Today was crazy busy like most of the last two weeks at work, so I opted for a quick lunch at Jenoely's, dubbed the "Soup Kitchen" by my friend Ozzy. Evidently when he used to dine there, a lot of homeless people were also eating there. And who could blame them? Part of what I love about this restaurant is that lunch there is such a good deal—two slices of pizza and a drink for $3.52. And you can’t beat that deal with a stick (what does that mean?).
As I was waiting in line I ran into an older attorney who works at one of my classmate’s firm. I’ve always liked the guy in part because he is really candid and a Democrat (rare in this town), so I joined him and his coworker for lunch.
The older attorney is 47, and his coworker (also a partner) is probably 35. The older attorney immediately told the younger partner that she should be my mentor, explaining that I could learn a lot from her. She said she had accidentally made partner at her firm and expressed less than excitement about her job.
They then proceeded to discuss how they play the lottery, dreaming of working less or not at all. The older attorney had this down to a science. He plays every Tuesday and Friday, purchasing one ticket on each of those days. When I expressed my surprise that they were both funding the lottery, he explained that it’s only two dollars a week and it’s cheaper than a movie ticket. “So what does the price of a movie ticket have to do with the price of tea in China?” (Where does that expression come from?)
“Well a lottery ticket is a lot more entertaining than a movie.” I looked at him questioningly, and he continued, saying “If I don’t buy the lottery ticket, I can’t realistically think about winning the lottery. Since I buy at ticket I can enjoy thinking about what I’d do with the money all week long.”
So I asked him what he would do with the money. He asked “How much?”
“20 million,” I responded.
“Gross or net?” He shot back.
“13 million net.” I replied.
He then proceeded to explain to me what percentage of your winnings you could live on and only use the accruing interest. He detailed different investment and spending approaches to maximize winnings. He told me about where he would travel and spend the money. It was really something. You could tell he was spending a lot of his time thinking about this and had it all planned out. In the alternative, he had an early retirement plan mapped out.
As we walked toward my office, I told him that I’ve thought my next career step would be an obvious choice. For example, I’d meet someone at a meeting or on an airplane, and an opportunity would arise that I’d pursue. If it was the right option, it’d work out. So far nothing has. My friend explained that he and his friend had been waiting for the "obvious choice" for years. And here they are in their late 30s and 40s and fantasizing about winning the lottery. Hmm….that’s something to think about. Maybe I should just go buy a lottery ticket. Ha.