The Work Dilemma

May 27, 2007

“Heyyyyyy………Peter, how’s it going?”

“Fine…”

“Yyyyyeahhhhhhh.”

All right, so maybe your job isn’t that bad. You might have even made a friend or two outside the seemingly endless cubicle hours of your life. They, probably like you, need to find that balance to the 40-hour work week. They need to find the anti-job medication (aside from beer) that gives you a useful outlet for which to waste all your hard-earned dollars.
Or win someone else’s hard-earned dollars.

That outlet, of course, is poker night.

So maybe every once in a while you get together with a group of colleagues and sit down for a night of Hold ‘em, or what may be more commonly know as “I otherwise never would have known what these people’s apartments looked like” night.

You make fun of your boss, and his boss, and his wife…and the motivational speakers they shove down your throat, all while trying to keep your head in a game of probably low-stakes, filled-with-chatter, wild-card-happy poker.

But here’s an interesting situation…what happens when you’re a new employee? You like to play cards…you know there’s someone else on the gray and off-white maze of a floor you work on that likes to play cards online at Bodog…so it’s only a matter of time before someone introduces themselves to you and then slips in the age-old, ice-breaker question, “You a poker fan?”

Yeah, I know it’s not the age-old question, but it’s a hell of a lot more prevalent these days now that poker on television during prime time.

It’s happened to me, about 3 years ago when I started a new job down here in South Florida. A couple guys in our department (one of whom comes across as pretty intimidating) asked me if I played cards. They said they were thinking of getting a game together and wanted to know if I was interested in joining.

OK, at this point, two things should cross your mind.

1. Do I want to make enemies at work right away by taking everyone’s money like it was a drawerful of office supplies?

2. Are these people regulars trying to fish me in and take all of my money?

The answer to question 2 you won’t know until you accept their invitation and observe how they play for a good half-hour. The answer to question 1, though, at least in my experience, is that you can have it both ways. Clean up the game and still have them talking to you when Monday morning rolls around.

Just be quiet, friendly and modest. Even if you’re the “rowdiest sum’ bitch this side of the Mississippi” in your regular games, play it cool for a little while to let this group understand you’re not a total jack-ass in real life. Plus, win or lose, you want to be invited to the next game, and the wrong first impression can cut you off in the flip of the flop.

So how did that first night of poker go for me? Well, we were only playing for quarter antes, and there were six people in total, including a couple ladies. But at the end of the night I walked about with an $85 profit.

Now, don’t be a mute. Let the people enjoy your company. Odds are their main intention of inviting you in the first place was just to get to know you.

So by all means, be yourself. I would just keep the “damn those ladies look prettier than all those Absinthe-blurred nights in Amsterdam!!!” comments to yourself until your new peers know you a little better to understand your sense of humor.

Or…maybe you were serious with that last comment. And if you were, so help you, I will not sit idly by and let you bad mouth Amsterdam!