Imo, proprietary trading is the best job in an investment bank. When you are a market-making trader, you are at the beck and call of your customers. But as a proprietary trader, as long as you make money, you pretty much can set your own hours, get a whole bunch of perks (like salespeople taking you out, etc), and get paid a reasonable amount of money. Proprietary trading is usually a zero sum game, where for you to make money, someone has to lose the money to you (either absolutely or vs a benchmark like the S&P). But because of transactions costs, there are more losers than winners. Proprietary traders provide no tangible benefit to the economy - they just fight for a larger share of financial pie. Rates of return is how you keep score. There are tons of different way people can try and get an edge over their competitors and make money - people trade by feel, analysis, tons of small bets, a few large bets, etc. Generally, the successful traders have an excellent grasp or risk/reward and money management. They can process large amounts of information in a short amount of time and consistently make good decisions in a high-pressure environment.
Gee... proprietary trading sounds an awful lot like another profession we know. Traders are near the top of the job food chain. I live in a fairly wealthy area, dominated by financial giants, and people have been known to say things like "he's only a doctor." Pretty messed up. On the job totem pole, poker players are probably one step above burger flippers at McDonald's (and depending on where you live, poker may be way below that) in terms of respectability. I find that odd because functionally, the two jobs are very similar.
I used to work with a big hitter who had the belief that a good poker player would make an excellent trader because all the prerequisites to being a good poker player are needed to be a good trader. I shared that view and would always look for people who showed an aptitude for assessing competitive dynamics and making quick solid decisions. I don't think there are two jobs that share so many skill sets that are as far apart on the job respectability scale. Well, maybe models and strippers. Or entertainers and porn stars. On that note...
WHAT'S FOR DINNER
Smothered Pork... Chops. I'm not a big pork person. Sausage > Bacon >>> Ham > Pork. But this was easily the best pork dish I've ever had (other than Morimoto's 10 hour braised pork belly). The sauce was really good - like a creamy pork gravy. Mrs. Fly is known for her flavored rice. People always cook rice in water, but it tastes so much better if you add a little stock and seasoning to it.