And I, like hundreds of thousands of financial professionals the world over, always find myself trawling through the subsequent partner lists that are published - with my tongue lolling out of my mouth, and drooling over those names like a teenager on the internet.
Without the faintest embarrassment, we all look for names of people we know, hoping that those we feel are our 'inferiors' (guys we used to work with) haven't made the list and therefore managed to eclipse our own mundane careers.
Then there's the jealousy and greed factor. It’s human nature to ponder the countless variables of one’s own career and wonder: ‘What if ?’ What if I’d worked a bit harder, had sucked up to the right guy, had done that MBA, got the CFA, and taken it all so much more seriously ?
What if I’d used my dad’s connections, what if I’d been in the military, or done something truly exceptional at college ? The list goes on. But back in the real world, they all made it to Goldman partner – and we didn’t. We’re still in the muddy rat-infested bottom of the pool, while these guys appear to be masters of all before them.
I always console myself with the brutal fact that I would never have cut it anyway. I am neither ruthless enough nor dedicated enough to put in all those hours, and not resilient enough to cope with the highly competitive stress levels of a place like Goldman Sachs.
You see most of us are plodders (in relative terms). Sure, we still inhabit the mighty world of capital markets, and we’re still in the game. We still earn a lot more than most of our fellow citizens, and we see the world through that unique prism of global finance and all that it means for the world. But we just ain't Goldman partner material.
Of course I feel a twinge of regret that I never got myself into a place like Goldman (UBS was probably my high point, but even that place didn’t make me that happy). And sometimes when I see a former colleague who’s made Goldman partner, it is like a stab in the guts. But why ponder something that was probably never likely to happen in the first place. Goldman is like any other elite enterprise - many are called, but few are chosen - but it might have been nice to been asked!