"

It is 2:30 in the afternoon on a Tuesday and I'm sitting at the beach looking at the water. As soon as I get off the phone I'm going for a run. Most of my day is playtime. I don't know what other kind of business you can be in and have that kind of hours.


I get up probably about 3:30 every morning. I take a shower and grab some coffee. It takes me about 15 minutes to get ready, maybe 20. I mean, come on: I'm a man. It's not a fashion show.


I get into work about 5 a.m. The first thing I do when I get to the office is open my e-mails and start looking through the stocks that we cover to see if there is any big news.


The stock market opens at 6:30 and our company has a meeting at 5:30 to discuss what we're selling for the day.


Most of the day I am looking at stock charts and I am talking on the phone.


My customers are hedge funds. I flag a stock to them. I'll show them something that's about to break out. Sometimes they'll look at it and say, "I like it go ahead and buy 10,000 shares." Then I do the trade.


My job is to make them money quick. They want to be able to see something right now. They'd like to see some kind of action in the stock that day. They might buy and sell in the same day.


I do a lot of work on Instant Messenger. If I get an order online I can have an actual printout of my conversation. It eliminates the problem of people coming back and saying, "I didn't say buy."


I don't take a lunch break. Sometimes I don't get to take a bathroom break, either. If I do, they are very quick. I'll usually split some food with someone at my desk at around 9 a.m. when the floor traders in New York are slowing down. I leave work at 1:30.


My industry is very stressful and when I come home I shut it down and try to stay healthy and be with my family.


Until 5 p.m., I'm taking my kids to practices. I have three: my daughter is 26, and my two boys live with me. When I'm with them, I have a whole other hat on.


The boys take boxing. It's the new sport. My 15-year-old son also surfs. The girls sit there on the beach watching their boyfriends. I'm usually the dad sitting there with them.


Usually we eat at 6 p.m. which is like eating at 9 at night. I spend the evening with my family and I'm shutting down and in bed by 8:30.


I read for about a half an hour, anything from political books to suspense thrillers.


Still, the hours are conducive to what I'm doing right now. I have been working in the stock market for 24 years. I love the schedule.


I come home at 1:30 and my 18-year-old son is saying "Good morning dad," because he just rolled out of bed.


There are few traders on the West Coast. They hate their hours and a lot have ended up going back to the East Coast. They argue that they like the change of seasons. I do too: spring to summer and summer to spring.


I've seen the market close twice because of weather. Everyone here went golfing. There is nothing for me like the West Coast. "
*As told to Sarah Filus.


Mike Cullen
Trader
MDB Capital Group

Commute: 40-45 minutes (with no traffic) from home in Seal Beach to office in Santa Monica
Short runs: Daily runs 3-5 miles, weekend runs 7-10 miles
Long runs: Thirty-nine marathons including seven times in Los Angeles, eight times in Long Beach and races on Catalina Island and in Paris and Stockholm
How he met his wife: On a run

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