i am a bit regretful that i missed out on it during college. but hopefully a great deal of ball awaits when i return to edison next week.

i need to run to broad street now to check out an apartment. i doubt we’ll get this place because it is a bit out of the way, but it sounds like a good deal so who knows. it’s too bad none of us – me, warren, and rich – work at goldman sachs because this place would be an ideal location for it. i hope my j.crew shoes – the pair i bought last week after throwing up on my other black pair of shoes – doesn’t bother me too much. it’s one size too big, but i stuffed a piece of napkin on the back heel to prevent it from rubbing against the skin. i know – i am resourceful.

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