The term “white collar” implies a life of relative ease, but you know what? Working in a field such as finance presents its own set of challenges. For instance, sometimes things happen that bruise your spirit, injure your soul, and make you call into question everything you hold dear — usually, the loss of an ass-ton of money. This is what happened at investment firm Alliance Bernstein between January and June 2009, when investors spooked by the financial crisis pulled $44 billion from its funds. But did this cause principal John Oden, an amateur boxer and the author of White Collar Boxing: One Man’s Journey From the Office to the Ring to break down? To tear at his hair and look to the heavens, screaming “Why, God, why?” every day as the shit was going down? No.
He remembered from his studies that, actually, some people have had it worse.
“It was an awful time,” says Oden, sitting in a 36th- floor conference room overlooking Central Park. “Everyone I know suffered.”
Many of the 12 boxers he was writing about, including George Foreman, Bernard Hopkins and James J. Braddock, overcame tougher challenges, he says.
But they persevered. And thank goodness they did. Because otherwise, who else would rich dudes have to inspire them?