This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Why Jamie Dimon Wouldn't Hire J.P. Morgan

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Benjamin Franklin - author, entrepreneur, scientist and revolutionary...

Emilie du Chatelet - physicist, mathematician, mother of four, and early developer of financial derivatives...

Thomas Edison - inventor, free-thinker, businessman and moralist...

Throughout history, talented men and women have often been polymaths who spent their lives mastering many different skills and pursuing many different careers. After all, being a jack-of-all-trades is wired into our DNA; we're all descended from ancestors who survived and thrived by becoming adept in numerous areas of expertise.

Sadly, such "mile-wide" ability is in far less demand today. Instead, welcome to the world of "mile-deep" vocations -- Renaissance Men and Women need not apply.

A generation ago, bank training programs eagerly hired art history, Russian literature and semiotics majors. My first VP title was the short and simple "Corporate Lender." Today, university sophomores and juniors are aggressively quizzed on financial minutia when applying for ten-week summer internships. And current VP positions have hyper-specific titles like " Americas Equity Linear Quantitative Research Algorithmic Trading Quant Development."

Institutional narrowing and deepening is also a top-down phenomenon. Financial titan J.P. Morgan lived in five countries before the age of 21, spoke fluent German and French, collected priceless art, and built museums as well as billion-dollar conglomerates. Jamie Dimon, current heir to the Morgan Empire, has never lived abroad, speaks expletive-laden English, and lists "running" as his only hobby. The situation is no different at Goldman Sachs where CEO Lloyd Blankfein was well into his 40s before he learned that short-shorts and knee-high tube socks were less than conventional golfing attire; his predecessor Bob Rubin was almost 60 when he first heard of music icons Aretha Franklin and Eartha Kitt.

So like it or not -- and to the almost certain detriment of the industry -- admittance to today's financial service executive suites requires that we first stifle our natural inclination to diversify our skills and explore different careers. Instead, we must put all of our eggs into the banking basket -- and watch it very carefully.

THE CAREER ICONOCLAST'S WEEKLY ACTION ITEMS:

1.) Carve out an hour to inventory your skills in terms of the "mile-wide"/ "mile-deep" skills spectrum. If your current resume details a "portfolio career" of banking, consulting and entrepreneurial experience, it's time to pull up your socks and focus exclusively on a single industry and a specific specialty. The more robust your skills in any one field, the better positioned you are to succeed.

2.) Again, watch your "basket" of career skills. Research current job opportunities, and future sector growth, within your "mile-deep" specialty. If the prognosis isn't good, it's time to segue to an alternate area of expertise.

3.) Finally, if you don't currently have a hobby about which you're passionate, get one ASAP! Running doesn't count. Doing so will likely not advance your career, but you'll be a far happier and far more interesting human being.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,279.74 +13.75 0.08%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,579.7890 -13.6380 -0.30%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs