While I was on holiday in Bali recently, a miracle occurred.
I went out on a date.
I realise for most of you going on a date isn’t a really big deal, but when the nearest restaurant is 250 km away from your home and it’s a pretty average one at that, the incentive for a night out is somewhat diminished.
Anyway, as my husband was engrossed in the most divine Indian meal ever, I took advantage of his inability to speak and filled him in on the last three and a half years of my trading news.
And it astonished me to realise that I had, in fact, been trading for close to 4 years.
Previously, I had been all over the show career-wise. I had a list as long as my arm of the jobs I’d had a go at, and while I’d been relatively good at everything I did (except perhaps beauty therapy), but nothing held my interest for very long and I always ended up changing tack after a short period either through circumstance or a general lack of enthusiasm.
But trading has had me gripped from the very first (slightly delusional) moment when I thought people were going to pay me to buy bargains writing puts.
And even though that particular idea proved ill-fated, the personal challenge presented by my failure was irresistible.
It’s made me realise exactly why nothing kept me inspired pre-trading, and the specific flaws my previous jobs had that made it impossible for me to stick them out.
1. Sales - Out of everything I’ve done, selling was my favourite. I loved the challenge of meeting targets but I disliked being bribed with promotion, which was constantly dangled over my head like a carrot. Unfortunately when push came to shove the promotions were invariably given to someone else. (Obviously through no fault of my own )
Trading allows me to pay myself exactly what I deserve, not a penny more or less. The sky is the limit and I can reach that as soon as I’m able, with the surety that no-one else is going to pip me at the post.
2. Beauty Therapy – Is boring. I loved the working for myself part, I disliked the fluffy brainless part. I especially hated the “I’m really sorry but I’ve just waxed off your eyebrow” part.
To be honest, trading has it’s boring moments but it keeps me continually challenged. If the actual trading is boring, there’s the reflection and psychological improvements that ensure you never get stagnant.
3. Retail – What self-respecting adult wants to work on weekends and holidays for $17 bucks an hour?
Oh the beauty of a flexible timetable! 24 hour markets are the bomb when it comes to working when you want. Sick kids? No problem. Hairdressing emergency? All over it. And best of all, the markets are closed on the weekends. Perfect!
4. Make-up Artistry and Hair Design - Again, I loved working for myself and it was great money but I had to deal with brides. On Saturdays.
Thankfully, the only vicious, irrational, stressed out freak you ever have to work with as a trader is yourself.
If right now you’re thinking trading must be all that and a bag of donuts, I have to be honest with you. There is a “con”.
Back on our date in Bali, I asked my husband (a school Principal) if he felt like education was the only thing for him. If he felt so passionate about his career path that he really couldn’t imagine himself quitting and doing something entirely different.
Between mouthfuls he replied that he’d be perfectly happy being a fisherman.
Traders – successful traders, that is – don’t have that. I’ve never met a successful trader that could quite happily quit and go do something else entirely.
For me, trading is all there is. I cannot imagine a life without trading in some form or another.
To become successful at trading you have to be very single-minded about it. It requires a great deal of both physical and emotional capital, and without an all-consuming passion for the job it’s a price most people will find too high to pay.