Posted by Barry Carter at 02:42 Sunday, 24 August 2008
I turned 29 yesterday and feeling all philosophical n that. My birthday itself was nice enough, I ate and drank too much of course. I saw my beloved Sheffield Wednesday look awesome in the first half, 1-0 up against Preston and woeful in the 2nd half when it finished 1-1.
I'm now officially 12 months away from the big 3 0 and I'm pleased to say it isn't the daunting milestone I once imagined it to be. When I was about 22-26 the prospect of turning 30 was genuinely scary to me, but that was probably something to do with how I lived back then. I was a bit of a Lad in my early twenties and I'd be out every weekend and the week would just be inconvenience between weekends. I'm settled now, have a great girlfriend and enjoy the finer and relaxing things in life. I had a great time of course when I was a dirty stop out, but I wouldn't change things for the world now.
The other big difference was of course that back then, I had a dead end job in a large Insurance company (who claimed to quote people happy). I was straight out of Uni and uttered the words that most of my colleagues once said "this is only temporary". Low and behold it would be 6 years later that I actually left, which I guess is temporary in the wider context of my life. Back then I got promoted a few times and got plenty of extra responsibilities that deluded me into thinking it was going somewhere, when my annual income was actually increasing at a rate of six kit-kats a year.
Not to slag the place off though, one of my pet peeves was all the people that would walk around moaning about working there, like they were forced into doing the job rather than their of their own free will. Mood Hoovers a boss of mine called them and I always did my best to be the opposite, I always had a good attitude at work, which is why I progressed and earned more kitkats than some of my workmates, but inside I hated it. The only thing that kept me there was the brilliant and instant social life you get with working in a big company.
But I think I have to be grateful to my old job for a number of reasons. The biggest and most important one being my mate Jonesy, who is still one of my best mates and we meet up every week, teaching me to play poker when we worked together. Every lunch we would discuss hands and bad beats and he created a monster. He is still a good player but soon I became obsessed and surpassed him, I started winning money that was beating what I could make in overtime, so I stopped doing overtime and played poker instead. If and when I win a serious amount of money in a tournament, I want to buy Jonesy a big old gift as a token of my appreciation.
The other big change that saved me was getting what can only be described as a PISS EASY JOB. I was drafted into a new department as a technical consultant, where it was my job to inform this new department how the rest of the business works. I'm sure they thought this would be a daunting task but it quickly became transparent to me that it was easy and the best part was, they had no idea how easy and no benchmark to compare me to, so I made it look like it was the hardest job in the world and I was doing a great job.
Most of my work could be done in a couple of hours, but because nobody within a mile of my desk could understand how to use the systems I did (or excel, the thickos) I would drag it out over several days. This allowed me to spend, pretty much 60% of my working week, reading and writing poker articles at my desk. It was round about this time that I started getting paid writing work which meant that I was earning more money at my desk not doing my job (and getting paid for both) than I ever could have trying to get promoted, and all the time my bosses thought the sun shined out of my arse.
If you've ever wondered, as many people do, how I am able to write so much seemingly every month (as I appear in many magazines and websites) I would attribute it to this period of my life. I have always been a super fast worker anyway (when I'm trying) and because I love writing I can do it quickly and well, but this period where I would write poker articles when I'm supposed to be working sharpened my speed writing skills as well as my 'flick-up-a=spreadsheet-when-the-boss-is-walking-past' skills.
So both these things led to me going part time and eventually quitting the 9-5 altogether, which was about 16 months ago and I haven't looked back since. I kinda feel guilty about admitting I did nothing for my last year of work because my employers were gutted I left but in all honesty, I'm also childishly proud at the same time.
I've gone off track a little but what I am saying is now that I have found something I love, a job that doesn't feel like a death sentence and I am my own boss, hitting 30 doesn't seem that bad at all. Hopefully this doesn't come across as bragging, but instead inspires someone to follow a dream job of their own, whatever it may be.
I said in my last post that I want to win a meaningful poker trophy before I am 30 and that is the plan, but it is just a vain hope and if I don't get it it doesn't matter. I have no intention getting on the property market this year because it is just an awful time for anyone, let alone a self employed person who wins most of his income, and my main man Martin Lewis advises against it right now and that's good enough for me.
A new motor would be nice for my 30th, I drive a bit of a granny wagon at the moment but I use it so little a new car isn't a wise investment unless I get a big score. I'd also like to pay of my missus' debt in one fell swoop because I know how great it feels to rid yourself of debt.
So all being well, if I am doing what I'm doing now when I hit 30 then that will be fine and anything beyond that will be a brilliant bonus. Even if poker goes tits up I'd hope that this experience has made me a stronger and more confident person anway, and it would ensure I never went into a dead end job again.