The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Trading Floors

Last week I attended a meeting that took place in a conference room overlooking the trading floor of one of the city's well-known investment banks. Like most modern trading floors, it was vast; hundreds of turrets, most with two or three large screens.

During the meeting, I noticed a couple of guys throwing around a football. This might strike people who are not used to a trading floor environment as strange but it is perfectly normal on "the floor". Indeed, the football catch brought back sweet memories of my days on the trading floor. I myself have been involved in countless catches.

In 1986, I joined an investment bank as counsel. While I had a regular office, I spent a great deal of time on the floor. All the noise, the ocassional screaming, the balls flying around, the loony array of characters (and the salty language) took some getting used to. In the beginning, talking on the phone while on the floor was quite a challenge. Drafting or editing documents was a real test because I was used to a quiet environment that was conducive to concentrating.

Quickly, however, I got used to it and actually began to love the energy generated on a busy trading floor. What made things particularly fun was that we were in a new and developing business and we were sort of making it up as we went. And, we were the market leader. Those were wild times.

A couple of years later we moved to another space and my office actually overlooked the floor. From that point on I was almost never in my office and got completely comfortable with the lunacy of the trading floor. I never had as much fun as I had during those years (at least until now).



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