My next Guest Star goes by many titles, not all of which he’s willing to repeat in public.
I found him to be a humble and wise man whose area of expertise is very near and dear to my heart— in fact I’d say it’s my Holy Grail—my Golden Calf. Literally.
I’m proud to report that in the presence of all that wealth, I was able to maintain the utmost professionalism. I searched deep into my soul and saw profound truths. Truths like, “Man I wish I were rich!”
I could tell my reverential attitude made an impression on my Guest Star, too…
HDYGT: Welcome to How Did You Get There, Mr. Reed, please tell us what you do for a living?
Tom Reed: Well, I guess the broad term would be Sales… I am a Financial Advisor, Stockbroker, Customers man…those are a few of my epitaphs. But I also answer to names not repeatable in polite company. (smiles)
HDYG: Really? That sounds exciting, what other names?
Tom Reed: That was a joke…remember when working with someone’s money, oftentimes you are working with the nearest and dearest thing to their hearts.
HDYG: It’s amazing to hear you say that, because money has always been the dearest thing to my heart! Wow, it’s as if you can read into my soul. Are you trained in mysterious Asian arts?
Tom Reed: No. (questioning look over HDYGT’s shoulder to secretary sitting outside his office; secretary blanches)
HDYG: How long have you been an esteemed leader in this holy profession?
Tom Reed: (raises eyebrows, his secretary winces apology) Are you kidding?
HDYG: I never make light of something as serious as money! It would be a sacrilege.
Tom Reed: OK. Well, I’ve been in finance for 42, sometimes long, years.
HDYG: Just as I thought, you’re like a sensei master! What drew you to this?
Tom Reed: (removes glasses, rubs eyes) My involvement with people. I love people—even if they are a bit odd. (eyeing HDYGT)
HDYG: And I understand everyone really admires you, too.
Tom Reed: Let me put it this way: I even love them when the markets are sinking along with their money, at which occasion my love is not always reciprocated. (chuckles)
HDYG: I see. Your job on earth is to not always endow others with riches, but on rare occasions to teach us how to appreciate things other than money. (HDYGT bows head respectfully)
Tom Reed: (wonders what kind of incense HDYGT’s been smoking)
HDYG: What special qualities have prepared you for this life of enriching others?
Tom Reed: My epidermis, while having a strong resemblance to normal skin, is actually a suit of case hardened metal…very similar to what knights wore in medieval Europe. This is helpful when financial markets are sinking.
HDYG: I knew it! You transform into a warrior to fight for your flock. Lo, I have heard tell of this.
Tom Reed: (looks pleadingly for his secretary to remove this nut job, but she’s snuck off)
HDYG: What innate qualities, or skills have you cultivated which help in your success?
Tom Reed: Finally—a real question. Initially, I was drawn into financial asset management because I was a risk taker. What better casino than the New York Stock Exchange? The only drawback, they didn’t serve drinks. (smiles)
HDYG: (nods with utmost solemnity)
Tom Reed: (rolls eyes) After a scary initiation, I became adept at analysing people. Prior to offering advice, I wanted to understand them…their marital status, age, present and future financial needs, earnings potential, emotional ability to accept risk, and many other pertinent pieces of information. Combine that challenge with my enjoyment of people, and I was a happy boy.
HDYG: I see. Your early youth was like that of every great warrior, filled with fiery challenges designed to test you, after which you came out victorious!
Tom Reed: What ever you say. (shakes head, makes note to dock secretary’s salary for scheduling interview)
HDYG: What did you do immediately before this?
Tom Reed: I started as a trainee, followed by a two year stint as a research analyst, and have been Senior Vice President of Investments for 15 years.
HDYG: And before that?
Tom Reed: I was an international banker in a Latin American republic…
HDYG: ¡Ay, caramba!
Tom Reed: You do realize that means: ‘Oh Crap’?
HDYG: Oh? (Amazed and inspired) I thought it meant, “Please hire me for my sheer enthusiasm and keen language skills.”
Tom Reed: (blank face)
HDYGT: Before that?
Tom Reed: Before that I received my Masters Degree in International Relations…
HDYG: (can’t believe the similarities) I have international relatives!! My brother has a chiguagua!!
Tom Reed: (speaks even more quickly, trying to finish this interview) …prior to which I was a U.S. Navy Intelligence Officer and Aerial Navigator…and before that I was a (totally) irresponsible college boy dedicated to the pursuit of girls and beer.
HDYG: Wow! Such a rich path you have chosen, filled with curves and bends, to lead you where you are today.
Tom Reed: (scratches head) Which path do you mean? The one I followed as an irresponsible college boy? No, I don’t know exactly what led me where I am today…part serendipity and part…serendipity.
HDYG: What life lessons do you wish to impart?
Tom Reed: I think most of us don’t “plan” our vocation. If we’re interested in biology, we might wind up in medicine or research, and if we’re mechanically inclined, we’ll probably become engineers, architects, contractors, etc. But precisely where we’ll end up?? Who knows?
HDYG: That’s it? (deflated)
Tom Reed: Oh, All right!! (sweeping gesture) I have drifted along on life’s tides. Somehow, I washed up where I am today. (signals his secretary, who’s back from cigarette break, that the interview is over)
(Secretary runs in to escort HDYGT out of his office.)
HDYG: (bowing forehead onto floor) Thank you, Tom Reed, for sharing your story…..And as always, Thank You so much for Playing!!
Originally published November 9, 2009