Ever thought of leaving your job? Listen to my story, pro trading behind the scenes

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by John47, May 10, 2006.

  1. John47


    I thought I'd share my story (up till this point) with my ET friends. First some background...

    My senior year in college I was pretty lost. I had good grades, but a go nowhere major and no real idea what I wanted to do. My dad is a self made businessman (from the oldschool) and made alot of money working hard, he wanted me to do the same. So I starting looking into how I could do the same.

    I came across the normal bullshit people think they can get rich off of, basically real estate and day trading. Too easy I thought, after reading some of the watered down books. I no longer even wanted to look for a job, just buy real estate and trade stocks. Of course, I started working for my dad at his business after school, telling him he had no excuse for not shelling out the $25,000 I needed to get past the PDT rule, or ponying up the same amount so I could put a down payment down on my first investment property. "It's a sure fire thing, dad!"

    After a few more months of reading and trying to decide what I was going to do with my life, trading seemed like a fit for me. I continued to research with a vengence, and thought that all I needed was a grubstake and I'd be rich in a few months.

    My cousin is a local at CME and made millions, so they weren't opposed to trading, just to shelling out money when the return wasn't so sure. "Can't you get hired somewhere where they'll teach you, " they asked. "no, it doesn't work like that." I said.

    Finally, I got $3000 out of my dear parents to open an acount to trade the ES. I then proceeded to figure out what a future was. I wasn't exactly able to buy NXTL at the first pullback from a high but I read that candlestick book so I was ready, right? Just a few more bucks a month for Esignal and I was set. Oh yeah, and front end.

    You know the rest, right?

    Ups and downs, mostly downs. But I learned more trading than I ever had reading about it. Eventually, I realized, or was forced to realize I wasn't about to make a living scalping ES from a retail account, with no expirience. Even my cuz had warned me but I didn't listen. So it was back to work with my dad, long hours in his business, which is basically a sweatshop, and I'm embarassed to say, but I started to resent him for how hard he worked me.

    Maybe a year went by, I was still following markets, trying to formulate how I could live the dream of trading for a living. How I could go to my HS reunion in a few years and hold my head up high. Thats when I got the call.

    I had placed a resume online saying I wanted to trade, and in what I can only call an honest to God miracle, it was answered. By the right people.

    Without really knowing what i was getting into, I was offered a shot.

    Drop everything, move to Chicago. Become a clerk, and a group of successful traders will teach you their edge and back you financially. So I did.

    For three months I did nothing but learn, stuff that I had never read about in books, tricks that floor traders knew that could be applied to the screen. REAL trading.

    Then I was given a desk, a computer, a bloomberg terminal, and a globex account to trade 1 lots. Wow. Trade with us for a few years, we'll take all the risk and we'll split the profits, they said. The other young traders in my group were making hundreds of thousands a year, some already owned their own seats.

    But its nothing like you'd think. Trading for a living is WORK. And more stressful than anything I've ever done. For the first time in my life, I might not be smart enough or good enough to do something I really want to. Thats the shadow I see every day. This is a hard business, don't ever forget that.

    Every day, I wake up at 12 AM, that's the middle of the night to you and me, go to the office to trade the European markets and watch other traders positions. When the U.S. opens I keep trading and try not to get my ass handed to me. At the close (14 hours later) I take the train home for a nap. It starts again maybe four hours later. But I have the promise that if I make it, they'll help me buy a seat and I'll be a real trader.

    I'm trading 5 lots now and doing "ok", the markets been tough.

    Ya know what I think about through this? The work and the life that right now, isn't really mine...it belongs to my backers, the guys that take the risk of my trading...I think about my old man. How hard he made me work before I got this shot. How I started to resent him a bit...but now, appreciate him more than he'll know. He worked like this, and he made it, with no college degree and nothing going for him...and he wanted me to do the same.

    So I wanna make it. I wanna get up in a few hours and go put a few winners on. And do the same tommorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. For myself, but to make him proud to.

    Where I come from, a small town, nothing ever changes. People do the same things, hang out with the same people, go to the same bars day after day. People say they wanna leave, but they don't really want to. They want the comfort that all that consistency provides. I'm taking a risk, putting myself out there and risking failure. Sticking my neck out because I'm the guy everybody thought would succeed, and I'm doing something where the odds really and truly are against me. Yeah, this worries me.

    But i remind myself, that this is an opportunity to be tested. Most people will go through life always wishing they had a shot...that they were tested. That they really could have found out if they were "good enough." Well this is mine. I'm finding out everyday what I really am made of. If you don't fight in a war, or have some similar expirience (not to compare, but you know what I mean)...you may not ever get that shot. To see what you'd do when you have that opportunity, to either do something great or slink away in the shadows. I'm getting that.

    I've already figured it out for myself, that I'll be satisfied whether I make it or not, as long as I truly give it my best. And thats all I'm doing each day, thats what I'll be doing in just about 3 hours, when you're all still asleep, dreaming about that trading for a living job that seems so perfect.
  2. Thaks for sharing your story. I hope to share mine when I have time. I got my law degree and became a lawyer because I loved the law. Traded a little on the side and just became more and more infatuated with the markets. Trading picked up more and more and did the requisite blowing up of an account trading options.

    Vowed to never let me be so stupid again so studied and studied and read and started small and kept working at it. Decided it was time to leave the law and pursue what I loved and went back to school to get a Masters in Finance while still working as a lawyer. Busted my ass for years testing and trading and learning and growing my capital and looking for funds (was too late to go back and start as a clerk by then).

    Now, with hopefully enough capital will be leaving the law fully for good in the near future and its wonderful security to trade full time and stay at home with my family. Most difficult thing I have ever had to do and I have never stressed like I do now with trading but it is what I want to do. It is not about the money, it is about being 34 and quitting my job to do my own thing and be at home with my kid (July) and have the freedom to do all the other things I have thought of. I will leave the millions to the BSDs on the floor. For me, just want to pay all my expenses and have a nice chunk left over to live happily.....

    It is not easy do a complete change of careers and going back to school after law school, but just to let you know if you really want to do this, you have to bust your ass more than you ever have before, and even though I have, I realize i am still 100 miles away. Knowing how difficult it is and respecting it daily is what keeps me focused and dedicated but there are those bad days I wonder why I ever wanted to do this. But that is true with anything. It is never as glamourous as you first think and the grit truly reveals itself, but you have to want it to crawl through the mud...
  3. CONR


    Good stories. Thanks for sharing.
  4. Nice story, your getting a chance that not many people in the world get, or will ever attempt.

    Take full advantage and learn. I started when I was 18, I'm now 19 and still at it, it is possible, just have to take it slow and not be greedy and be willing to learn and be objective.
  5. Hybone


    I never imagined that we are the same age .... good going OC, you're ahead of me already :)

  6. newguy1


    Great story. Did you finish your undergrad, or hop right into trading without your degree?
  7. John47...

    What securities are you trading on European markets?

    Good story, btw.

    Good luck to you!
  8. MTE



    Great story, thanks for sharing!

    Good luck!
  9. marky1


    The markets are always tough.
  10. Tums


    Shocks... I was about to quit trading and go back to school to get a law degree.
    #10     May 11, 2006