"Should I sign a quant trading contract when I'm not sure about the job?"
I have a verbal offer from a quant trading firm and am under pressure to sign a contract. I'm quite interested in working there, but also I have some significant doubts.
I'm tempted to simply sign the contract to secure the offer, and to pull out later if necessary. But after reading an article on this site about rogue candidates, I'm also hesitant about the potential future impact on my career if I do this.
The firm that's made me the offer is one of the well known high speed trading firms. It's growing fast and pays well. It has a good growth story and the role is interesting.
Those are the upsides. The downside is the non-compete: it's 18 months. If I join, and it doesn't work out, my career could be seriously derailed. An 18 month non-compete means you're effectively shut out of the market for that period of time and that could hurt my career a lot.
What should I do? If I sign and pull out, I'm fearful about the future impact on my career. The people who run this firm are very well-connected in the market. If I sign the contract and don't come, I suspect I will become known for that and will be blacklisted.
At the moment, I think I probably won't sign and will therefore risk losing this offer. When I move to the buy-side, I want to choose very carefully, and I'm hesitant about moving now while the economy is uncertain. However, this is also an offer from an established firm that's growing fast, so I may end up regretting my risk aversion.
Please offer advice in the comments box below.
Luo Jian is the pseudonym of a quant trader in New York
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