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"The Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed"


Liberty
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http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/the-advantage-of-being-a-little-bit-underemployed/

 

Interesting read.

 

Eighty years later this work schedule – originally designed for the endurance constraints of railroad depot workers – has become so ingrained that we rarely question it, regardless of profession.

 

Which is crazy.

 

The biggest employment change of the last century is the number of careers that shifted from physically exhausting to mentally exhausting. From doing stuff with your arms to doing stuff with your head.

 

Since the constraints of physically exhausting jobs are visible, we took decisive action when things weren’t working, like the Adamson Act. But the limits of mentally exhausting jobs are nuanced and less visible, so we get trapped in a spot where most of us work a schedule that doesn’t maximize our productivity, yet we do nothing about it.

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Nice article.

One small comment: I hear a lot of people complaining about mental exhaustion in relation to their job and I wonder if job satisfaction is an issue.

 

I have about ten quotes on the wall beside my "working" station and one of them is from Mr. Munger:

 

"It's been my experience in life [that] if you just keep thinking and reading, you don't have to work." :)

 

 

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Guest longinvestor

This is a terribly important issue for the 21st century. Whither the 8 hour work day / 40 hour, 5 day work week or even the 40-45 year career. Even if productivity grows at 2%, at some point the current paradigm of ever more consumption (versus input reduction) is unreasonable. No? Besides, 45 years in an average lifespan of 75 versus what, 75 of 120 by 2099?

 

Not to worry, Buffett’s thought experiment of that dreaded One-push-button will produce all of the output of 6 billion people today. And it won’t take any incremental capital at all. One winner will take it all. One guy (not me) will do the button pushing, the rest of us will be sipping or sniffing!

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"It's been my experience in life [that] if you just keep thinking and reading, you don't have to work." :)

 

I have also this quote in my working room.  :)

 

What are your other quotes on the wall?

 

Hi Charlie,

 

I have 10 quotes and most are not directly related to investing. The other relevant two are:

 

“Experience tends to confirm a long-held notion that being prepared, on a few occasions in a lifetime, to act promptly in scale, in doing some simple and logical thing, will often dramatically improve the financial results of that lifetime. A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind that loves diagnosis involving multiple variables. And then all that is required is a willingness to bet heavily when the odds are extremely favorable, using resources available as a result of prudence and patience in the past.” - Charlie Munger

 

"One good deal may create more wealth than 10 years of brilliant operations." - Marty Whitman

 

About you?

 

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Cigarbutt,

 

most of my quotes are also not directly related to investing.

These are more behavior-related.

But I can´t resist to post one of my all-time favorite quotes of Munger:

"If you stop to think about it, civilized man has always had soothsayers and shamans and

faith healers and God knows what all. The stock picking industry is four or five percent

super rational disciplined people. The rest of them are sort of like faith healers or shamans.

That´s the way it is, I´m afraid. It´s nice that they keep an image of being constructive,

sensible people when they´re really would-be faith healers. It keeps the self-respect up."  ;D

 

So the chance when you are talking with an investment advisor that you have a good one

is 1:20/25 against you.

 

 

 

 

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most of my quotes are also not directly related to investing.

These are more behavior-related.

But I can´t resist to post one of my all-time favorite quotes of Munger:

"If you stop to think about it, civilized man has always had soothsayers and shamans and

faith healers and God knows what all. The stock picking industry is four or five percent

super rational disciplined people. The rest of them are sort of like faith healers or shamans.

That´s the way it is, I´m afraid. It´s nice that they keep an image of being constructive,

sensible people when they´re really would-be faith healers. It keeps the self-respect up."  ;D

 

So the chance when you are talking with an investment advisor that you have a good one

is 1:20/25 against you.

 

I like this quote as well and, as is often the case with Mr. Munger, it has powerful implications.

 

I submit that it could be applied to other fields than investing and on a personal level. Whether you are a shaman who can repair cars, a guide into legal mazes or a “true” healer of physical ailments, how you bridge the gap between information asymmetry and competence will determine the value that you bring from the rational point of view.

 

The best way to bridge this gap is to make your “client” more competent. However, this noble objective may have a levelling effect on your profit margin. So, watch out, human nature at play.

 

Back to investing, this line of thinking helps us to remember that these shaman-type incentives contribute to mispricings and deviations from efficiencies, sometimes spectacularly so.

 

Why are humans so drawn to stories?

 

 

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Guest longinvestor

Cigarbutt,

 

most of my quotes are also not directly related to investing.

These are more behavior-related.

But I can´t resist to post one of my all-time favorite quotes of Munger:

"If you stop to think about it, civilized man has always had soothsayers and shamans and

faith healers and God knows what all. The stock picking industry is four or five percent

super rational disciplined people. The rest of them are sort of like faith healers or shamans.

That´s the way it is, I´m afraid. It´s nice that they keep an image of being constructive,

sensible people when they´re really would-be faith healers. It keeps the self-respect up."  ;D

 

So the chance when you are talking with an investment advisor that you have a good one

is 1:20/25 against you.

 

Charlie,

Great quote. I’ve had two RIA’s come into my life. I’m poorer when they left. Thankfully, it was over in my 30’s and 40’s. But in a perverse sense, those experiences lead me to reading Munger and Buffett. Recently, Fred Schwed reinforced this understanding like concrete. Here are some favorite shaman phrases:Getting alpha, Position sizing, Risk tolerance...

 

The big problem with the shaman ratio of 25:1 is that they are all around us. We get to see them because we choose the stuff we want to read. Most gullible  people are “found” by the shamans and end up listening to the mumbo jumbo fed to them.

 

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Liberty - Keep up the great work posting wonderful articles.  I really appreciate it and I am sure others do also.

 

Thanks for some great quotes guys.

 

I have index cards I call Daily Mental Tuning and Mental Tools.

It is a list of quotes and ideas and mental tools to help me in life. 

 

I use similarly to how a violinist tunes his instruments frequently only it for the mind.

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Liberty - Keep up the great work posting wonderful articles.  I really appreciate it and I am sure others do also.

 

Thanks for some great quotes guys.

 

I have index cards I call Daily Mental Tuning and Mental Tools.

It is a list of quotes and ideas and mental tools to help me in life. 

 

I use similarly to how a violinist tunes his instruments frequently only it for the mind.

 

Thanks.

 

That's a good idea, actually. Sometimes it only takes remembering an idea to trigger the whole "mental complex" associated with it and reinforce it. I use a few reminders on my phone to once in a while remind me of a few concepts. I'd be afraid that I'd forget to look at the index cards after a while.

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I probably walk for around 1.5-2 hours each day when I'm at work. During that time I'm thinking and reflecting. Even if I wanted to not do this I couldn't. After about 45 to 1hr of work I get restless and need to step away and walk. There is a nervous energy that builds inside of me. This happens really strongly when I'm in a social situation with a large number of people.

 

Basically everything described in the article I have been doing for most of my life because its basically genetically pre-programmed into me.

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I think the article while it doesn't delve too deep is pretty spot on.

 

Btw, I don't know anyone that works 40 hour weeks. And yes, they're generally pretty exhausted.

 

I think the most famous case of under employment was Albert Einstein. He had time at his job at the patent office to gaze out the window and perform his "thought experiments". He came up with the idea for special relativity while he was riding the bus. Now imagine if some managing director of something or other came to Einstein and said "you have to come up with special relativity by Tuesday at 8 PM and it better not have any spelling mistakes in it!". If that was the case I imagine we'd live in a vastly different world and not for the better.

 

In my view most people work for money. And in our current system the incentives are all screwed up. They're not designed to maximize productivity. So you get what you incentivize. Do I know a way to fix it? No.

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"It's been my experience in life [that] if you just keep thinking and reading, you don't have to work." :)

 

Caveat: must like thinking and reading.

 

Caveat: productive thinking and reading can be exhausting even if you like them. So maybe not work by definition, but nonetheless work in terms of how long and how much you can do.

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