I used to work with this guy who had received a great deal of money in an inheritance. Seriously, the dude came to work and he literally didn’t need to come to work any more. That kind of money. I watched as his behavior changed over time. Subtly at first he went full on ‘I don’t give a rat’s hairy ass’ after a while.

He started coming to work with Winnie the Pooh ties. He was late 40s or so. Soon, the ties stopped, the shorts stopped, and the whole 100 acre team was on t shirts while the rest of us were in suits. That guy went ‘Full-on Winnie the Pooh.’

Awesome, right?

That’s to be expected I guess with such a windfall.

But What If Your Assets Aren’t Covered?

But that kind of psychology is dangerous. That guy had his assets covered. He didn’t have to work.

But what if you got a lot of money, enough money to be life-changing but not enough to retire. Could you swing it or would Eeyore be your next clothing assistant?

The Acceptable Arrogance Level

After a certain time at work you come to find exactly how far you can push the arrogance line. This line changes with each promotion, each status title, and upon the need and uniqueness of your skill set. For example the full-partner in a law firm who is the only Farsi speaker is allowed a ton more latitude when they are working the final deals on oil rights in the Caspian.

If you are easily replaced, the tolerance for your arrogance level is pretty low.

The level of arrogance your company and coworkers will tolerate is that middle line. Go above ti and you’re axed. Stay below and you’re cool.

How Much Do You Need to Retire

By retire I mean ‘not work here, there, nor anywhere’ kinds of riches. The varies obviously on age, accustomed lifestyle, obligations, and other factors. This amount, whatever it is, is represented by that vertical line in the sand.

The Intersection Grid

The accepted arrogance line and the amount to retire lines, being constants, are straight lines on this grid.

Quadrant I – Par for the Course

Starting close to the root of the axis (0,0) is where most of us spend our lives. This quadrant extends to but never crosses neither the two constants. We never get raise, a gift, a windfall that bumps us to the retirement line so we stay pretty respectful at work.

Quadrant II – Cool as Ice

The next quadrant is a little to the right of Quadrant 1. We’re still hugging the x -axis on the ground, because we’re cool like that. No matter how much extra $ we find, we still come into work the next day like nothing ever happened. We either love our jobs, have a sense of responsibility, or are boring as piss and have nothing else to do with our lives.

Pimps like Warren Buffet the Oracle of Omaha generally fit into this bracket. Well, the first two items I mentioned anyway. I’m sure he’s actually pretty interesting. To us arrogant poor people, especially!

Quadrant III – Full on Pooh Bear

This quadrant is the furthest away from center that you can go. You’ve made so much extra money that you don’t have to work and it’s gone to your head. You won’t be coming ’round these parts no mo’. But it’s cool. You have the cash to back it up.

The Asymptotic Line of Accidental Firing

You see, my hypothesis is that asymptotic line.For each amount of windfall $ there exists an amount that is not enough to sustain you for the rest of your life but will make you impossible to work with.

Quadrant IV – The Danger Zone.

Methinks a bunch of wall street hedge fund types are in this boat nowadays getting serially fired from the fry machine duties at the local McD’s. Their arrogance is writing checks there, well, bank account just cant cash.

It’s important to note that I’ve never actually seen this type in person. While I do regularly encounter people living in quadrants I-III, this 4th estate is entirely hypothetical to me. But it seems entirely plausible, doesn’t it?

What do you think?

Comments (2)

Then there is:

1) Changing ones arrogance so as to not be arrogant any more.


2) Simply hiding your arrogance or toning it down so that no one knows any longer and you stay below the magical and theoretical line.

Or do people still know….

Yeah, Steve. There is of course that option! Sadly, good fortune rarely begets introspection. I like the way the new James Bond’s M put it; “Self awareness and arrogance rarely go hand-in-hand.”

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