Six years ago, after I returned from a deployment to the Middle East with the Navy, my family took a cruise to the Caribbean. During one day at sea, I was playing a Texas Hold’em-style game in the ship’s casino. Sitting next to me was a guy named Howard, and as we began to talk, he started looking at my casino chips, which I just happened to be shuffling with one hand.
“You seem to know what you’re doing with those chips,” he said. It was true. I had a minor fascination with casinos since I first entered one on a cruise ship when I was 14. For much of high school, I dreamed of being a casino dealer on a cruise ship, travelling the world, and making some money while doing it. And it was a cruise ship dealer who taught me how to shuffle casino chips.
“Yeah, I think I have an idea,” I responded with a smile.
“Well I run an entertainment company back in the DC area that does casino nights for holiday parties and the like,” Howard said. “Want to deal some games and work for me?”
A casino dealer? Hell yeah! I wouldn’t be working as a licensed dealer for a casino, but this was the next best thing. I smiled, shook his hand, and thanked him for the opportunity. I met Howard a few weeks later at his house and showed him that I could deal all of the games he offered: Blackjack, Three Card Poker, Roulette, and Craps, both his and my favorite.
And so it began. I started working for Howard Entertainment/Ultimate Amusements shortly after that. And that’s what it has been for the last six years. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve loved explaining Craps to people who were too afraid to play in a real casino, and I’ve loved dealing the game. I worked dozens of parties for myriad companies and even had an opportunity to work with a real licensed dealer, who told me my skills were actually pretty good, despite not having been formally trained.
But this holiday season, it was different, and I realized that it was time to be done. I’ve honed in on four specific reasons that this season would likely be my last holiday season dealing casino games.
- I was becoming short with clients. I’ve never been disrespectful to a customer, but I wasn’t as gregarious as I used to be. If a customer bet on something that just didn’t make sense, I used to take the time to explain things, but this year, I didn’t. “Can I do that?” they would ask. “Sure, why not,” I would respond, even though the bet didn’t make sense or wasn’t in line with the normal betting rules of Craps. I knew this wasn’t how I treated clients previously, and it wasn’t right to keep doing it if this was how I felt, nor did I want to give the company a bad name. If you’re becoming short with clients, coworkers, bosses, or really anyone, it might be time to take a step back…or completely away.
- I’d rather be somewhere else. I used to love going to the casino events, but this year, they were the last place I wanted to be. They were a hassle to get to and always fell during hours I’d rather be doing other things, like spending time with my family, friends, or even just relaxing. It’s important to have your head in the game (pun intended), and if it’s not, people will notice. Your body language will show it, and your vocabulary will show it, too. If you’re consumed by not being at your job, it might be time to be that “somewhere else.”
- The little things started to get to me. Normally, I would let slip the little things that could annoy me, things like minor schedule issues, a wrong show time, or even a wrong location on a confirmation email. This year, these errors really started to grind my gears, causing me more stress than I cared for. In leadership studies, there is a theory that when people are happy in their jobs they focus on the impact they can have, the atmosphere of their position, and their opportunities for growth. When people are unhappy in jobs, they complain about the more minute facets of the job: the micromanagement, the physical workspace, the hours they work, etc. When you find yourself focusing on the latter group of these and no longer see the larger impact you can have, it might be time to move on.
- It wasn’t worth the money. Considering my family grew by one this summer and my time away from my family would “cost me” more, I asked Howard for an increase in pay, which he graciously offered me. But as the season went on, even the raise didn’t seem like enough to be worth the time away from my family or my other projects…or even just resting. Many people might not have this option because their jobs are their means of survival, but dealing casino games was always a part-time job for me, providing extra income around the holidays. I think the lesson still applies, however. If you have something that is taking more from you than you are gaining, see what else is out there. Maybe you can find something that you’ll enjoy doing and it won’t seem like a chore.
I’ll always be grateful for all the opportunities. I met a lot of great people and got to do some pretty cool things while dealing events, including being on the Real Housewives of Potomac a few years ago.
What do you think? Do these resonate with you? What other indicators of “being done” do you have? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.