The extreme stress of trading tends to fray investment bankers' wiring for decision making. Soon enough they are out of time. Athletes who can't land sponsorships or sports announcement jobs after their peak are usually finished. Speechwriters who can't capture the rhetorical ethos of the era are also done.
They become the kinds of leftovers whom Lynne Segal deconstructs in her 2013 book "Out of Time." When they do, she observes, "Hard times, hard feelings, extreme physical or mental deterioration can imprison people." The Northeast Corridor is full of them, living behind the bars created by nature and cultural age bias. Here you can order it from Amazon.com.
Ghostwriters, though, surf history. In researching an opinion-editorial for The Wall Street Journal on the changing legal marketplace, we know to do a deep dive for information about how Corporate America navigated that in the late 1970s and beyond. That's when the U.S. was no longer the top dog in the international arena.
We also know how to identify emerging trends among all generations. What about Generation Z's disinterest in academic degrees? Will that shutter a large number of law schools?
Our ranks are full of over-educated, over-degreed, once under-employed observers of the world. At Chevron, we were doctoral candidates in linguistics, literature and philosophy. At social events, the business folks would roll their eyes. But they knew to exploit our added value.
Can other professionals learn to time travel in ways that allow them to continue to earn a good living?
Of course. For example, after former McKinsey head Rajat Gupta is released from federal prison for insider trading he can return to who he was before the darkness overtook him. For that he might have to spend time back in his homeland India.