I have a question. Frankly, I am in limbo with my career. First, I need more experience. I have worked in operations at a large IB (dead end). I have done Trade Support for a CTA, working with him (great experience, no opportunity for growth). I have worked on the dealing desk for a FCM that strictly deals in retail FX (Retail FX is a joke, 99% blew up their account within 3 months). I enjoy trading, researching the fundamentals, monitoring news, understanding technicals, etc. Right now, I have my own operation, which is sales oriented, i.e. cold calling, trading the accounts, generating commissions, etc. Although I am good at selling or offering advice, I despise it. Chasing prospects, convincing them to do something they may not want to do is a waste of time inside a life that is too short. I cannot do this for an extended period of time. It is pathetic since I run my own operation and encourage, teach and train others on what to do. Not interested in sales jobs. My cash flow is diminishing. My bankroll to trade is insufficient to maintain my current expenses (without abandoning any risk management). My educational background is par, nothing spectacular; Top 50 school from US News. My goal, as I am sure is the majority, is to make at a minimum of $20K per month with an opportunity for a seven-figure income. Now, the latter could happen 2 years from now, or 10 years from now, but I want that opportunity. I certainly do not mind sacrificing for several years or a decade to position myself for that opportunity down the road. The question I have is what direction shall I proceed to go in? 1) Floor? First I need to start out as a clerk. At the minimum I would need to clerk for 1 year, and then I would a stake to trade or I could use my bankroll. I could lease a seat for $1K a month, but I have no idea how to trade on the floor. So, I have spoken to at least six traders who have their own business on the floor. EVERYONE says I would be wasting my time, âYou are overqualifiedâ, âYou would be taking a massive pay cutâ, etc. Initially I disregarded the guys who discouraged me because a good friend who trades electronically on the floor, told me to get down there in any way possible. But now, his tune is changing. And everyone is stroking me the same way. âIt is going electronic, why waste 2-4 years of your life dicking around, learning a system that will not be here by the end of the decade?â 2) Bank? In my late 20s; too old to start the âAssociateâ program; set aside that, my educational background is not strong enough. One of good friends works at Top 20 IB in the Credit Derivatives department. He is a TA or bitch boy for trade support. He has his MBA; loves mathematical theory. I was under the impression that he was on the fast track to trade. He pulls in $120K/yr. Two weekends ago, on the way back from the Preakness I found out he is dissatisfied with his current standing in the company. He has been there for 1-Â½ years. They just brought in a 25 yr. old (friend is 28) from a Top 3 IB to trade. This guy will make a minimum $300K and he is already down $5MM for the year. So my buddy is fucking pissed. Now he is telling me he wants to go to a mutual fund to trade fixed income. Or he will make a âlateralâ move only to GS. From an analytical standpoint, he is probably the smartest individual I know. I purchased Tim Crackâs âHeard On the Streetâ. Just to test him, I threw out question after question. He nailed it every time. Here is the point. My buddy, who has been working in Credit Derivatives for four years now and who has an above par undergrad and grad school degree, is NOT on the fast track. BUT, who knows in 7-10 years he could be making $500K base w/ bonus. If I had to do it all over I would have pushed harder for what he has. Now, at my age, it is too late to go that route EVEN if I pressed my friends to get me in someone AND I got the opportunity. The back or middle office is available. And I would earn a good living ($60-80K), but how the fuck can I buy a Porsche on that salary J ? 3) Independent? This more relates to this forum. Ideally, being the next Kovner or Tudor Jones would be perfect. That is more less the attitude I have now; working my brokerage business and at the same time building my account. BUT I am playing with peanuts, less than $100K. Plus I am self-taught. I have picked up a lot of shit in the last few years, but nothing where I can build a money management business. If was given $50MM I might be able to churn out a decent profit, but with significant draw downs. My strategy is vanilla, trend following. I need to learn from someone who is successful. I have even tracked two guys who were noted in âMarket Wizardsâ, asking for an opportunity to work for them. No dice. They wished me luck, but were brief. Money management (CTA or Hedgie) is my medium to long-term goal, but I need to have more experience and knowledge. I need to learn from a real guy or from a recognized bank, fund, etc. This I know. At this point it would not be prudent to open up shop as a CTA. I am just not ready. I need more experience. 4) Hedge fund? Similar situation as it would be with the bank, with less bureaucratic nonsense. Recently, I interviewed with a guy who was looking for a âJunior Traderâ. They have $250MM under management. Within 15 minutes the interviewer told me that this position would be more clerical. He had worked with Schoenfeld (Prop shop). Now he is partly responsible for $250MM. They focus on Emerging Markets. This is my only Hedge Fund experience (at least on the buy side). If I were offered a job with SAC, Renaissance, Marathon, etc, I would take it, albeit the mailroom. I have yet to submit my resume (unsolicited) because I do not believe they would hire me. Outside of the latter interview with the $250MM Hedgie, DE Shaw emailed me asking me to submit a 3 page essay discussing whatever, I do not even remember. Still in my mailbox, but have not acted upon it. Hedge fund could be the best move. I live in NYC. After writing all this shit out, I am starting to think I should track down every fund who has $100MM in the New York area. Maybe this is the move. Honestly, I really wanted the floor job, even if I had to sacrifice, but every person I spoke with suggested I look elsewhere. 5) Prop shop? Possibly a good experience, but the real money is having your own shop. Similar to what I am doing now. Retail. Don Bright is making 8 figures a year, according to Trader Monthly. Considering everything is going electronic I mauled the idea of an âarcadeâ. However, I really do not have enough knowledge to put something like that together. I am at the end, with my six pack that is. Looking for any insight from guys who have the experience. What direction would you go in? I am entrepreneurial; would like to use my brain as opposed to my mouth to make money; truly passionate about the markets, need more experience before I start up as a CTA (trade commodities/FX). But again, I need more experience before the latter. Getting up there in age. I need to make a move sooner than later. From the recommendations given to me, the floor is a no go. Thanks for wasting your time reading my queries. Any insight would be appreciated.