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Son Of The Traffic Chief

Son of the Traffic Chief

November 9, 2016

Chapter 17 in the exclusive series for Dynamic Commodities- becoming a commodities trader

Max Stern was the second in command of the overall traffic department at Philipp Brothers, but the boss was Norbert Strauss. Traffic was a detailed and mercurial business and the head man embodied the business. He was not only a stickler for details but a tyrant when it came to mistakes that could potentially cost the company money. The traders depended on Strauss and his cadre of traffic managers like Al Ciapinna and clerks like me to make sure that the profits they envisioned at the time of a trade would up in the company’s coffers. An experienced traffic person could enhance those profits at times. The traders would make sure to reward the most talented traffic clerks with a generous bonus at the end of the year.

After learning the business of antimony ores and concentrates and flying solo with only occasional help from Al, another person arrived on the scene. Fresh out of business school, Ben Strauss the son of Norbert the king of traffic took the seat next to me as a trader, not a traffic trainee working under Ken Krystle. Strauss and I were the same age, so it was a little annoying that he was allowed to skip the traffic department and head directly into a trading role with the company, but I understood. Ben’s dad was very senior in the company, and he had an MBA degree.

Ben was a nice guy, but he had a little bit of an attitude when he arrived in the department. After all, a trading position is the dream of almost every traffic clerk because while the logistical experts made a nice wage, the traders made boatloads of money. In traffic the hours were long; a twelve hour day was the norm rather than the exception. Traders usually arrived at 8 AM and left at 5 PM, banker’s hours. From his first day in the department, Ben worked trader’s hours. My fellow clerks, Suzanne and Chaim, did not like Ben from the day he arrived on the desk. They resented his advantage, and his attitude was not winning him any friends. I was so busy running the antimony ores and concentrates traffic I paid little notice to young Mr. Strauss. However, there was one thing about him that drove me crazy. At lunchtime, he would eat and make the most annoying chewing sounds that would travel right up my spine. It got so bad that I would have to leave the desk for a while, no matter how much work I had in front of me.

Ben eventually moved into the office next to Eric, and Ken and the chewing and noises were gone. A few years later, Ben would come back into my life.

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Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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