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Letters: How the Chicago Board Options Exchange molded me into a professional

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The recent editorial “Keep the ‘Chicago’ in Chicago’s financial exchanges” (Aug. 27) hit home for me. I was among the first Lawndale residents hired into the Chicago Board Options Exchange back in 1978, with the help of the Better Boys Foundation. Thank goodness for the start of affirmative action — it gave me my first opportunity in the business world.

I worked there for 10 years. I met my wife there, and we have three wonderful grandchildren.

I began as a price reporter, putting orders in the computer before they put it up on the board. Then I became a quote reporter, listening and putting up the quotes. To succeed as a quote reporter, you need focus and discipline, because the open outcry system was controlled chaos. I was the best at what I did; they would send people to me to be trained.

After 10 years, I made the mistake of leaving. A job had come open to provide training to quote reporters, and when they gave that job to someone I had trained, I quit. It was a bad move, and it cost me. I thought I could get a job at the Mercantile Exchange, but I couldn’t.

In those years, CBOE was a tremendous institution.

— Bernard Johnson,........

© Chicago Tribune

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