My wife had a workshop with a big, new corporate today. Something that could easily run over into extra-time so we decided I would take the first born progeny to kindergarten this morning and then I’d pick her up again at lunchtime and take her to her swimming lesson. I’d head off to real-work after and wrangle the minions, beat some of the more malinger-ish looking ones with the ‘cudgel of motivation’ (actually just a handy length of stainless steel off-cut) and generally swing my burgeoning girth around in a manner that suggests I am the law. (And people read books about business management… *derisive snort*)
Which meant, (counts on his fingers)… eh… four… and a half hours of Joey time in which I could sit my newly minted fortress of solitude at home, listening to loud music and trading in peace and harmony and generally just being awesome.
I was super excited. I had my whole morning planned out… I even wrote out a to-do list (of a kind) on a yellow post-it and attached it to the bottom of one my screens. Had my bar racked up for dead-lifts and squats (during trades) and built myself a delicious stove top espresso to kick things off along with my oats-blue-berries-rasp-berries-cranberries-maple-syrup-and-almonds.
I even did some pre-market due diligence. Which I don’t often do… because… well… I’m predominantly a scalp trader, so really a long view about what the day is going to do is feels… *shrugs* lets go with ‘not super helpful’. Also, market commentators… are… well…
Lets take this morning as an example. GBP/USD.
Market will test new highs of… whatever the figure it was… after yesterdays gains. Versus the very next article saying something along the lines of, ‘traders are looking for any opportunity to sell this market after yesterdays surprising bounce.
Somewhere, while rolling my eyes at this antithesis, I missed something important, namely that the UK was releasing CPI numbers today. Which was a massive oversight on my part. Any time big data (like Consumer Price Index) is released it can make the markets a bit manic and potentially treacherous… especially to those who are oblivious. I usually don’t trade days like this until the numbers are out and have been digested and people have decided the world isn’t ending or whatever, and things can continue on their merry way, be that up or down or sideways…
I started out with two long trades on the Cable. And… they were both doing well enough. In fact if I’d followed my own ruleset I would have closed both positions and been done for the day. Wham, bam, thank you mam.
Of course this is NOT what happened. Because I am… *sigh* an idiot. Its about now… about half an hour before London opened that I realized the CPI numbers were being released.
‘This is fine, I can manage this…’
I said. Because… well… I had built this day up in my head I think. And… really I wanted to sit and trade and be awesome and listen to loud music and do deadlifts and squats and have this perfect morning.
Without getting into specifics it really started going downhill for me about twenty minutes later. And I did… some… okay, A LOT of really bad stuff. I revenge traded. I doubled down. Pick something on the litany of trading-sins and I probably took a stab at it. At one point I was down so much Sterling it actually made me lean back in my chair, put my hands on my head and suck air through my teeth.
Eventually I moved over to the FTSE index. Chugged some Red Bull and ate an entire bag of marshmallows. I also got lucky. It should have been a red day for me where I had (hopefully) mitigated some of my idiocy by grinding down the loss. But I ended up being slightly up for the day. Which means…
I am a trading GOD.
Ha! Truthfully I’m not feeling very good about this session at all. It was an absolute horror show where I was trying desperately to force a narrative from unsuitable circumstances. I was being a hubris-tic asshole. (Its making up adjectives day today)
I think the take away from this is (probably) that you should… ‘Play the ball as it lies’. Which, because I don’t really understand golf… or indeed golfers… or indeed why people obsess about hitting a little white ball into the ground… I think it means you shouldn’t try alter the circumstances in which you find yourself in.
I’m being flippant. I’m tired. And I’ve spent a fair amount of my afternoon mentally flagellating myself for my lack of zen. You see today was meant to be this grand litmus test for a potential career change… and I wanted it to go well. To prove to myself, as it were that I could… work from home and do what needed to be done.
I might need to back story this a bit. The South African economy is really fucked. I can’t even sugar coat or glass half full this. We are in serious trouble. Decades of graft and looting by the ANC government has really knee-capped the country to the point now, where… even if things go remarkably well from here on out, it will take another ten or even twenty years to repair the damage that’s been done.
You know in Lord of the rings, when Bilbo says he feels ‘like butter scrapped over too much bread’. That’s how I feel right now about my company and this entrepreneurial crusade I’ve been on for the last fifteen years. I’m tired. And the prospect of another decade of uphill struggle fills me with more dread than I can actually fully comprehend.
I need a backup plan. Or rather a back up career. Being an entrepreneur makes you massively unsuited to all manner of… ‘real’ work. Especially corporate work. I’m also old now. And difficult. And trading is actually the only other thing I like doing. In fact, I was going to be trader, that’s what I wanted to be growing up. Well… initially I wanted to be a zoo-keeper… ha. In any event, after university I went to a recruiter to try get a job and I she talked me out of this path during our meeting. I was young and didn’t know anything. She organized me the one and only job interview I’ve ever been to… which was a position as a sales rep for a company selling saw blades to logging companies. It was awful.
I am actually really fortunate that I even have options that I can pursue in my life. Many of my friends and peers, living paycheck to paycheck, do not have this luxury.
Change is scary though. Especially if you want to take up something like day-trading full time. It’s an incredibly merciless undertaking. Especially when facing the prospect of relying solely on your wits to fight the forces of chaos to feed oneself… made even more dire that I have a family to provide for. I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m doing anymore. Maybe I will just sit here and feel sorry for myself for a bit.