Monday, September 26, 2011

risk taking - need more?

I ended yesterday with the idea that once one can acknowledge and let go of defensiveness, not only is there obvious potential for growth, but also room for risk taking. Risk taking is often linked with growth of many kinds, including personal, professional, and financial. You can stay in your box and be perfectly content, but our lexicon is filled with phrases like "No risk, no reward" and "No guts, no glory" which emphasize the need for taking chances in order to excel. (One could naturally discuss a great deal about bailouts and whatever moral hazard that has/can result when the risk-takers not being the consequence-bearers. However, one merely need to google moral hazard to see plenty o' discussion on the subject.)

Financial risk, at least as far as investing goes, is generally straightforward. More risk should offer the potential for greater gain, but also greater loss. Less risk should mean less potential gain, but fewer potential losses. Many moons ago, I had a CD account that yielded 6.25%, a figure that is nigh impossible to imagine being available now. It was fantastic, but also not going to be available any time soon. If one wants that sort of yield or better, especially in today's financial climate, it almost certainly means more risk. Cash positions and dividend-paying utilities are relatively safe with low risk, but they will also never grow aggressively. More aggressive stocks, small-cap growth, and even trading on volatility all carry much more potential upside to go with their obvious risks. It's not that my money should be doing more, but that I should be doing more with my money. I am young enough to make back losses over time and some risk of losing capital should be acceptable, even welcome if it means greater returns.

In a professional sense, working here is hard to quantify in a risk sense. I suppose being where I am right now carries various risks and many of them are similar as to those that existed when I was in West Africa. However, most of these are risks to personal safety, not really inherent career risks. And as much as it will pain my mother to see me type this, I am not really concerned about my personal safety. There is good reason for this and not mere recklessness and I want to get back around to this idea at the end of the week. In terms of risk to career, staying here is the safe and easy choice. Not here physically, though I did just transfer in, but here as in my employer. I can turn what has so far been a series of similar, but always different jobs, into a coherent career that might even have a bit of direction to it. This is safe and relatively easy (but by no means absolutely easy) and of relatively low risk. It is also fraught with something that will always bother me if I go down that path. The reward of something else and what it could bring (in a purely professional sense) carries the risk of also failing to succeed in that other path. Staying put does not have that risk, but it also never means other rewards.

Personal risk taking could be all of the above, though I mean it in a relationship sense. With one exception, I have entered into every romantic relationship in my life and already known or at least believed, that it was doomed to failure for whatever the reason(s) might be. (It should be noted that this was not necessarily consciously known to me , but I am quite certain that at least some of me knew this each time sans the exception.) Perhaps it was the cynicism of youth, (though I still feel that way about everyone I meet), or I was never properly afflicted with whatever biochemical mix equates to love, or I was simply an immature jerk. Or, more likely, if I could envision an end at the beginning, then it also meant not actually investing real emotion and not being hurt. Regardless of why, that lack of emotional plunge is safe and boring. The single box is comfortable enough, but it is also very small. Finding how deep a box for two can be means the risk of falling through its depths.


Buickguy said...

Personal risk can also mean "falling" through to its heights! On the career point, I know you haven't forgotten an offer you hold that is outside your current comfort zone. On the overview, now is the time to take risk: career, personal relationship and money. You have time to earn it back, all back if needed. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

poorisk said...

Took the wrong risk and stuck in the rut!

Sciencebunny said...

afflicted...hahaha! that single box is quite comfortable. unless something really worthwhile comes along, keep checking it!