Anyone else think trading is boring now?

Long time user here, this is a throwaway account.

I'm having a bit of a crises of faith. I started out at a BB as a trader straight out of school back in 09, and I've somehow managed to survive all the cuts over the years. Problem is, I'm not having fun at all anymore.

Am i just maturing and realizing that there's more to life than pushing numbers around and watching charts go up and down, or have all the industry changes just made trading a boring job?

Comments (69)

Aug 3, 2014

I'm in there with you. Have my ups and downs, but been in a down periode for a while now.

Best Response
Aug 3, 2014

Profitable trading is analytical, mundane, tedious, repetitious and boring as hell. I've found nothing glamorous or enchanting about trading but many give it this mystical/mythical aura.

Aug 3, 2014

I'd gladly take your seat, but do you feel that your responsibilities are too small? Are you not getting your fair percentage of the PNL? I think I would be excited if my responsibilities and rewards kept growing and growing. If you're doing about as well as you can in your current product maybe you should try to move to a more challenging and rewarding form of trading. Are you still at a bank and are your ideas transferable to hedge funds?

Aug 4, 2014

I don't think you're necessarily realizing that there's more to life; rather, you're realizing that it's not the kind of life you want for yourself. It's a personal preference - some people love the numbers bouncing around and watching shit go up and down, and they can still do all that with the regulation, just not at the same level of risk-taking. At some point, I think most people feel like they need to build something, to make incremental progress every day to some sort of larger goal. For trading that goal is financial freedom sometime in the future, but you either make lots of money and retire early as planned, or get stuck in the business and start wishing you had chosen a more tangible goal to build towards in the first place (because that would at least have given you the satisfaction of having built something more concrete).

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Aug 5, 2014

Leave the bank, join a legit trading shop/HF, build up huge directional bets, wake up in the middle of the night sweating, worry whether you'll have a job in 6 months, fantasize about making it rain serious green, repeat...I don't think you'll find life too boring after that

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May 31, 2018

This sounds exhilarating.

Aug 5, 2014

Maybe it's time to jump sides...with all the rules and regs in place at banks now I'm sure it's not anywhere near as interesting or exciting as it once was.

"When you stop striving for perfection, you might as well be dead."

Aug 5, 2014

Hasn't the Volcker Rule erased all of the "sexy" trading roles? There's only client execution and market making now right, no more prop trading at banks

Aug 6, 2014
Unheard of:

Hasn't the Volcker Rule erased all of the "sexy" trading roles? There's only client execution and market making now right, no more prop trading at banks

Not exactly true, but there's a lot less of it. Some of what's going on at JPAM and GSAM is basically longer term prop trading from my understanding. I'm not exactly sure how you break into those groups. Hopefully it gets repealed. It had nothing to do with the crisis.

Aug 6, 2014

You do know that JPMAM and GSAM are the Asset Management divisions of those banks, right? Their mandate is to manage money and take positions, so of course what they are doing is like "prop trading" except for the clients' accounts instead of the bank's balance sheet. This whole thread is about the S&T area.

Aug 7, 2014

Agreed with whalesquid's comment, AM isn't trading exclusively the bank's money, it's trading (or managing for the proper term) client funds. So that's probably not prop trading, which is the trading of a bank's own funds
I'm pretty sure Volcker pretty much wiped out prop trading from banks and all the top talent just moved to hedge funds

Aug 5, 2014

Do an MBA at a top school, so you can do something more interesting with your professional life.

Aug 5, 2014

I thought about an MBA, but I can't justify the cost. I think I'd rather take a few months off and travel.

Aug 5, 2014

This is both reflection of the times as well. A few years ago trading was romantisized so you had that to fall back on. Now thats gone and you face reality of what you're working on...and people judge the job for whats its worth

Aug 5, 2014

honestly, if you're investing prudently, it should be boring. if you're excited about all of the trades you're going to make in a day (and you're not a hedger or something like that which requires daily movement), you're probably doing it wrong.

Aug 5, 2014
thebrofessor:

honestly, if you're investing prudently, it should be boring. if you're excited about all of the trades you're going to make in a day (and you're not a hedger or something like that which requires daily movement), you're probably doing it wrong.

There are still a bunch of guys doing intraday stuff

Aug 6, 2014

OP is on an S&T desk. I sure hope he's not "investing for the long-term."

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Aug 5, 2014

In your exact shoes, making a career change to big data consulting ATM was on the quant side of things. Watching a line go up and down being my contribution to here planet, no thanks

Aug 5, 2014

How's big data working out for you? Doing the start-up thing?

Aug 5, 2014

Going for tier 2 consulting firms, going to try and set my own niche up within one of their growing teams, they are hiring a lot, and the. Will do that for 5 years and then see if I feel like doing my own thing, joining a start up for equity or whatever. Just want to add value to the world at the moment, and learn as much as I can.

Aug 7, 2014
worldstar enterprises:

How's big data working out for you? Doing the start-up thing?

What product are you trading?

Aug 5, 2014

hahaha I was also this naive back before I had pubes. Good attitude to have though, good luck man.

Aug 6, 2014
worldstar enterprises:

hahaha I was also this naive back before I had pubes. Good attitude to have though, good luck man.

good to know u have pubes now, what else u got tho? good luck to u as well

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Aug 5, 2014

Nothing boring on buy side (HF and Prop).

Aug 5, 2014

On short-term desk for over a year and it's been enjoyable. Changes happened on small desk allowing me to trade various funding products quickly. Kinda useful to view the 2y "financial analyst" stage as an end: know am on analyst deathbed. Next step may be to trade something else, for moment am content being involved in cash markets as interested observer and participant only in part.

Regulation at extremes can be viewed as death to industry versus opportunity, but a sliding scale may be more useful. For example, expectation is that balance sheet constraints are felt first and foremost in funding but if one is willing to accept that we'll still be around then dislocations will create opportunity. Definitely sympathetic to view that capital requirements et al. (no more examples sorry) bring downside risk, but attempting to understand impact thereof seems far more useful than say, complaining about perceived destruction. For example, one can engage in "regulatory arbitrage" (loosely) to position for downside, or engage in a wider sense, e.g. learn enough and pass through revolving door to public sector. Sure a lot of it is pretty hazy/tricky but not intractable and if one can embrace conflict of interests as potential opportunity, maybe it won't suck a lot (obviously just comforting myself here).

Aug 6, 2014

Boring is good, the last time things got "fun" I lost 12k.

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Aug 6, 2014

I have a lot more fun trading my PA than I had as a sell-side equity trader. Maybe you should just try to switch to a different trading role.

Aug 6, 2014

Idunno. I've never had this much fun at a job. If you're doing research for a quant portfolio, you're confronting a new question and a new opportunity every day. I'm not saying it's as much fun as the weekend, but a job that challenges your intellect more than 5% of the time makes a job feel more interesting and engaging.

Jobs are supposed to be boring. If they were interesting, they could find someone to do it for free.

If you like the people and the job is treating you and paying you fairly, that's 60-70% of it. Don't forget that. Sometimes the devil you know is preferable to the devil you don't, so try to maintain your bridges if you do leave.

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Aug 6, 2014
IlliniProgrammer:

Idunno. I've never had this much fun at a job. If you're doing research for a quant portfolio, you're confronting a new question and a new opportunity every day. I'm not saying it's as much fun as the weekend, but a job that challenges your intellect more than 5% of the time makes a job feel more interesting and engaging.

Jobs are supposed to be boring. If they were interesting, they could find someone to do it for free.

If you like the people and the job is treating you and paying you fairly, that's 60-70% of it. Don't forget that. Sometimes the devil you know is preferable to the devil you don't, so try to maintain your bridges if you do leave.

Man, the holy trinity of an interesting and well-paying job with great colleagues. Some day, I hope. SB for you.

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Aug 7, 2014

All jobs are occasionally boring but the exciting and intellectually stimulating moments should stand out in your impression of your job. If your dominant impression of your job is boredom, then you interests probably belong elsewhere in a different job (speaking in general; it seems like you enjoy your job). There has to be a role in which you're extremely passionate about, unless you're a robot.

That being said, consider the Bridgewater analyst, astronaut, theater performer, or pornstar - people still pay well for these jobs... I'm pretty interested in all of these so where do I sign up for unpaid work?

Aug 7, 2014
Unheard of:

All jobs are occasionally boring but the exciting and intellectually stimulating moments should stand out in your impression of your job. If your dominant impression of your job is boredom, then you interests probably belong elsewhere in a different job (speaking in general; it seems like you enjoy your job). There has to be a role in which you're extremely passionate about, unless you're a robot.

I disagree just a little here- or at least have an addendum. If you're not bored, you're not at the top of your game while doing something. Programming. Trading. Being a professional gambler. Putting together deals in banking or doing equity research. Any performance art that requires a lot of practice.

That being said, consider the Bridgewater analyst, astronaut, theater performer, or pornstar - people still pay well for these jobs... I'm pretty interested in all of these so where do I sign up for unpaid work?

My take on this is that *a few* people get paid well for these jobs. Those people are probably more bored than the people doing it for fun. The NASA astronaut is up there to work. The tourist isn't. The Bridgewater analyst FWIW faces 24 month turnover- the investor at home doesn't. The professional dancer spends 16 hours/day practicing until utter exhaustion- the person in a community theater does it 5 hours/week.

Some firms on the buyside- this isn't just specific to Bridgewater (I'm sorry for singling them out but their name came up)- have higher turnover than sellside trading. If that's the case with a firm you are targeting, you should investigate why that is and think long and hard before leaving a firm with low turnover. Sometimes you can make a more informed decision if you've worked for a tough boss or in a tough group, and you've also worked for a nice boss- and also have a chance to have candid conversations with rank and file employees- or former rank and file employees.

If you do anything too much, it gets boring and grinding. But you have to do something too much to get good at it. That's why they call it a job. You are bored with sellside trading- probably because you are good at it, like most people are with their jobs. Good for you- now just be happy!

I'm not telling folks not to look for better jobs here- just saying that we tend to make better decisions when we appreciate the good parts of our jobs and realize that those can also be subject to change in a move. I'm also not sure "I'm bored" is a reason for leaving that will produce more job satisfaction in your next role. There are exceptions, but most people who have become good at their jobs (sellside or buyside) experience some boredom- those who have become good at all aspects of their jobs will experience even more. If traders can accept and work around that, they'll be a little bit happier and everyone else on the trading floor will therefore be a little happier too.

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Aug 6, 2014

I never said I had the holy trinity by the standards of someone else or that I had it made or that anyone should be too too jealous of me. There are people on this forum who are more successful than me and will think my job sucks on one aspect or another. But to them I at least enjoy it like a happy Nebraska farmer enjoys bailing hay on a nice fall day.

I find the work I'm doing to be not total drudgery more than 50% of the time and fun 5% of the time. That's better than most jobs. I consider the pay to be fair. I like the people I work with- that's the most important thing.

We can spend our time worrying about the people who are better off than us, or we can be like the happy Nebraska farmer. I have spent too much energy worrying about how to have more and not enough energy being happy with what I have.

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Aug 6, 2014

It takes a special kind of person to be happy as a farmer.

Aug 7, 2014

Can't tell if this is a jab or not.

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Aug 6, 2014

I left trading for private equity for this exact reason- I was incredibly bored. It sounds cool to trade big positions and all that, but day to day is monotonous. In general, the personality type required to succeed in trading has shifted. In the old days, they were outgoing guys screaming in the pits all day (who then hired more people like them), but it gradually shifted to requiring more introverted types who can sit in front of a computer staring at charts all day. There's nothing wrong with this, it's just a different kind of person.

In college, I interned at a global macro hedge fund and a sell-side equities desk, but felt the person that would have the edge was a data zombie (or an online poker champ). I looked at what my strengths were (good with people, public speaking ability, analytical, strategic mindset) and narrowed my choicesdown to strategy consulting and PE. Then I read about Mitt Romney and figured out PE is like strategy consulting, except you get to bet on it, so I went into private equity and like it a lot.

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Aug 6, 2014

If your seat doesnt let you take signifigant risk and push yourself as a trader then yes trading will eventually become no different then a factory job on the line...thats why they call traders who dont take big risk "line traders". If you are ambitious, go find a seat where you can move out of your comfort zone and take more risk...buyside jobs are certainly available now if you have six years experience and are willing to make an effort to find them. I definitely would not want to sit in a market making seat executing orders and being a "dick for a tic" with clients for an entire career.

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May 31, 2018
Bondarb:

I definitely would not want to sit in a market making seat executing orders and being a "dick for a tic" with clients for an entire career.

Youre really selling market making here

Aug 7, 2014

One last general comment.

I'm not a trader. I'm a quant. But I worked on the equity trading floor of a major bank for a few years. If you spend about half a second thinking about who should be the happiest people on the trading floor of a sell side bank, the answer is "the traders". They generally make the most money. Everyone else sort of works for them. They often have the most interesting work to do (though a few quants might disagree and a few salespeople have some fun stories to tell.)

But when you look at who are actually the happiest people on the trading floor, it's probably the admins and IT staff first. Then it's a tough call between the risk managers and salespeople (salespeople have a lot of variance), then the quants (for whom 95% are still happier than 30-40% of salespeople), and finally it's the traders. (Admittedly, this varies from group to group, but on average, that's kind of the rule.)

There are a lot of personality differences between a desk quant and a trader. We tend to suck at making decisions the tradeoff is that we're often good at understanding a really complicated problem (J vs. P-type personalities). But I think the biggest difference is that most quants find it much easier to say "I have enough". And I think that's the key for happiness for a lot of people- being focused on wanting what you have rather than having what you want (only to want more when you get what you want).

There are probably a few people in this thread, including folks on the sell side, who make more than me, and probably many more will have better careers than me simply by staying on the sellside. I am still utterly ecstatic about my current job. I have no idea why people who by some measures are more successful than me would be unhappy. And while I wish you the very best, there are a lot of people who work for you who are scratching their heads at this thread. If you are earning six figures, if you like the people you work with, if you're doing interesting work, and you're unhappy with your job, maybe there's other stuff to focus on besides just the job. You might be able to do better- sure- but please just do everybody else a favor and try to be happy with what you already have.

Aug 7, 2014
IlliniProgrammer:

One last general comment.

I'm not a trader. I'm a quant. But I worked on the equity trading floor of a major bank for a few years. If you spend about half a second thinking about who should be the happiest people on the trading floor of a sell side bank, the answer is "the traders". They generally make the most money. Everyone else sort of works for them. They often have the most interesting work to do (though a few quants might disagree and a few salespeople have some fun stories to tell.)

But when you look at who are actually the happiest people on the trading floor, it's probably the admins and IT staff first. Then it's a tough call between the risk managers and salespeople (salespeople have a lot of variance), then the quants (for whom 95% are still happier than 30-40% of salespeople), and finally it's the traders. (Admittedly, this varies from group to group, but on average, that's kind of the rule.)

There are a lot of personality differences between a desk quant and a trader. We tend to suck at making decisions the tradeoff is that we're often good at understanding a really complicated problem (J vs. P-type personalities). But I think the biggest difference is that most quants find it much easier to say "I have enough". And I think that's the key for happiness for a lot of people- being focused on wanting what you have rather than having what you want (only to want more when you get what you want).

There are probably a few people in this thread, including folks on the sell side, who make more than me, and probably many more will have better careers than me simply by staying on the sellside. I am still utterly ecstatic about my current job. I have no idea why people who by some measures are more successful than me would be unhappy. And while I wish you the very best, there are a lot of people who work for you who are scratching their heads at this thread. If you are earning six figures, if you like the people you work with, if you're doing interesting work, and you're unhappy with your job, maybe there's other stuff to focus on besides just the job. You might be able to do better- sure- but please just do everybody else a favor and try to be happy with what you already have.

so which are you..the INTP or INTJ?

ive heard the bes traders are INT types..im an INTJ and really want to move into a prop trading type of job.. i have no interest in any other facets of finance..okay well i do, but i wouldnt want to do them for a job

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Aug 8, 2014
watersign:
IlliniProgrammer:

One last general comment.

I'm not a trader. I'm a quant. But I worked on the equity trading floor of a major bank for a few years. If you spend about half a second thinking about who should be the happiest people on the trading floor of a sell side bank, the answer is "the traders". They generally make the most money. Everyone else sort of works for them. They often have the most interesting work to do (though a few quants might disagree and a few salespeople have some fun stories to tell.)

But when you look at who are actually the happiest people on the trading floor, it's probably the admins and IT staff first. Then it's a tough call between the risk managers and salespeople (salespeople have a lot of variance), then the quants (for whom 95% are still happier than 30-40% of salespeople), and finally it's the traders. (Admittedly, this varies from group to group, but on average, that's kind of the rule.)

There are a lot of personality differences between a desk quant and a trader. We tend to suck at making decisions the tradeoff is that we're often good at understanding a really complicated problem (J vs. P-type personalities). But I think the biggest difference is that most quants find it much easier to say "I have enough". And I think that's the key for happiness for a lot of people- being focused on wanting what you have rather than having what you want (only to want more when you get what you want).

There are probably a few people in this thread, including folks on the sell side, who make more than me, and probably many more will have better careers than me simply by staying on the sellside. I am still utterly ecstatic about my current job. I have no idea why people who by some measures are more successful than me would be unhappy. And while I wish you the very best, there are a lot of people who work for you who are scratching their heads at this thread. If you are earning six figures, if you like the people you work with, if you're doing interesting work, and you're unhappy with your job, maybe there's other stuff to focus on besides just the job. You might be able to do better- sure- but please just do everybody else a favor and try to be happy with what you already have.

so which are you..the INTP or INTJ?

ive heard the bes traders are INT types..im an INTJ and really want to move into a prop trading type of job.. i have no interest in any other facets of finance..okay well i do, but i wouldnt want to do them for a job

ENTP.

Best traders are the *NTJ followed by the *STJ types. E or I both work. P types like me have trouble making decisions or finishing stuff, which makes it hard to be a trader but gives you a huge advantage for being a quant. A model is never quite finished or good enough at capturing the market- there's always something to think about improving.

Aug 7, 2014

It sounds like you've found a great deal of success in your current work. I guarantee the guys I know at Bungie are happier than 99% of people in the world, just a function of finding the "trinity" you've alluded to. It's all about finding your niche, whether that's putting out fires or doing audits.

Aug 7, 2014

Good point but I just think that there is a subtle but important nuance that you are missing. Most people who are excellent at doing something are bored when they do it. And to be honest Danica may only be 90% in control of the car but driving around a NASCAR oval track probably starts to get boring after the first 400 hours/ however many thousand laps no matter how you do it. It's cool as all hell, but I wonder if she gets bored too. Being a public figure with a cool job and earning millions though, she has the wisdom to tell all of her fans that she is happy. The last thing some SAHM NASCAR fan with two kids wants to hear from a race car driver is that she is bored.

People are in the business of paying you to work and to deliver an excellent product. They're not in the business of paying you to learn. Learning is fun, delivering is boring, but it's how you get paid.

I do agree that working for a firm that gives you opportunities to learn and grow can make you happier. I just think that the people you work with have a much bigger impact. Oftentimes we take the parts of a job that are good for granted, and we only realize how good they were after we left.

Aug 7, 2014

I do not agree...did michael jordan look bored when he dropped 55 on the knicks in the playoffs? i really doubt that was just a good act for the fans. I am not comparing a trader to michael jordan but i actually think it is the opposite...you dont become great at something unless you are able to consistently engage it with excitement, curiosity, and a certain amount of joy. I have never met a great trader who would come in like he was punching the clock at a factory. i have met many mediocre traders with that mentality, but no great or even good ones.

Aug 7, 2014

In any job that is a truly competitive endeavor or has open-ended compensation, there should be room to improve and therefore not be bored. Considering Danica Patrick has never won a NASCAR race, I'd be surprised she is content with her current spot. There will always be room to do better.

Aug 7, 2014

Passion gives you more stamina, but Michael Jordan has 3-4 more standard deviations than the average human being, and 2-3 more than the average person at an investment bank.

And for most people passion isn't a switch you turn on or off. I feel like I am trying to answer this question for the average sellside trader while you are trying to answer this question for Michael Jordan. In CS we were taught to try to be conservative and optimize for the worst case or average case. I think the other danger here is that many people (not just traders) think they're MJ when they may just be Scottie Pippin or Steve Kerr or even just a college basketball player.

There are a lot of competitive people in this business. A few of them want to believe they're MJ or Nelly or whatever. A few of them are but most aren't. (I am just making a general observation that isn't specific to anyone on WSO) I think they'd be a lot happier and everyone around them would be a lot happier if they were willing to let go of some of that. If they realized that what they had was enough. If they could just smile and waive to the camera and walk into the sunset happily ever after with that banker job their college self fantasized about.

I was happy to make it from a Midwestern state school to NYC. I was thrilled to land in the FO. I was ecstatic to make it to the buyside. That's enough for me. Most parts of most jobs are boring. Practicing going around an oval track 100,000 times is not interesting and 10 hours of free throw practice every week was probably boring too for MJ. He puts up with it because he's passionate, and he gets to have fun for ~2 hours 80 days out of the year. Most of us aren't as passionate as MJ but we're perfectly successful by most measures. If you don't need more to be happy... everything is upside.

Aug 7, 2014

I think if you really want to "walk into the sunset" because you got an entry level banking job then that is a very strange mindset for wall st. I dont want to get into a debate about the meaning of life but i will just say that if u only aspire to an entry level corporate job-type pay with job security then going to wall st isnt the right move...civil service or government are much better choices that will meet your pay requirements, give you no stress, and will provide almost complete job security which wall st lacks. Seriously you should get on the list for FDNY...as a fireman, you would have more time for hang gliding, would be retired in twenty years, and as a bonus you get much more love from women as a fireman then as a quant.

Aug 7, 2014

Only though there's no intellectual challenge in that. And there's no comedy in a confused Midwestern bumpkin running around as a firefighter. As a quant who works with a bunch of sophisticated finance people asking questions about covariance matrices with his sing-songy Midwestern akzent, now that's funny.

I probably could have done just as well as a firefighter, but it wouldn't have been as interesting.

Aug 7, 2014

That's for you though. Firefighters (being demographically less well-educated) likely enjoy it for reasons other than intellectual stimulation. Same goes with actors, pro athletes, pornstars... etc. Different strokes for different folks.

On that note Illini, ever thought about 'transcending' to a PM role rather than sticking with the quant back-end? I personally can't stand computing covariance matrices over more artsy stuff like stock picking

Aug 7, 2014
Unheard of:

That's for you though. Firefighters (being demographically less well-educated) likely enjoy it for reasons other than intellectual stimulation. Same goes with actors, pro athletes, pornstars... etc. Different strokes for different folks.

On that note Illini, ever thought about 'transcending' to a PM role rather than sticking with the quant back-end? I personally can't stand computing covariance matrices over more artsy stuff like stock picking

Well there's no winning by my getting into the details of my situation if you think about it. If I'm a BO quant Bondarb now has ammunition to make fun of me in other threads. :D If I have a more FO role, I make people here jealous which completely defeats the purpose of my posting in this thread- to try and cheer sell side traders up and help them feel better about their jobs (largely for the benefit of everyone who works with them). All that I am going to say is that I'm happy where I am, that other people in this thread will make more money and find more success than me, and that being bored some or even most of the time is a function of every job.

Aug 8, 2014

Yeah I don't really agree that people who have really excelled at something are necessarily bored when they do it. But then again, does it ultimately matter whether someone is bored or not? Would suspect one common trait among people who are able to excel is the ability to structure life not just around personal feelings/whims. For example, if you aspire to be good at trading a product, but don't consistently do your homework out of feelings of laziness/boredom, then that may be a problem (yes, self-discipline is tricky). More absurd example: if you wanted to feel good all the time maybe instead of having gone to school it would've been better to be having sex all the time (or a fireman, as I've learned from thread).

Also happiness, which isn't terribly well-defined, probably shouldn't always be conflated with ultimate success or that which is to be desired the most. Eminem is considered a pretty successful rapper, though he probably wasn't too thrilled about all those lawsuits, BUT they did provide further useful material. I don't think any apparent contradictions exist in any of my examples, allowing for exception of cognitive dissonance which everyone must confront.

Aug 7, 2014

markets arent moving. of course its boring

alpha currency trader wanna-be

Aug 8, 2014

OP, you really should do an MBA. Its fun and opens up a whole new world professionally.

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Aug 10, 2014

Am I the only one around here who actually likes to stay late at night filling those sexy excel cells with strangely computed numbers, looking at those mean reverting charts, thinking how awesome this whole stuff is?

You killed the Greece spread goes up, spread goes down, from Wall Street they all play like a freak, Goldman Sachs 'o beat.

Aug 16, 2014

This thread went in a different direction, but I work in IB now in a strong MM bank and did an IB M&A internship and have been strongly considering trying to get into S&T. I love managing my personal account and have been interested in trading for a while so I'm thinking that it could really be a job that I really look forward to going to in the morning. It's interesting to read all of your perspectives. After finally getting a FT IB offer and working the long hours, it's made me start thinking about what I actually want to do. Hopefully, we are all able to find a rewarding career that we enjoy.

Aug 16, 2014
mhmonkey:

This thread went in a different direction, but I work in IB now in a strong MM bank and did an IB M&A internship and have been strongly considering trying to get into S&T. I love managing my personal account and have been interested in trading for a while so I'm thinking that it could really be a job that I really look forward to going to in the morning. It's interesting to read all of your perspectives. After finally getting a FT IB offer and working the long hours, it's made me start thinking about what I actually want to do. Hopefully, we are all able to find a rewarding career that we enjoy.

Hopefully a trader will weigh in on your post at some point, but in their absence, I'll give you my perspective from my time as a quant in S&T.

1.) When you graduated, people warned you about the long hours and lack of sleep in banking. You listened, you tried to understand what they were saying. It probably did not occur to you that 80 hours/week with three weeks of vacation per year is different than 80 hours/week with 16 weeks of vacation per year, as you got in college. Bear with me and try to understand that the things that I'm warning you about may hit you harder than you think.

2.) Trading has about the same stress of IBD, but that stress is compressed into 8 hours instead of 16. Traders then spend 3 of the gained hours drinking and a few more sleeping. Overall it may be more of a wash on health than you think. Quants and salespeople have it a little bit easier, but it's stressful for us, too. It's one thing to be able to drink- it's another, quite scary thing to be a little more dependent on alcohol than you would like. Furthermore, you will hear stories about 30-year-olds having heart attacks and arrhythmias, not to mention weekends and mandatory block leaves spent at the Betty Ford Clinic.

3.) Sitting on the trading floor will make you a more cynical person. Congressional hearings will appear on CNBC and traders will make fun of pols. Ok, sounds funny. But after you've heard "Bawney Fwamk" and "Shitty Deawhs" for the 1000th time, and all of the anger and pent up rage and cynicism, that starts to rub off on you, too. Occasionally you'll hear about someone taking advantage of someone else's stupidity (hopefully not your firm doing it- usually some story about a client that got screwed by another bank.) The currency of trading is factual information, sometimes with a bias towards the ugliest parts of the truth, and this tends to make people more cynical.

4.) You probably got into banking for the exit opportunities. And that's great. But if you're getting out of banking for the hours, you're selling options if you move into trading in a way that you wouldn't be- at least to the same degree- by moving to a job with better hours in PE, Consulting, Research, or Asset Management. Traders always complained about how hard it was to get out if you didn't want to stay in trading. One of my coworkers- Harvard undergrad, 3.8 GPA, trader at a BB ranked in the top 2-3 on volume in the market she covered, was over the moon when she got an admit at Columbia for an MBA. She gave her two weeks' notice the next day and threw an amazing going away party. First time I'd ever seen a Harvard undergrad over the moon to get into a non H/Y/P/S for grad school. Many (not all) traders can't escape trading. If you value optionality, take advantage of your other exit options from banking.

It might be helpful for some of the other folks reading this post if you could clarify whether you're interested in becoming a trader, getting an FO job in S&T, or simply getting out of IBD. (No harm in that- wanting out simply means you want some semblance of a life.)

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Aug 18, 2014

if u aren't cynical about politicians i dont think u r reading the news....

Aug 18, 2014
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Aug 17, 2014
Aug 18, 2014