Sunday, January 22, 2012

Level 5 Ambition and Fun with Psychology.

Over 12 years ago, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. Then about three years later like most engineers, I wanted a business qualification but feared that the MBA qualification was getting too popular with professionals in my generation, so I studied for a Masters in Applied Finance and did the financial qualifications instead.

What I learned in IT helps with my investments, that's because in IT, certification is an endless process. You need to enjoy doing it non-stop to sustain your human capital in this field. I applied my ability to certify myself continuously into finance and scored the FRM, CFA and CAIA over 3 years.

After getting those qualifications, I started to develop my portfolio to begin supplementing my IT income. The strength of this approach is a that by remaining an IT guy, I don't run the risk of conflict of interest and have the freedom to build any portfolio anyway I want. And what I really want is passive income.

So now I have two fairly stable sources of income, my IT manager job and my investments.

As I can live comfortably on either source of my income, it's time to think about issues and problems I would like to work on even if I will not be paid generously for it. I've started with the assumption that I do like people and generally enjoy hanging out with them even though I can enjoy a good book on my Kindle Fire. The other factor is that I can take my time, and I'm used to the pace of IT work.

The third field which I would like to be good at - good being at top 25% percentile compared to a normal population, should be a social science. I've done enough technology for now and the humanities remain ever out of reach to a hardcore KPI-driven realist like me.

I've tried languages, but I simply can't master it properly without regular practice. I used to have the DELF A1 and A2 qualification in French, now I can't read wine labels. My Japanese is even worse, I just can't advance to JLPT 2 and the syllabus has changed.

I've tried philosophy, but other than really giving myself a framework for logical thinking, it does'nt give me something fun to work with as I go through the day. The more modern concepts in Philosophy are also hard to apply at work.

So right now, the social sciences look good.

Political science is useful to decode world events in a formal manner. And it's good for union work. Ditto for Sociology. Microeconomics can help me with making sharp decisions, although I've been getting more and more intuitive when it comes to my investments.

But I think the clear winner is Psychology.

Up till today I don't understand why Psychology is not introduced in an engineering curriculum. Psychology allows technologists to understand the operation system of the mind. Some ideas in Psychology can find instant application in the workplace. IT managers tend to end up managing a large team of introverts, they should know that interactions sap the strength of their men and plan interventions to keep morale running.

Psychology gives you some insight to your friends. If you suspect that some friends may harbour neurotic personalities and you can run actual field experiments to detect if self-handicapping takes place.

The possibilities are endless.

From hacking machines, we can end up hacking people.

Anyway, in this upcoming year of the Water Dragon, I'm going to launch a full scale attack on the social sciences. As advised by the book Great by Choice, I'm going to being fanatical discipline, productive paranoia and empirical creativity into mastering this field.

Will keep you guys updated on this blog.

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