Work Life Balance

I was working hard and doing well the first 5 years at my last job. I had three beautiful daughters, and in my free time enjoyed working with my hands. I enjoyed building things. I enjoyed creating. I fixed things around the house and when I went to cocktail parties all the other men there would pull me aside and tell me that I’m making them look bad. But something was missing. I needed something for me. Something more social.

My friend and former work associate invited me to his Tuesday night poker game. It was Texas Holdum and I had never played before, so something new to learn.  I was never that good at the game, but it was relaxing to be around others. I learned the rules of poker, how to deal, how to bet and betting strategies, One of the rules was that when you made a bet it was mandatory that you verbally stated what you were doing in case you accidentally threw in too many or too few chips.

I learned why in professional tournaments some players wear hats with large bills and some wear mirrored glasses, and why you should never ever touch your chips unless you are betting, and some keep their hands below the edge of the table. You don’t want to tip off the other players when you are bluffing. If you do it unconsciously it’s called a ‘tell’. And I thought I learned all about bluffing, all about how not to have a tell.  This was useful stuff, I was an engineer by education, but working in sales. Poker was a great experience for me.

I went for about a year but then something came up at home, an opportunity to create something out of nothing, I built a loft in my attic since 3 girls in one bedroom was getting kind of cramped. It took all my spare time for an entire summer. So I put poker night on hiatus, and ultimately never went back because although it was social it wasn’t giving me everything that I needed at that point in my life.

A few years later

I was working with a new person in the sales department and it was absolutely wonderful. It was like she could read my mind and yet we worked together only over the phone or by email. I tried to figure out how she was doing that but she never told me. Finally we were at the annual sales conference and after dinner and some wine I confronted her again about her super-power.

“It’s easy”, she said, “whenever it’s important I can hear it in your voice.”

I was dumbstruck. I was in disbelief. All that time playing poker and I had a TELL in my voice!


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