The trouble with holidays is that they’re always too short; time never seems to move faster than when you’re enjoying a wonderful cruise. But end they must and end they do and it’s back to one’s normal routine, which includes returning to the trading desk in my case. Ever notice that markets always seem to trend best when you’re not trading them? Oh, well, I guess Murphy has something to say about that somewhere. And for those of you who read Pipsqueaks number two you’ll be glad to hear that I didn’t once touch the market while I was away (although I did peek once or twice). When I first entered the chat room upon my return I noticed a member had posted some frustrations regarding misconceptions about this thing we do called “trading”, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on that.
I worked for over 35 years in the aerospace industry in the field of Special Tooling, a niche occupation if there ever was one. The moment you mention the word “tooling” in reply to that dreaded question “what do you do for a living?” people automatically assume you make hammers and screwdrivers, which couldn’t be further from the truth. While we were away we visited a winery in France and the gentleman next to me was marveling at the machine that sticks the labels on the bottles and installed the corks. Completely fascinated by the workings of this machine, he commented to me about just how amazing this contraption was. I smiled and in reply commented that, before I retired from aerospace, I used to design stuff like that. To me it wasn’t amazing at all, just some air actuators, stainless steel and aluminum plates and angles just bolted together. And not even anodized!
Anyway, this fellow just looked at me as if I said I was pregnant and exclaimed, “Oh my!” I confess I never liked explaining to people what I did for a living because it was hard to do without being a bore (explaining away that screwdriver thing you know). I find Forex trading to have a lot in common with my past career. People just don’t “get” what you do, and you’re painted with this “gambling” brush which is not only unfair but just plain wrong. I am reminded of a gentleman I had the good fortune to work for many years ago; his name was Don. Brilliant when it came to tooling, he was my favorite “idea” go-to guy when I had a challenging project. He once commented to me that he so disliked telling people what he did for a living that when asked he would only reply, “I’m the janitor. I sweep up.” He told me that when he did that people understood perfectly and would never question him further on that subject. And yes, I have actually use that line once or twice in the past, and sometimes contemplate using today it when asked the dreaded “what do you do” question. Nevertheless, it is frustrating. I genuinely like to share with people what it is I do and I really would like them to understand it. Whereas I cannot make people understand, please allow me to promote a little encouragement for those of who get discouraged by this.
I regularly have lunch get-togethers with a former manager of mine; his name is Bill. One of the most brilliant and pragmatic people I know, he is extremely skeptical of trading as an occupation, even though he won’t admit it. I might as well hang out at the local casino and feed slot machines all day as far as he is concerned. But remember, this is not gambling, it is speculating, which is different. According to Merriam-Webster, two thirds of the definition of gambling pertains to “games”. Speculating is not a game, it is an investment risk with the anticipation of profit for one’s investment. It is a business, not a hobby, nor is it an amusement for just passing the time. Like many business pursuits, it is one that requires ongoing education, discipline, participation, and a fair amount of hard work in order to reap profits. Yes it’s true that, like gambling, there are people who make their living that way. More power to them for those that can do that (I for one couldn’t and, in fact, while on our recent cruise I didn’t even stop at the shipboard casino and play the slots or blackjack as I had in the past).
Speaking of my friend Bill, I’m having lunch with him today. I know I’m going to get that funny look from him when I mention anything to do with Forex, that only he can give. But that’s okay. I have a few other resources for dealing with this which I’ll share in part two as well as sharing one of my favorite tools for chart analysis. Until then take care and see you next time.
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