The True Value of Liquidity (Confessions of a Jane Street Trader)

"You're just trying to cope with your job."

I glared at the therapist. I had come to him for help, for guidance. And all he could tell me was that I was just trying to cope?

I shook my head and stood up. "I don't need this," I said, storming out of his office.

I had been doubting myself for months. Ever since I started working at Jane Street, I had been questioning the usefulness of my work. Buying and selling equity options didn't seem like it was doing much good in the world.

And then I met Esteban.

It was during my paid time off, and I had gone to Bolivia to visit my girlfriend's family. We were touring a coffee farm when, to my surprise, a man came up to me and started praying on his knees. Tears were welling in his eyes.

"You saved my life!" He screamed.

I was confused. How could I have saved this man's life? I didn't even know him.

But then he told me his story.

He explained that due to Jane Street's liquidity, he was able to sell his coffee beans 2 milliseconds faster, which was all the time he needed to take out a loan and save his mother in an emergency situation.

That's when I realized the true power of my work. I was doing good in the world. I was making a difference. Since that day, I have walked into work every day with a new sense of purpose. I am proud of the work that I do. And I am excited for the difference that I can continue to make in the world.

Comments (12)

yag, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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yag, what's your opinion? Comment below:
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  • Analyst 2 in IB-M&A

Hot take. If you're in a career that provides you with a lucrative income, you don't necessarily need your job in and of itself to be a source of good or something that you derive valuable meaning from. You can be altruistic in the way you spend your money (i.e., donate to charities)

  • Intern in HF - EquityHedge

I agree. I would also add, by earning a high amount of income, you not only lesson the burden of yourself on society by not having to rely on government assistance but also, since you spend more, you're contributing to the growth of the economy (not to mention the money multiplier effect). And as we all know, economic growth is the ultimate way to lift those out of poverty hence we are doing God's work. 

dollar.billy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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