What you do for a living is not a moral argument. The role you play in the market is to serve yourself first. You cannot be side-tracked by straw-man arguments or proponents who’d rather see you cap your upside by becoming a cubicle farmer.
Now if you come from 4 generations of blue-collar despair, then then maybe a job in civil service is for you.
You parents want you to grow up to become a capitalist. In all my years, I’ve never heard anyone say, “Honey, when you grow up you can be the manager at the DMV or you can run MaBSTOA.” They want you to do better than they’ve done for themselves. That’s what I heard growing up. My dad was in a labor union and my mother was in civil service.
Admittedly, someone has to fulfill the roles in public service, but you may have more ambition and you may seek greater challenges. You don’t have to work on a pay-grade because someone else feels what is best for them is what is best for you. That’s political jawboning at its best.
When someone is out of a job it’s natural to be envious and angry at those who are working and especially those who are making a killing in soaring commodity or equity markets. Professional traders have spent an enormous amount of time and hard work to get the riches they rightly deserve.
When you are an employee, you go to bed at night knowing that your job is NOT secure and you must live by your choices. If your boss is a scumbag, or your get fired, or software has replaced your job function, it is your responsibility to be the linchpin as Seth Godin detailed in his awesome book Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
You made a deliberate choice to be an employee and you get all the upside and downside that goes with it. You must always be relevant and YOU have a lot to do with that. In fact, you have EVERYTHING to do with that.
You don’t want further training to help ensure that you’re not expendable? That to me is pure speculation on your part that you’ll be needed in the future. That is risky behavior. That is gambling. That is myopic.
The surveys that ask people about how many “quality hours” they work in a typical day…those aren’t for traders. In those surveys, folks admitted to working only 4-5 quality hours per day, yet they expect to get paid for all 8. A trader who doesn’t focus intently all day (at least 8 hours) has no one to blame but himself for losing money or missing an opportunity.
As a trader, you too go to bed with great uncertainty: you may never be profitable ever again. There may be another flash crash. There may be another Phillip Bennett at work right now. That is the uncertainty that you have deliberately chosen to live with.
My hat’s off to you if you decide to serve the public via DMV or MaBSTOA.
You can still be a trader by night and have the best of it…