In 1994, Mark Anderson, then 32, was hired as a trading assistant for Cantor Fitzgerald, though his background wasn't that of a typical trader. He'd played on the championship UCLA Volleyball Team for four years and majored in history, but never graduated. Since college, he'd been working as an interior decorator. Anderson was looking for a change when he got a call in his West Hollywood apartment from a childhood friend, now a Cantor trader. Anderson was urged to apply for a trading assistant job and after two interviews got the gig.
The payoff was potentially huge; million-dollar-a-year traders are not uncommon at Cantor. "If you're not making $500,000 a year, you're fired," says Anderson. "I thought that if I could just make it through the training, I was in." But Anderson didn't take into account the hazing that he'd have to endure.
On his second day of work, a lewd picture was posted on the office bulletin board. According to a lawsuit filed with the California Superior Court on March 4, 1996, the photo depicted "a man performing oral sex on another man in front of him while simultaneously being the subject of anal intercourse from another man behind him.
[Anderson]'s photograph was superimposed on the man in the middle." Underneath the picture was scrawled a note explaining that Anderson would provide "good service to our bisexual clients." His picture, he says, had been purloined from his new Cantor Fitzgerald ID card.
"I tried to rip it down and I was told that if I ripped it down, I was fired," says Anderson. "Those rules were understood there." About three weeks later, while chowing down on a BLT, Anderson sensed a foreign object in his sandwich. He peeled apart the slices of sourdough bread to discover "a pink rubber vagina with hairs on it," he says.
Anderson says that the crowd around him -- including the partners, traders, senior sales staff and Senior Vice President William Rice, head of sales trainees -- all broke out into laughter, and one muttered, "This might be the only time this guy eats pussy."
But Anderson stuck through it all. He says he suffered through a phony resume posted in the lunchroom citing his earlier work as "a fluff guy" for the porn producer of Diesel Dicks; the recommended tonsillectomy to make room for more "leading men"; his job as a "boy Friday" for a surfboard tycoon "polishing sticks."
"Actually, the worst of it was all the spitballs and snot balls they'd shoot at me all day," he says. "It got to a point where my shirt was soaking wet, but if I got up and complained, I'd be fired."
Anderson thought his only hope for deliverance was passing his Series 7 brokerage test in the fall of 1994, so he could become a full-fledged member of the trading tribe. "I thought, 'I'll get through this B.S. from these assholes, and then I'll be making the money,'" he says. "I'll suffer for a year and then move on." But as he was preparing for his test, Anderson says that on slow trading days, Rice and other partners would stand in front of him and bet thousands that Anderson would fail. Nonetheless, in December 1994, he passed.