When You Have No Plan

My wife and I were chatting the other night about the beginning of our marriage.  When you hit the 30 mark, you reflect a little.  One of the things that we didn’t have was an exact plan.  We had notions, but nothing was mapped.

My career was like that too.  When I left 3M for the trading floor I was engaged.  My future father in law wasn’t too happy.  I made $150/wk gross with no benefits and had to move back home.  The day I got married, I was making $400/wk (no benefits).  My wife had a job with Johnson and Johnson.

How did we know it was going to work?

I had confidence in myself.  From the very first time I ever walked on a trading floor, I knew I could do it.  I had to pay my dues.  Runner, clerk to trader.  The jump from clerk to trader was the hardest one because I didn’t have the money to do it.  You needed $25k and enough money to lease a seat.  I had to find a person to back me and thank goodness Roger did.  But, if he didn’t I felt like I could find someone else.

I had to learn the ways of the floor.  Did I want to be a broker or a local?  (I chose local) What were the cultural norms? How do you do hand signals?  How do you manage risk?  How do you even decide what to trade?  When you do, how do you find your niche?  Where do you try to position yourself to get the best order flow?  How do you manage the psychological part of trading?  The psychological part was tougher than the physical part.

I made money from Day 1.  I won’t say I wasn’t scared or intimidated.  I was.  There were many times during my time on the floor where I was unsuccessful or took big losses.  In 2003, it looked like it all was going to be over for good but I eeked out more years.

Startups do a lot of the same stuff.  So do venture capitalists.

I like this tweet.

I feel the same way today that I felt in 1986.

  • romeobravo

    From Scott Adams, a system, not necessarily goals for everything. I have been trying to transition to that line of thinking!

    • Systems work. They break down, but then you just adjust.