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The bottom line is that I don’t deal with the bottom line. The luxury in my life is I never have to think about it.
Karl Lagerfeld, on budget cuts at Chanel.

Well, no one knows luxury like Karl Lagerfeld. So is being able to do what you want to do without worrying about your company or your department’s balance sheet the ultimate career-extravagance? It certainly sounds nice, but in most professions, what happens is actually the opposite. In business, law, and industry jobs, the higher up you move within your organization, the more you are responsible for things like revenue, profits, and growth. In law especially, associates do most of the actual legal work, while partners are there to bring in the clients. No one you know willing to pay you $800 an hour for a team of bleary-eyed associates? No partnership for you. In other fields, even academics, successful doctors, or directors of non-profit organizations must eventually think about the financial health of their endowments, clinics, and donations.

In fact, I can’t think of how many fashion conscious MBA students would kill for a management job thinking about the bottom line of Chanel every day.

So not only is Karl Lagerfeld impeccably dressed, he is also very lucky. Very few people can manage both freedom of self expression at work (or lack of work) and advancement in their careers. Most of my classmates (myself included) will end up sacrificing complete creative freedom at work in exchange for financial freedom in their personal lives–the ability to enjoy a self dictated lifestyle and indulge in things like buying Karl Lagerfeld’s designs.