How Hollywood is Making Wall Street Look Like a Much Better Place to Work as a Woman
How 9/11 Helped Shape My Career
We have heard from women – and men - from Hollywood to New York City. We now know details of horrific stories from print and broadcast journalists, film and tv stars, waitresses, bartenders, and even strippers. Men responsible for the careers of many of these women have been quickly and not-so-quietly dismissed from major studios and networks before more truths can surface.
You know who we have not heard from? The women of Wall Street.
Why Should I consider Trading instead of Investment Banking?
Today is September 11th, 2017. 16 years ago, as a recent college graduate and new employee at Lehman Brothers, I took the subway to work on an utterly spectacular clear sunny Tuesday. I got to work a little bit early and decided I had enough time to stop into Century 21, a discount store right by the subway, to pick up an extra set of sheets for my bed.
The trading floor seems like an intimidating place, how do you work with such little privacy and so much noise?
One of the challenges facing Wall Street today is attracting talent to the industry given the appeal and pull of start-ups, tech co’s, etc. But there’s always been a hurdle within Investment Banks for markets professionals to recruit the same caliber individuals as those who are considering Investment Banking.
My only experience with markets at this point is equities, how do you suggest I learn more about fixed income markets?
One of my biggest fears about leaving my job was that I may someday have to work in a cubicle or office and not have anyone to talk to all day. The trading floor is not for everyone, but even if you have that awful pit in your stomach the first time you walk onto one, try to think past the first few days.
I would eventually like to start a family, is trading a job where there is a good work/life balance?
It is very typical for college students’ knowledge of the markets to consist of the current levels for the DJIA & the S&P 500. If you are in this camp, don’t worry – its normal. The equity market is most people’s first exposure to the markets – and it is the easiest one to follow. There’s plenty of publicly available information and for the most part, its pretty basic – there’s one stock and it goes up or down.
Why would I want to be a trader if there are so few women in the jobs?
Of all the jobs in an investment bank/financial services, I actually think trading is one of the best roles for work/life balance. Sure, traders are often in their seats by 6/6:30am, but babies and kids wake up early. And after the first few years as a junior trader, you are often done work by 5:30/6pm.
Did you always know you wanted to be a trader?
I try to look at this as a positive instead of a negative. Being a female gave you a unique advantage. We all know we have strengths and skills men either don’t have or where they are inferior. We are better listeners. We have better memories. We are detail-oriented. We are organized. We are analytical.
Do I need to be quantitative?
Absolutely not. I found my way there very indirectly and ultimately was successful and thrived in the environment. I often feel that is a better path – those who know in diapers what they want to be often times are not as well informed as they should be because they have ignored...
Women’s Groups – Embrace the Cliché
No. You need to be comfortable with numbers. The calculator I used to do my job looked something like this …. Nothing scientific at all. The systems you use provide you with the tools to run the numbers and models.
How Trading Changed Over the Course of My Career & Why That’s Made it More Female-Friendly
I wish we didn’t have to have them. I fought the notion. I cringed at the thought. Cheesey acronyms. Stale agendas. Been there, done that speaker topics. Panelists who sparked déjà vu. The fact that at this point, well into the second decade in the twenty first century …. Do we really need them?
But, they really, truly, work. They help. They make a difference.
The women’s network.
How To Fit In As A (Wo)man Amongst Boys
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” - Mahatma Gandhi
When I first joined the Lehman Brothers Corporate Bond Desk in the late spring of 2004, there were stark differences to when I walked off the trading floor at Barclays 12+ years later. The most obvious difference? The average age on the floor.
Golf as a Gender Study
I often got asked how it was being a woman on the trading floor. The answer was, I hardly thought about it.
Perhaps that was at that point well into my career, having established and proven myself. But I truly do believe the less you focus on the fact you are a woman and the people you are sitting beside are men, the more you will realize you are all just colleagues.
A Woman in the Room
I’ve said I don’t want to use my platform to regurgitate statistics and studies done about gender; I’ll leave that to the professional sociologists, psychologists, and researchers who are the experts and make that their passion. But throughout my career I have always tried to relate my work back to real life in the hopes of drawing a simple parallel without the technical noise.
Why Trading is a good fit for women
Much has been written, debated, and argued regarding gender diversity in the workplace in the last week since the Google “episode”, though the focus has largely been on the tech industry. I would suggest the issues being raised are not isolated to Silicon Valley, nor where I have thus far spent my career, Wall Street.
One of the biggest mistakes – or perhaps flaws – I have seen with men over the years is the first question they often ask interns, regardless of gender. “Do you like risk?”. The amount of times I’ve heard this on a trading desk…
In my opinion, a better question to ask is “do you like making decisions?” and to take it a step further, “do you like making educated decisions?”