Drawbacks of the Dream Job

The Hedge Fund Analyst turned full-time Bible Teacher

Dan Hong

Dan Hong explains the drawbacks of getting the hedge fund dream job just a year out of college.

I had the misfortune to get my dream job at age 23. Just a year out of college, I started working as an analyst with ESL Investments, a Connecticut-based hedge fund, and after a couple of years there I thought, ‘Is this it? Is this all there is?’

My boss lived and breathed work. He owned yachts and hired private jets, his kitchen was larger than my flat, and he did not seem to be unhappy, but I thought that all the acclaim and success was pretty depressing if there was nothing more than that.

I had had a Christian upbringing but my understanding was not much more than ‘Jesus died so that I can get a free ticket to heaven’. I did not understand what it means for Jesus to be Lord.

In 2008, one of my closest friends invited me to church. I started reading the Bible as an adult for the first time, with one of the pastors there, and I was confronted with two truths:

  1. I had treated God badly, accepting all the good stuff from Him, without honouring Him or giving thanks to Him, and that was morally despicable. I desperately needed forgiveness.
  2. Christianity was grounded in history. The Bible claimed to be a record of real events, events that I would have seen if I had been in the right place at the right time.

The key event was Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. That was a game changer.

If Jesus rose, then there is hope after death – real hope – not wishful thinking but hope. There was something more than just making it in this world. I was now meeting Christians who believed they were going somewhere better. It wasn’t just wishful thinking for them. That was something I found deeply attractive, and I wanted whatever they had.

And if Jesus rose, then he is everything he claims to be – my Lord and my God. And here he was, through God’s word, offering me forgiveness, if I would put my trust in him.

Once I became convinced that Jesus did rise from the dead, it was a no-brainer for me. I accepted his royal pardon and bowed the knee (figuratively speaking) to my King.

Over the next year, there were two big changes in my life: time and priorities.

Every Wednesday I would now leave the office at 6pm to study the Bible with friends from church. And leaving at that hour was no problem. I was competent at my work and hedge funds tend to reward performance, not face time. This new evening pursuit gave me opportunities to talk about my new faith with colleagues. They were genuinely curious to know what I got up to on Wednesday evenings.

I also had new priorities. If you had pressed me, up to that point, my goal in life was to become the next Warren Buffett. I had lived for the acclaim of my peers, but that was no longer the case. My priorities shifted to honouring Jesus in my work: in how I did my work, in telling my work colleagues about him, and in making time for my new Christian family.

I was beginning to understand what it means for Jesus to be Lord. My new goal in life was to live for my King. After all, I owed him everything. He had given me a future so much better than just making it in this world.

I now work for St Nicholas Cole Abbey, a midweek lunchtime church in the City. How I got there from working at a hedge fund is a long story, but the short version is that, given my gifts, abilities and circumstances, I decided that full-time, paid Bible teaching was the best way I could serve my King and his people. It’s a joy to spend my time helping Christians flourish in their workplaces as they live and speak for Jesus there.

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