Jared Dillian wanted to break up with Corporate America while still having an open relationship with Wall Street. He had flirted with the idea of producing a stock market newsletter for years, but the timing never seemed right. Until one day — timing chose him.
On the morning of Sept. 15, 2008, he boarded his usual bus in New Jersey to take him to midtown Manhattan. He got off at Port Authority and walked the few blocks to his office. And when he arrived at 7 a.m. the building was surrounded by television cameras and reporters. He pushed past the media mob and snuck through the revolving doors. He rode the elevator up to his floor and then walked to his desk. "We just sat there," he said. "Nobody knew what to do."
Lehman Brothers, his employer for the last eight years, had just filed for bankruptcy.
Everyone around him thought this was a worst-case scenario, but Dillian, then the head of ETF trading, saw an opportunity for himself. Over the years he had created a cult following with his trading commentary. Every day he'd write a timely interpretation of what was happening in the markets and then send it to his clients. "The highlight of my trading days was to write about the markets. I'd just pound the keyboard whenever it hit me. I loved trading, but it was taking a massive toll on me," Dillian said. "It was time to start something new."
Divorcing from Corporate America can be hard. There's a sense of stability with a salary, benefits and 401(k). It feels like a safe place. Also, depending on where you work, there's a comradery that comes with working around like-minded people. As people get older, the capacity to take professional risks sometimes decreases. Very often you hear people say: I should have left five years ago, but it's too late now.