CME’s Terry Duffy Warns Grads Re: Job Offers

Terry Duffy gets candid in the FBN Suite Spot. The CME Group’s executive chairman and president tells Liz Claman why jobseekers might want to pass on those $100,000 job offers.

CLAMAN: Terry, you started so many years ago as a trader, bottom of the ladder here -- and now you’re executive chairman.  What do you think is the one characteristic that you have that really got you to the top?

DUFFY: You know, Liz, I started as a runner on the exchange at 20 years old, 21 years old and became a trader. The one thing that happened to me, I had a very difficult beginning. And I didn’t have a silver spoon or a lot of money. I made my own way in life. So, when I lost a significant amount of money as a young person and I was able to work it off, it really taught me one thing, and that was discipline.  So, I treated the markets with discipline my entire career, and understood that the market’s bigger than any one individual. And the market’s never wrong; sometimes the timing is wrong. I’ve just kind of lived by that my entire life to have the discipline, and I’ve put that forth as executive chairman and president of the firm.  To be disciplined in what we do, whether it’s acquisitions or working with clients or anything else that’s part of it.  If you don’t have discipline, Liz, it’s really difficult to move forward.

CLAMAN: You know what, Warren Buffett says the exact same thing. Terry, there are a lot of college graduates looking for work right now, there are a lot of adults who are out of work. What is the one piece of advice you would give them right now?

DUFFY: You know, I think, especially for the college graduates, I think somebody in today’s world, they are so nearsighted. They want to have the big job, they want to have all the luxury items right out of the gate. And who doesn’t?  I understand that because that’s what the world tells you, you should have.  But what’s interesting to me is what I tell young people all of the time, if someone’s willing to offer you a job for $60,000 and another company is willing to offer you a job for $100,000, which would be the best one to take?  Well, most people would take the $100,000, even though their future may never go past $100,000.  It’s the person that can look at $60,000 or $50,000 a year job that understands that the future is millions of dollars brighter down the road as long as they apply themselves.  They’re horizon needs to be longer than just five minutes or five years.  It’s a long life.

CLAMAN: Well, opportunity is a currency in and of itself. That’s great advice.