I’ll never forget my first big present to myself. When I worked in finance, it was all about bonus time. My first two years in banking at Bear Stearns I was probably too tired to think about buying anything. But when I moved to Bain Capital, I wanted to get myself something that I’d always wanted with my bonus there. I remember some of my colleagues were buying cars or fancy watches, but I was more about saving my money and investing it. Still there was one thing I’d always wanted to buy myself: a shiny new chrome KitchenAid standing mixer. I’m pretty sure I was the only one there on bonus day running out to buy a fancy cooking appliance.
My mother was a chef, so I grew up cooking. It was always what I loved to do if and when I ever had any free time. The Bain Capital offices were located upstairs from the fancy Copley mall in Boston, so I went right down to Williams-Sonoma and got my shiny new chrome Kitchen-Aid. They’re cheaper now but I think it was about $500 then. It wasn’t a big splurge, compared to some of my colleagues’ purchases, but I’d always really wanted one and it made me happy to buy one for myself. I like useful things that will last a lifetime.
The thing is, I had no idea at the time that three years later I would leave finance all together to go to culinary school. I’d thought cooking was only something I would do in my free time (which was never very much working in finance). What people think of as ‘hobbies’ or ‘outside interests’ might really be the very thing to focus on entirely.
Girls, Sarma’s first reminds us that investing in yourself pays dividends, often times more than traditional investing. BTW, we should note that Team Recessionista is ob-sessed with everything that comes out of her kitchen these days.