So Do You Wear the Brown Uniform? Explaining UBS

Among the more interesting experiences of transitioning from New York to Chicago has been explaining my employer.  When I was in New York, never once was there any doubt what I was talking about when I said I worked at UBS.  Indeed, in New York it was clearly thought of as a prestigious employer and a vaunted, powerful company.

Since moving to Chicago, this has definitely changed.  When I mention that I work at UBS, the question I usually get back is something like: “do you work at the processing out by O’Hare?”   Early on I was shocked by this, but now I’ve gotten used to it.  And, on some level, it makes sense.  For most people in America, UPS is very much a part of daily life.  Additionally, UPS advertising and marketing is aimed at the public as a whole, and is encountered in widely readmagazines and as commercials during popular television shows.

UBS is more narrowly targeted, and– despite a centuries-long existence– doesn’t have the longevity in the US that it does in Europe.  In the meantime, I use these conversations for some gentle on-the-fly UBS background as a world financial powerhouse.  And if that doesn’t work, I just confirm that I can wear brown frequently.

— Tim Shields, UBS


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