This video contains raw footage for the television show "Chicago Slices." On this tape, videomaker Skip Blumberg interviews stock trader Jim Hensel on his ride home via Metra train after a day on the floor of the Chicago Board and Trade.
00:00Copy video clip URL Jim Hensel and videomaker Skip Blumberg are on their way to Hensel’s home in Northbrook, IL via Metra train. Hensel speaks with Blumberg about his past work as an A/V technician in television. Hensel later asks Blumberg if he had ever been to Nike Town on Michigan Ave. The two briefly talk about the store before officially beginning the interview.
03:07Copy video clip URL Hensel talks about his work as a commodity trader. He goes into detail about the different trading techniques he uses in the field. Hensel explains the intricate aspects of trading and economics for several minutes.
11:20Copy video clip URL Hensel talks about what he does after work each day. His hours are generally from 7:00Copy video clip URL A.M. to2:00 P.M. Monday through Friday, which means he gets home in the afternoon. Hensel states that the train ride from work to his home is a very important part of his day because it gives him some peace and quiet. “This is the very important part of my day, this train ride, because it’s very quiet… I scream and yell at work all day and then when I get home I have a one year old and a four year old. So they scream and yell all day too. So that’s why this forty minutes here in the afternoon is–it’s a blessed event.” He then talks about the joys and trying aspects of caring for his children.
14:50Copy video clip URL Hensel begins to talk about the stock exchange and the chaotic aspects of the trading floor or “pit.” Hensel states that panic plays an important role on the trading floor by bringing people out to trade. Hensel talks about the effect of the news on the trading floor. Hensel then states that he tries not to panic in order to take advantage of another person’s panic. He continues to talk about this subject for several minutes. He goes on to talk about some of the many jokes, both appropriate and distasteful, that traders come up with.
24:26Copy video clip URL Hensel talks about the clerks on the floor and how one can become employed. Hensel states that many clerks are the children of stock brokers and other prominent traders. He goes on to talk about a clerk’s main objective: to know where the market is at any moment. Hensel continues to talk about trading floor dynamic for several minutes.
29:44Copy video clip URL Blumberg asks Hensel about the age demographic on the trading floor. Hensel states that he’ll be doing this type of work for the rest of his life. He goes on to compare being on the trading floor to playing a round of cards at a casino. “At the casinos, you win or you lose, but in the pits there’s three outcomes: you win, you lose, or you scratch and so it’s much better to be on the floor and in the pit trading because you can scratch a lot more trades. The saying is, ‘A scratch is as good as a winner,’ because it’s not a loser.”
32:40Copy video clip URL Blumberg asks Hensel about the risks of exchanging his career in television to a career in trading. Hensel states that it was an extremely difficult transition. “I had no idea what was going on. I stood there for weeks trying to figure out what was going on and never figured out what was going on. It was terrible.” Hensel goes on to say, “Sure enough, your stupidity and inexperience catches up to you and you’re quickly losing money and you just don’t know why.” Hensel goes on to talk about his reasons for becoming a trader. Hensel states that his stepfather in-law pushed him in the direction of trading at a very important part of his life. He and his wife had just bought a house in Northbrook, she was five months pregnant, and he decided to become a trader, which meant no base salary. Hensel says that it was “totally insane.” Hensel goes on to talk about his progression over the past four years. He also says that the best piece of his advice he’s ever gotten from his stepfather in-law was to “never listen to anybody.” “He always told me ‘Don’t listen to anybody. Don’t listen to anybody,’ and I listened to him a few times and it cost me dearly.”
37:23Copy video clip URL When asked where he gets the satisfaction from his work, Hensel states that he’s unsure. He goes on to say that he gets satisfaction in providing for his family. Hensel goes on to talk about his fluctuating funds due to the job. They eventually arrive at the train stop and make their way over to Hensel’s car.
41:33Copy video clip URL Blumberg asks Hensel about his thoughts on suburban life. He says that the suburbs are “okay.” The two make their way over to Hensel’s home. Blumberg gathers footage of suburban streets during the drive. Hensel goes on to talk about his work in the White House as a cameraman during the Reagan years.
46:38Copy video clip URL Hensel and Blumberg arrive at his home. Blumberg makes his way into the living room where Hensel’s wife and children are spending time together. Hensel talks with his children for a few minutes. Blumberg also speaks with Hensel’s oldest son. Blumberg continues to gather footage from inside of the family’s home.
54:40Copy video clip URL Hensel gives Blumberg a tour of the basement. Blumberg, Hensel, and his wife continue to make conversation. Hensel eventually shows Blumberg a picture Ronald Reagan had given him during his presidency. Hensel goes on to talk about the stressful aspects of his work. Blumberg leaves shortly after this. Once outside of the house, Blumberg gets a shot of the afternoon sun shining through a tree.
01:02:44Copy video clip URL Tape ends.