I read an article in the Irish Times the other day and it kinda struck a chord with me.
It basically discusses how working life can be often lonely for entrepreneurs – and I reckon the same can be said for traders.
I spend quite a lot of time on my own with trading/writing, and I’m very happy in my own skin - but sometimes it’s difficult as you don’t have that banter and interaction with others that you would find in a traditional job. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a confident and generally happy person so I wouldn’t be going around lonely and sad or anything but I do find that the problem with trading is that not many people really understand it. So most of my business, and a large chunk of what goes on in my head is kept to myself.
Entrepreneurs (and traders) have a certain tunnel-vision which keeps them going towards their goal and quite often, you end up totally consumed by it all. Often, others don’t understand this drive (or obsession!) and therefore, you don’t often get a chance to talk and chat about your work to others.
Even my wife doesn’t really understand trading and betting so after a long day, I generally don’t bother discussing it much. This can be hard sometimes, especially after a bad day. You can have so much going on in your head when it comes to trading but very few outlets for discussion.
To make a comparison – about 12 years ago, I worked in a supermarket. Packing shelves wasn’t exactly the greatest job in the world but there was great camaraderie and we all used to have a few pints in the local after work. We’d moan, talk and joke about work and looking back, it was great craic even though the wages were poor and we were skint most of the time. Perhaps I’m looking back with rose-tinted glasses but I kinda miss that type of thing sometimes.
The (Irish) Dragon’s Den star Bobby Kerr was spot on when he said that in business;
“Loneliness is absolutely part and parcel of the entrepreneurial experience….And it’s one of those things: If you don’t know it’s coming, it will hit you hard.”
I don’t really mean that I’m lonely in the traditional sense of the word – I have a family, great friends, a great social life etc. But when you are focused on something that the general population don’t really understand or care about, it can become somewhat isolating.
I guess the same thing happens to women (or men) who stay at home with kids all day. I know some people who love it and wouldn’t change a thing – but I also know others who get quite down and miss the interaction of the workplace or whatever. As much as people love their kids, sometimes it’s very hard to be alone with just them all day long without much other adult contact, or outlet for intelligent conversation.
There are times when I’ve been in the house alone all day trading and I just have to get out for a pint afterwards just to meet other people and wind down – but as I say, it can be tricky too as you can’t really offload your worries and ups and downs of the day to Joe Soap in the local - as they generally wont understand what I do.
Plus, I don’t like discussing money, figures and turnover in case I come across as boasting. I could turn over thousands in a day (and only make a small profit, or even lose money) but if you tell someone that who doesn’t understand trading, they might think you are a cocky so-and-so who goes and gambles thousands on the nags. It’s not like that at all but it’s hard to explain that to someone who has had 14 pints of stout. So generally speaking, I don’t discuss it much with anyone, bar one or two friends who have a general idea what I do.
Interaction on forums and blogs etc help to an extent but that’s not the ‘real’ world as such, so it’s not really the same.
At the end of the day, you have to learn to like your own company and be comfortable in your own skin. I don’t mind spending time on my own but it certainly doesn’t suit everyone and I can see why people can struggle at times.