Jim Cramer is one of the most well known financial experts on the planet. I’ve known him for 16 years. We worked together. I was a writer for thestreet.com and he was doing “Mad Money” for CNBC. So we have history.
Jim figured out early on what he wanted to show up for. I think this is both a blessing and a curse.
He agreed. He’s been doing this for decades. Over 20 years.
“Can you believe it?” he asked.
He gave up the money management business so he could write everyday. Just like me.
“I love stocks and this is the best way to love them, what I do now,” Jim said.
The public’s interest is his interest.
“My ethos has always been the same, which is that stocks are the greatest wealth creator of all time,” he said.
But I wanted to know something else, something beyond money, stocks, accumulation, success.
Is he happy after all these years? Does he still love his job as much as when he started? Or is he addicted to staying relevant?
I remember when I first met Jim… I wrote an article about him: “10 Things I Learned Working With Jim Cramer”
Here’s what I said:
I was standing by a TV with Jim once. And the ticker was running by at the bottom of the CNBC screen. He started doing a “lightning round” on every stock going by, telling why each stock was up or down a nickel, a penny, a whatever.
He knew every earnings report, every news item that was relevant that day.
He doesn’t know every stock, but he does know everything he needs to know for THAT DAY. This doesn’t mean you should know everything about stocks. But whatever field I’ve been in I’ve always tried to know everything about the competition, the technology, the subtleties and the nuances of the field. Jim has dominated financial media for 20 years by doing this. Whenever I’ve invested in a private company, the most important criteria I have is that the CEO has the same kind of database of knowledge in their industry that Jim has in financial media (note: I say “media” and not just “stocks”).
He always had what it takes to be who he is today. (I guess we all do.) And some of that comes from the hard stuff.
Because success is synonymous with hard work.
So I wanted Jim’s opinion, what matters more? Hard work or happiness?
And he told me about his dad…
“My dad was 92 when he died,” Jim said. It was November. “And he had a huge month in October.”
“What did he do?” I asked.
“He was selling boxes and bags to retailers. He was selling doggy bags to restaurants.”
He literally worked until the day he died.
“He was happy because he worked.”
“And that’s me,” Jim said as he laughed to himself. “As long as I enjoy it, I’m gonna keep doing it.”
I’m not the only one in Jim’s life wondering if 20+ years is too long. His wife asked him a similar question.
… one that I think most of us don’t ask until it feels too late.
“What happens when you stop enjoying it?”
“Then I’ll pivot,” he said. And the conversation continued.
I liked that. Because I knew in that moment that if I ever start to feel like I’m not happy or enjoying the work I do, I’m going to remember these words…
“Then I’ll pivot.”
I kept reading my old article about Jim. And I want to share with you one last piece from 7 years ago:
We all bleed. We’re all human—painfully so, as much as we all try to hide it in our suits, our cubicles, our genius opinions at parties and in corporate meetings. Watching Jim on “Mad Money” is sometimes like watching an impending train wreck. Jim’s a little crazy, a little off the deep end, but it’s either the kind of crazy we all see a little of in ourselves, or the kind of crazy we all wish we had.
Links and Resources
- “Confessions of a Street Addict” by Jim Cramer
- Watch Mad Money on CNBC
- Visit TheStreet
- My podcast interview with Dr. Oz: The #1 Health Guru in America
- “Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company” by Andrew S. Grove
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