Monday, August 06, 2007

Dealing in Las Vegas

Question
I am a 48-year-young female, with empty nest syndrome. I have had my own cleaning service company off and on for around 25 years and I am darn good at it. I have letters from previous customers and other various kinds of employment dating back to 1984.

I have ventured off to seek other occupations and have had relocate a few times. I enjoyed many of my other jobs however, I have always returned to cleaning so I can work around my family’s schedule and many needs. Let’s not forget to mention the pay isn't bad either. But now my kids are grown, my husband’s health issues are much better, and although I am not old, my body is saying, “No more cleaning.”

I have had many employees and at times I have had no one but me. Dealing with my customers’ and employees’ lives and problems can get tiresome. Although I am good at my business, I don't want to bring it home every night anymore. So I am ready to work for someone else for a change.

In addition to being a business owner/supervisor/bookkeeper/ payroll clerk/sales rep/PR person/inventory manager/ purchaser/instructor/ scheduler/problem solver and multi-tasker for my business, I have also been a party planner/server/cleaner-upper, vacation home security monitor/PC maintenance consultant/interior decorator.

Before I started my business, I was going to college, taking nursing classes. Although I was not able to finish that, I am a certified Nursing Tech (which includes advanced First Aide and CPR). I have worked in a few hospitals. I liked it but there was not enough pay, and I got too emotional when patients passed on.

I was a real estate agent for about a year and I did well at it. I was in the top ten listers of our company in my first 6 months, but I didn't much like it because it involved too much wasted unpaid time and stress.

I was a security guard at Caesars Tahoe. I loved that job. I mostly guarded the entertainers, VIPs, and the entertainment stages. But I also did emergency first aide and money fills to the gaming tables. I would still be doing that but cleaning wages were triple what security was paying. At the time, I was the only wage earner in the family.

Lately I have become certified as a dealer for about 10 different kinds of poker. So my husband and I have decided to go for it and move to Las Vegas. He is on social security income so he's ready to go somewhere different. The catch: I have been to two auditions here in Washington state and I have been petrified. (I am totally out of my element).

So what do I do about a resume? What work experience should I emphasize? What if I can't get past my fear of auditioning? I went into this occupation for the good tips ('cause I am good at PR). That's the plan but I am open to any possibilities.

I expect to be working for many years to come and my body won't hold up cleaning that long and I have to build up my retirement fund. So which hat should I wear now? What occupation should I aim for? I like the entertainment area (I think).
--- Charlie

Answer
by Townsend Belisle, Professional Inspirer

Dear Charlie,
You've an impressive background - what a full life you've lived in such short years! You are the person anyone might want to take on any adventure as you can do so many things!

Let me make my thoughts more readable by dividing them between your next line of work versus your resume.

If becoming a professional dealer is your next calling, the best thing you can do is build your confidence. And that comes with practice and focus.

Confidence comes from proof. Proof that you know what you're doing. And what better way to know what you are doing than practice, practice, practice. Perhaps you might consider dealing cards all day, for a few days: play with your family, show some tricks to your friends - perhaps even teach a game or two to the waitress at the diner. You'll find the more you have to do it in front of others, the more comfortable you'll be - and when you're comfortable, that trait will show in an audition. That's exactly what the casinos want to hire: comfortable, confident people.

Regarding your resume, you definitely should create a list of your experiences that best apply to the job you're pursuing. From what I understand of the industry (gambling) and job (a dealer), casinos first want to see that you have the skill set (dealing accurately, quickly and dependably), and that you have the personality (you're nice and cater to clients while not showing any favoritism) and that you're clean (no significant criminal or drug record). A resume is nice but may not be the most critical component in getting hired.

The essence of that resume, then, should exhibit each of the qualities above (nice, dependable and clean) and is minimal: one page -- tease them into wanting to meet you because you're such a perfect match! Don't give them too much info, as you may be giving them an excuse to say "no."

Regarding the work itself -- what you would like to do for work is very important. You clearly have some sense about both your strengths and what things you enjoy. Focus on those things -- perhaps especially on your personality traits (organized, detail-oriented, personable, for example) and think about what job positions might best suit you. You've come to terms that you want decent pay and a good return on your hours but you've also learned that there is certain work to which you don't want to return.

As another line of thought (and a safety net in case something doesn't pan out), a few other ideas come to mind, especially given you're on your way to Vegas. Join a cleaning company but pitch yourself as a former business owner who deserves to be in management (supervising others, maintaining contact with clients). As a person who loves people and being out of an office, perhaps you'd enjoy becoming a concierge or a tour guide for one of the resorts -- you'd quickly get to know the area and could utilize all sorts of your "jackie-of-all-trades" experience.

One more thought - a staple book when reconsidering careers is Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger and Barbara Barron. I might suggest you check it out from the library to give yourself a better sense of what you'd like to do next.

Good luck -- it'll be an adventure!

"Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." - Kenny Rogers

Townsend Belisle spent a year (1994-1995) consulting in the casino industry, working in the entertainment (dealers of dance), promotions (dealers of surprises) and advertising (dealers of incentives) departments. You couldn't pay him enough to clean the casino floor. However, he'd love to try his hand at being a security guard and for this, he's drinking his milk.

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
You might find Overcoming Stage Fright – Here’s What to Do by Christine Kane useful. Christine gives nine steps for overcoming performance anxiety, which she developed from personal experience.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Another thing you might want to consider before you move to LV is the weather. Are you and your spouse ready for many days > 100 degrees in a row?

Psychologist said...

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas
But what if it don't?

Lyrics of Natasha Bedingfield

Working Girl said...

That was an amazing letter. Very well expressed. I think you will do great as a dealer. Just "rehearse" to get ready for your "audition"!