It is Christmas eve, and the M&A transaction must still get done, a deal close meeting is set on Christmas day, but the staff are not happy. Nicholas Cage plays Jack Campbell, a Wall Street Rainmaker with everything that money can buy, except love from a family of his own. If only he made a different choice, his life may be different. A former girlfriend calls his office out of the blue, and a new twist in his normal life begins.
He soon wakes up in suburban New Jersey, not New York City. He is in bed with Tea Leoni, his former flame and current wife with screaming children running around. How is that possible? A parallel universe shows him what could have been. He cannot believe he is now married with 2 kids and working as a tire salesman, but that is the life he now has.
This is really a movie that questions the morality challenge of money & career vs family fulfillment. It is a fun film that tries to bring a mirror to the materialism that keeps many within finance happy in their possessions, despite the emptiness of a surrounding growing family and the ties that bind. Is this attraction to things just a temporary part of any human's emotional evolution? It is a timeless question with no clear answer.
For many early in their financial career, yet to marry and yet to start a family, you will find the story basic. Those more senior than 30 or even 40, with the internal need to breed, will see this story in a very different light. It may make one uncomfortable with the lack of depth that money can bring in a career. You question what wealth is worth without the family love and bonding that grounds many in the world today. It may be a movie to avoid for those not quite sure on their life choice. Those who wonder if they have sacrificed personal relationships for careers of cash, may wonder if they still have made the best choice.
The opening of this movie is around the Christmas holiday and the work vs life balance around deals at this time. All members may want the deal to happen, but not all have as much to lose at home. The emotional price that each member pays to work on that day varies enormously. The younger the member, the lower that price when single. Time is money shows itself to have another price tag for those with families at home. It can be a very high price.
The Top 3 Takeaways from this book that really impact any reader are:
1) There is a lot to learn about how to be a long-term successful rainmaker, and no one answer will do. The more motivations you can find to close deals, the better. There is no single way to success, there are many, so learn them all.
2) The best rainmakers know how to make money and keep doing what they do best by observing key decision makers and possible patterns. Knowing what buttons to press to get a decision is the EQ magic that many lack, not IQ, that only gets you to the table.
3) When becoming a successful rainmaker, your emotional strength from family at home, may help you perform on deals at work. Every person has a personal life, so the more empty or fulfilling it is, the more that can creep into personal performance. It cannot be denied.
Much of course depends on your personal definition of financial success, and the drive or core reason to pursue it in the first place. Beware to all those who may look at a financial career with less interest and more longing for the basics of life. Be warned of what you could really be feeling! A perfect movie choice for the Christmas holiday season. Highly recommended for all of the typical staff at an investment bank portrayed wonderfully by an excellent cast, and deservedly so. Made back in 2000, is holds up well, and is still an amazing movie that is perfect for the holidays, highly recommended!
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