Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Interview

"IS ALBERT BETTER THAN YOU?" Peter roared across the desk at me.

I was taken aback by the question and before I could answer, he answered for me.

"HE'S 3.8, YOU'RE 3.6, HE'S BETTER."

His office was small and cluttered. Or perhaps it just seemed small because his voice was so big, and his presence larger. I had taken a seat in the recently vacated chair. The hot seat. From the corner of his desk, he lifted a stack of resumes. On each were illegible scribbles in red pen. Peter's desk was littered with red pens. There was some sort of order in the office, though maybe only in the same way that wind has direction. He began to read the GPAs off the resumes to me, "3.8, 3.7. 3.9, 4.0... he must have read 30 different GPAs, and not one was lower than 3.5. He was proud of this stack of resumes. He was in control of this stack, these traders.

He patted the stack with his hand and yelled, "ONLY THE BEST! THE BEST!" Proud of his traders, like they were his children and he their twisted father.

Peter looked directly at me, breathing loudly through his large nostrils. Like bull-nostrils, I thought. His forearms were large but oddly, hairless, and they rested on the desk. His thinning hair was a mess. He had strange eyes... was he drunk? on some drug? There were sweat rings under his armpits even though it was the middle of the winter. I couldn't guess how old or what nationality he was. He was like no one I had ever met before.


He held the stack of resumes up and shook it at me again before I could answer, "THESE GUYS WIN." He threw the stack of papers down. I didn't know if I should say anything, so I didn't. Peter stared at me, and without breaking the stare, he reached for a red pen, bit the cap off and spit it on the floor. He picked up my resume and started to dissect it, circling my GPA and making notations in the margins. What could he be writing down?

"GOOD SCHOOL!" He flashed the wolfish smile again.

But a second later he looked up at me shaking his head, and sneered, "BIRDWATCHING?"


He snorted at his own joke but I wasn't overly amused. He looked at me like he had just bestowed some great truth upon me and I didn't get it. He seemed disappointed. A look of boredom crossed his face and his eyes moved and met the flashes on his computer screen.

The interview didn't seem to be going well.

He continued to watch the screen, eyes darting back and forth, up and down. Now he smiled, then, he frowned. His brow furrowed, then it went calm. He seemed to be on some kind of mental roller-coaster but he was just staring at flashing numbers on a screen. He was completely absorbed and seemed to forget I was even there. Minutes passed. He was watching trader's profit and loss numbers and Anvil's volume totals. I guess to him it must have been like watching a horse race where you see your winnings pile up regardless of who comes in first. The room was silent and the screams and clatter from the trading room outside the door which once were so disconcerting, now seemed comforting.

Suddenly, as if a spell had been broken his face snapped away from the screen and he began to scrutinize me with those crazy eyes. He had been gazing at the screen for so long that I thought I could see little numbers and blips of red and green reflected in his pupils. He was number-drunk.

"WANNA TRADE?" he bawled across the desk.

I hedged. "Yeah, I'm really thinking about it..."

"DON'T THINK." He interrupted. "TRADE."

And with that, he yanked open a drawer and produced a huge blue vinyl-clad binder with the words "Series 7 Examination Manual" embossed in gold across the front. He thrust it across the desk at me knocking red pens onto the floor.


He stood up from his desk, swung open the office door and yelled "NEXT!" to no one in particular and then stormed down the hallway knocking thumbtack-stuck papers off of the cubicle walls.


FX said...

Thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

man you got a bargain- i was .03 and 15 a tix. didnt even know how badly they were violating me. good post.

Dinosaur Trader said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Gator, it's amazing that you paid rates like that and are still here to talk about it! You must be a solid trader!


Woodshedder said...

Hey DT- could you elaborate on what the .02 and 8 means?

Dinosaur Trader said...

Woodshedder (aka TWW),

Those were my initial commission rates. So if I bought 100 shares of a stock and then sold it, I paid $4 in share commission and $16 in tickets. If I remember correctly, you only paid the ticket charge once a day. So if I traded XYZ five times, I had $16 in total ticket charges, not $80.

Anyway, basically, the break even at those rates, you need to make a quarter point on a trade. Not really so easy when you're first starting (not easy now either, btw!) but I think it did help me be more selective...


Anonymous said...

Good story. What company and city was that if I may ask?

Dinosaur Trader said...


NYC, Black Anvil Capital.

Names have been changed.

Thanks for reading,


Anonymous said...

NYC, Black Anvil Capital.
Names have been changed.
Thanks for reading,"

No, thanks to you for taking the time to write the stories :-) I think that I have figured out where it was via the ET board :-)

Dinosaur Trader said...


I'd love see a link to that discussion in the forum if you could provide one,

thanks, DT