Why Shitty Bartenders Make Shitty Traders


tradersLast night was a ridiculously aggravating night at work for me.

I’ve been working in the restaurant business since I was 16. I have been the guy in charge since about 2005. At this point, I have come to terms with idiot cooks who aren’t motivated to put forth their best effort. They don’t make much money, and it really isn’t fair to expect much from them.

What I cannot for the life of me understand, is how a bartender that gets paid by making customers happy can ignore those same customers. As a general rule, bartenders literally make less than minimum wage and are forced to make up the difference in tips. However, those tips can add up to a very respectable income in some instances, depending on how hard the bartender hustles. Not bad for a job that requires absolutely no qualifications whatsoever. (Literally, if you show up to an interview on time and appear to be sober, I will hire you.)

Despite the fact that bartender paychecks are based almost exclusively on tips, it is shocking how few bartenders actually work to improve their tips. Nearly every day I am forced to correct bartenders who would rather make small talk with each other or worry about how soon they will be able to leave than actually work on delivering better service to their customers.

This has boggled my mind for years.

Then it occurred to me last night that many traders are guilty of the exact same bonehead tendencies:

  • We waste time talking about the news of the day, even though it almost never has any influence on our trading.
  • We get caught up on perfecting the insignificant details of our strategy, when we should be focused on actually trading.
  • We get mad and throw temper tantrums when someone points out to us that we lack the proper focus.
  • We bitch and moan about our poor returns without bothering to realize that our effort is what produced those returns.

When you break it down, being a trader is actually a lot like being a bartender. We are the ones who are responsible for the amount of money we make. We produce our own results, whether we are willing to take responsibility for them or not.

At the end of the day, we have no one to blame but ourselves for our returns. The more attention we pay to improving our tips, the better those returns will be.