/ Trading

Is day trading a job, or a profession? (and why that matters)

To this day I still squirm when asked what I do for a job. Trader, which of course is exactly what I am doesn’t seem to cut it for some. Most peoples eyes glaze over and they start to wonder how they are going to small talk this one for the next 10 minutes. The occasional one throws their underwear, but these are rare cases.

The issue is trading is not a “job”. It’s not. It’s a profession, the same as farming is a profession, or plumbing, or programming. Each of these require multiple skills, requiring constant learning, and contained within it are jobs. You may think I am getting a little pedantic here but it is an essential thing to recognise when learning to trade.

Take a farmer for instance. I spent the downtime over New Years on a farm, run by a 60 something former actor turned farmer all by her lonesome. If all she knew what to do was how to feed chickens, could she call herself a farmer? No she would be a chicken feeder, which is a  job. A farmer is a profession that encompasses an amazing amount of jobs.

A farmer needs to know about animal feeding habits, horticulture, carpentry, basic veterinary skills, electronics and countless other things I know nothing about. If you see a farmer, give them a hug, and a massage, they must be buggered.

Trading is the same, to keep abreast of the markets you need to treat trading as a profession. Understand that trading is not about one system, one method, one market, one way. Trading is something that is always changing, requiring constant revision, with a client that is ever changing and moody as buggery as well. Worst still your only employee is yourself, who ironically is also your biggest competitor, go figure.

So why does all this matter?

Until your mindset moves from wanting to turn up to your trade desk, trade, leave your trade desk and repeat in ever decreasing circles, your results may struggle. This is the mindset of someone doing a job, or a task. Something that is repetitive and never changing. Something you can do today, and feel comfortable if you repeat the same thing tomorrow the same outcome will be seen.

Sure the implementation of a trading system can have these elements, but the system itself needs to change, adapt and survive. You yourself, the tool that is doing the trading, changes each day, the market changes each day. You get the idea.

Mind you none of this helps the conversation killer of:

Them: “What do you do for a job?”
Me: “I am a trader”
Them: “Oh … so ……..”

Happy trading.