By William Rooney

The FY student stared, wondering where to begin. He was gazing at a pile of books. Papers were tucked haphazardly in between the pages where he had stopped working. All his energy disappeared as soon as he quit school for the day. Those in university didn’t have this problem, so he became a university student.

The university student was free to work as little – or as hard – as he wanted. Nobody cared if he showed up for class or not. If he wanted to make the effort, he could gain academic recognition. If he wanted to enjoy himself, he could still get by. Social opportunities exploded, but he was constantly broke. Those in business didn’t have this problem, so he became a banker.

The banker lived in relative opulence to the university student. He had a car and a white picket fence around his suburban home. He was important and had similarly important friends. They would talk and mutually feared their bosses and company ordered lay-offs. The bosses didn’t have this problem, so the banker became a boss.

The boss could wander in when he chose. He could buy and sell who and what he wanted. If he was in a bad mood, he would micro-manage, and if he was in a good mood, he would send a calming mass e-mail message with low-urgency. He travelled all over the world in first class. He made millions of dollars a year, for himself and for others. For his successes, he amassed gratuitous Christmas Bonuses. For his failures, however, he was brought before the always-castrating shareholders. The shareholders didn’t have leaders, so he became a shareholder.

The shareholders were all ex-bosses and they made fortunes from the numerous companies they held stakes in. During the day they played golf and in the evenings they attended black-tie events. He would look forward to his companies underperforming just to attend the general annual meeting and watch the company’s leadership squirm. But he could only make a few men squirm and old men at that. Academics could make many people squirm – young people. They could disprove others, press ideas on many more, and end the day by writing an influential piece on a vast subject.

The FY student stared at the piece he was told to analyze, wondering where to begin.