Job For Life – Confessions of a Poker Writer

Job For Life - Confessions of a Poker Writer

Lee Davy continues his confessions series with a look at the importance of ensuring that you have multiple streams of income.

Job For Life - Confessions of a Poker Writer I worked in the rail industry for exactly 19-years.

When I sat down to be interviewed by a man who looked incredibly like Rowan Atkinson, he told me that I was about to receive something that not many people in the UK could get anymore.

A job for life.

I believed him as well.

For the next 19-years I climbed the managerial ladder and as I gripped each rung my position felt more secure. The people who were running the company placed me onto an elite list of personnel they believed could one day run the company.

The troops on the ground started to call me Ming the Merciless, and my peers called me Golden Balls.

I could do no wrong.

I had a job for life.

Then in 2007 the whole world shuddered as it drove right into the worst financial crisis it had experienced since the Great Depression of the 1930s. People stopped spending, we stopped moving steel and things had to change.

Fortunately, I survived the cull, but the shake up handed me a new Managing Director. He was a hard man. A survivor. And suddenly my whole world was turned upside down. He didn’t like my golden balls.

I learned a few things under his tutelage.

I learned that if you get into a fight with your Managing Director then you are going to lose; I learned that my future was in his hands; and I learned that Rowan Atkinson was a lying bastard.

Suddenly, a wonderful position seemed so vulnerable. If I was to lose this job what would I do? This was my sole income and after 300 words I slowly get to my point.

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

My first big break in the poker industry – from a financial perspective – was when PokerNews signed me up to work with them as a live tournament reporter. I love working for PokerNews. They are a great employer and I owe them a great debt, but when it comes to the art of communications they have a lot to learn.

After passing my live reporting test with flying colors at the 2010 European Poker Tour (EPT) Main event in London, I quickly moved on to work at Barcelona and Vienna.

It was a huge moment for me.

In less than 12-months I had found a stream of income that would pay the monthly bills. I knew I needed more work to feel more secure, but as I looked at the EPT Schedule for that year I could safely map out a good budgetary plan.

Then EPT Prague came and went and I was never asked to attend. Then I was asked to go to EPT Berlin and then dropped at the last minute. The feedback was deafening in its silence, and I learned a very powerful lesson.

You need to have multiple streams of income if you are to survive in this game.

I write between 40-50 articles per week for seven different poker or gambling related companies, and I am the live reporter for the World Poker Tour (WPT) non-American events.

This list never stays stagnant for very long. Budgets are cut, people change, positions change, and strategies changes, but I would need a change of nuclear sized proportions for all of my income to cease in a single swoop.

You need to learn to survive and adapt in the face of a crisis, but it’s always better to position yourself well enough that the crisis never comes. If you are worrying about losing a single contract then you are too reliant on that employer.

So what should you do about it?

You work hard. You work your nuts off. Your work your Mary off. You work harder than anybody else in the business. You put your work out there to be recognized, critiqued, hated and loved. You write until your fingertips sting, your arms lock tight and your neck starts to ache.

But what if you don’t have any work?

Then you work hard. You get into the faces of people. You send five pitches off per day. You buy marketing books and learn how to sell. You just keep on keeping on. Each time you step in front of a wall you walk right through it. There are no miraculous phone calls. No contracts handed down from heaven. Everything happens to you because of the energy and vibration that you put out there.

This is not a job for life.

But if you have eight or nine of them and one of them decides to take it all away from you then you can survive.

You can keep on writing.

They can keep on reading.

And that’s what it’s all about.