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Summer of 1982- Another Chance

October 27, 2016

The eighth exclusive for Dynamic Commodities in my series- becoming a commodities trader

It threw me for a loop when I got 100% on the traffic test and failed in March 1982. I went back to the telex department with my tail between my legs. When the manager of the department inquired how I did on the test, I told him, “I got all the right answers and failed.” His response was just a laugh and big smile. Keith Rhoden knew that everything the company did when it came to the lehrlings was a test, a test of patience, perseverance, and loyalty to the family that was both business and culture within itself. I wish I knew that at that time but I did not.

For the months that followed, I did my job with a little less skip in my step, a little less motivation and a nagging feeling that I had made the wrong career choice. I started to think about law school once again. I finally decided that I would not let this firm beat me; I began taking courses at night in the MBA program at Pace University in New York City.

During the hot summer months in 1982, I got a call out of the blue at the cable department. It was Max Stern on the phone who informed me that he was ready to give me another chance at the traffic test. It was a redemption of sorts; I had continued at the firm probably because I was stuck in neutral and did not know which way to turn at the tender age of 22. I went up to Stern’s office expecting to be presented with a more rigorous examination this time, and in my heart, I supposed I would fail once again. My heart leaped when Stern handed me the mimeographed sheet with the same exact questions. I quickly went through the five problems, this time there were no erasures, and I did not omit one detail of the work required to find the solutions. I returned the papers to Stern who reviewed them in front of me and informed me that I had passed. He then sent me back to my department without a word about the next step.

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Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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