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"I worked 80 hour weeks to deliver a platform for a hedge fund. Then they fired me"

I built a systematic trading platform for a hedge fund. I delivered an excellent platform ahead of time, but then they fired me, and now I can’t find a new job in what's a very difficult employment market.

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I shouldn’t even be looking for a job right now. I’m only on the market because I became surplus to requirements. Effectively, I was “fired” for being too effective in my previous role.

I joined the startup hedge fund last year. In the short period while I worked there, I built an order management system which allowed the firm to make its first eve trades. A typical week for me included working between 70 and 80 hours a week. I worked almost every weekend, and almost every day for the entire time, without a single day of holiday.

 

I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I was told repeatedly that the faster the firm was able to start trading, the faster I would start earning bonuses from the firm's PnL, assuming that the strategies indeed were profitable. (It is my understanding that they are highly profitable.)

Secondly, I loved my job. Every day, I got to build really cool stuff, all while learning a new language which was unfamiliar to me – Rust. Every day, I was learning more about Rust, Kafka, and the range of other technologies which we were leveraging. It was pretty great.

After months of hard work, the system finally went into production, and trades started flowing around the system. Two days later I was let go. I arrived in the office the morning after 48 hours of profit making, and was called into a private office. I was told it was “with regret” that my contract would be terminated that day, and that the “substantial bonus” which would be paid to me was “thanks” for the critical role I played in starting the company.

While I in no way regret working for the fund, as I gained a fast amount of experience in a relatively short period of time, I do regret not being more tactical with my work. I could have simply worked 40 hours a week. Had I done so, it is likely I would still be employed, still building the platform today.

Since the day I left, I have been relentlessly job searching. But so far I have found nothing. I was told in an interview for a junior quant position that it was “a bit of a red flag” that I worked somewhere for such a short period of time. 

So is that it? I know the job market is tough right now, but have I snookered myself and made myself unemployable for working too effectively during my last role? 

I think I have applied to every hedge fund and investment bank in London. My applications either received an automatic rejection, or simply no response in the majority of cases. In the handful of cases where I have been offered an interview, most have been initial conversations, followed by radio silence – not even a rejection email.

It seems that during such a dire economy, the dream of a junior quant role is out of reach, for now. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

Milan Gill is a pseudonym 

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AUTHORMilan Gill Global Editor
  • Mu
    MurexExpert
    16 February 2024

    This may sound harsh, but I have zero sympathy here. This is yet another typical story of the naive/gullible "tech guy" who gets into a wolf's den, and instead of watching his back, focuses on "building really cool stuff" and technology ("every day, I was learning more about Rust, Kafka, and the range of other technologies which we were leveraging. It was pretty great"), doesn't count his hours ("worked almost every weekend,"), and ultimately is incapable of "reading the room" and understanding company/business dynamics and motivators (resulting in him having no idea what hit him when he got unceremoniously discarded).. All of the above sent the message loud and clear to management that you are a sucker to be disrespected. And software people wonder why they are treated like doormats and throwaway slaves? I'm sorry, tech guy, but you are part of the problem. Your unconditional dedication (and that of thousands others) only trains and encourages those who need us to exploit, use and abuse us, over, and over again. Hedge Funds are a cut throat environment, and not a place for the naive.

  • st
    story of my life
    15 February 2024

    I am sorry to hear that you got played that way. I think it takes a new level of ruthlessness to lead people on like that, when the other person is trusting them. I have one question though - where you hired to do that one project? or was there anything else that your were supposed to do after that? If you built a money making platform and it operates without you going forward, what would motive the employer to keep you one the payroll to get those bonuses he talked about?


  • Im
    Im good for Argo
    7 February 2024

    mafia cartel n hedge funds same quality man

  • Bu
    Burn
    7 February 2024

    I was offered that job in Dubai by an associate of the person who got the job it was on the website LinkedIn but I've had too much going on here with my financial portfolio being hijacked okay my generation was the ones that answered the questions we were the ones that took the surveys all right it was our answers that they built the world wide Web that everyone enjoys today I remember taking those surveys I was enthusiastic but after 30 years coming full circle I should have paid more attention I guess because while I wasn't looking Google was Google is always in the room always listening I've got an intellectual property rights to go all the way back to 1996 so I opted in for all the snippets of conversation but I was a kid man I was 1617 years old I was too preoccupied with girls and just not headed down the right path but the Lord found me saved me open my eyes to a few things it's been going on behind the scenes where I haven't been looking I can remember the conversation like it was yesterday sitting in the room with my former fiancee we were looking for something of hers we found it but not the package that it came in and I remember saying wouldn't it be nice to be able to take a picture of something and then boom all the information on it was right there and then 3 months later search in picture was born Google pays me $600,000 a year and royalties the large number I know I myself have never seen one dime of that money I've tried contacting Google and I can't get through everyone out here keeps my system so hacked I can barely communicate with anyone let alone contact who I need to contact but it all boils down to one thing and it's my stock portfolio which according to NASDAQ by the beginning of this year the first quarter of 2024 my stock portfolio is worth a little over 4 billion can't contact a broker they have me blocked can't contact the lawyer they redirect my calls as far as going into Dubai and working for minimum wage you can forget it I leave cruising in on big industrial projects and I won't get out of bed for less than $200 a day and that's not including for per diembesides management it's too much of a headache I'm more of a designer and Hands-On application on site leadership that's what you need you got to get it out of the classroom o t JT on the job training there's nothing better than when you can look somebody in their face and explain something to them hands on you can weed out weak-minded people and they go getters natural Born leaders people that are pessimistic people that have a weak work Constitution you got to weed them out find them something that they're better suited for myself I have to be stimulated if it does not stimulate my mind I will get bored and lose interest it's got to be challenging but I'm getting all my financial situation worked out got a weed them out you know the ones that think that they're smart and that I don't know what's going on because their daddy is a business owner

  • Th
    TheDude
    6 February 2024

    That is an unfortunate situation.


    I have +7 years experience in a quant company, as a Linux and automation engineer, then a manager.


    Culture counts. When you work for a quant company, the numbers matters most. Trust is secondary. Contracts and legal advice (ongoing) is key. And generally speaking, in a commercial setting, do not trust anyone in a company based on their "word".


    I have seen colleagues work overtime to "earn" their bonus, only to be fired when their knowledge was distributed or formalized. Remember quality of life: Is it really going to help you by working overtime?


    Also open to continue building my network with established engineers and developers.




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