Bad Beats in Poker and Life
Poker is a great metaphor for life. There’s a ton of ups and downs, a mixture of luck, and skill, and of course there’s a hell of a lot out of your control. I’ve selected the video below to give you an idea of what a “bad beat” is, and give an indication of how I feel right about now.
Bad beats are just a part of life.
Bad Beat: Playing your cards right, reading the situation right, having the cards in your favor, and at the last minute having the world change with a flip of the last card. Its the appearance of winning when an important piece of missing information would tell you, that you were losing.
Lets set the stage: I’m a successful Product Manager working part time at a respected company. Due to some forces in my life the overwhelming need has become going full-time. This led me to ask my manager for expanding my role within my group. After a discussion this was deemed impossible and I was invited to seek employment elsewhere within the company (a great proposition). However, a few weeks later my manager indicated the need to utilize the position I currently hold for a new candidate (as he was under the impression I’d have no problems seeking out other opportunities within the company). Finding the right position has been somewhat elusive, but I found one major opportunity.
The Opportunity: Work with a group that I have a strong track record with, have 4 people recommending me for, and whom I’ve had the opportunity to have an informal interview with. My manager’s put in a good word to these people as well, and they mentioned they would be starting their interview process in a few short weeks.
Fast forward to today:
9am: Manager wishes to speak with me. Typical good news/bad news conversation.
- Bad news: They’ve put an offer out to the candidate who will take my space
- Good news: He just spoke with the group behind the opportunity and they’re going to be interviewing me
He tells me I better nail the interview because I’m now on the clock.
9:10am: I’m in an operational meeting that is mission critical. I see an email come in from the gentleman who has the opportunity. Given the conversation with my manager, I just can’t resist seeing when my interview is.
9:11am: Yep that bad beat feeling just crept in. They’ve decided to go with another candidate without even giving me an opportunity to interview. The only position that was aligned with where I’m at, the one with all my network trained on this one target, the one I am within spitting distance with given a solid track-record of working with the group.
9:15am: I fire off an email to my manager letting him know of the unfortunate turn of events.
9:30am: I get back an email that my manager needs me to execute on my deliverables while I’m out looking for my next opportunity.
The sad thing is I knew immediately this was a bad beat. I’m analytical enough to know immediately this has nothing to do with my value, what my offer is, or anything I had any control over BUT DAMN IT SUCKS. Now I’m on the clock and I felt pretty bummed when my manager didn’t identify with how I must feel given such a terrible outcome.
How does one deal with a bad beat and keep going?
- Understand that you played your cards right.
- Accept its beyond your control.
- Prove to the world the outcome was wrong, not you.
Unfortunately while these are great steps we’re all still human. So its going to take a little time for me to work through the 3 steps, but hopefully reading this post will get you thinking about your own bad beats in life.
Additionally if you’re ever in the position of having to deal with an employee who is experiencing a bad beat think about the impact it must have on them and comfort them.