Trading floor memories
Dealing rooms, trading rooms, trading floors, dealing floors - these were places I used to live and breathe in the daylight hours. Today I visited a trading floor in town. The trading desks are cleaner and tidier than the ones I used to know. Flat screens have replaced the bulky monitors. There are wireless keyboards and mice instead of tangled up keyboards of different sizes and shapes.
After we had installed extra and new computer screens, some traders in Singapore had complained of possible radiation. One of the traders, who developed hives, requested specifically for a test. We got specialists to measure the additional electromagnetic activity and found nothing significant.
Otherwise, the trading floor was a place bustling with activity, a place I used to thrive in. I loved being surrounded by technology and good-looking young people. Although I didn't trade or work on the desks, I loved to walk around the floor, feeling like I was part of the team.
The trading floors in London were even bigger than the Singapore one. The rationale of the management was to provide a place so well-equipped that good traders didn't want to work anywhere else. Indeed, traders cannot work without market information. And these came almost real-time to the various screens stacked on their desks.
Somewhere along the line, I developed an allergic reaction to trading floors. I didn't like being in a fishbowl all day long, swimming with sharks and other predators. I didn't want to hear the cacophony of phone rings and people's voices. Out in the open, it was like being in public and on stage all day long.
Although I was impressed with the trading floor I visited today, I was soon reminded of the privacy of my own home when I do my work. I don't need a million screens to do my work. Nor do I need the buzz of market information. All I need is a computer and a telephone.
15 January 2003 Wednesday
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