CBOE Memories: Follow Your Blocker

April marks the 40th anniversary of CBOE and the options industry.  As part of our month-long anniversary celebration, we’ve invited the CBOE community to share their memories of CBOE and four decades of options trading.  These are their stories…

I started at the Exchange in 1980 working in the office area, without the need to ever venture onto the trading floor itself.  After we moved to this building in 1984, I remember looking down at the trading floor from the new observation area and watching the traders in their colorful jackets, arms shooting up into to the air.  I found it quite intriguing how they yelled and screamed while their eyes never left the monitors above.  I was intrigued — that is, until I had my first real “on-floor” experience.

The trading floor was wild during the early 80s, busy most days but with occasional bursts of absolute madness.  Rather than hire a ton of additional employees for those occasions, the Exchange created a “contingency staff” program.  This program borrowed staff from the office areas to help out on the trading floor when needed.  The very first time I was called down to help out, I was told to report to the IBM pit to file fill reports.  I headed down to my post, but was completely overwhelmed by how different the crowds of screaming traders appeared from this perspective.  It probably took me a ½ hour to work my way thru the crowds from one side of the floor to the other, as I quietly whispered “excuse me.”    Eventually, someone took pity on me and asked me where I was heading.  He then barreled a path for me, gently pushing people aside as he went, with a bold “coming thru!”  I will be forever in debt to that kind stranger (a fellow employee) who taught me how to survive on CBOE’s trading floor.

Alicia, employee since 1980

Be sure to visit the CBOE 40 hub daily as new memories will be added each day.