Friday, December 30, 2005

Looking Back

It's amazing how fast the calendar turns as I get older. Here we are getting ready to hit 2006. It sure doesn't seem like it's been six years since my buddies and I were bitching about having to be at work at 6am on New Years Day just in case of the Y2K Armageddon. It turns out that everything was just fine and we spent the morning setting up a miniature golf course around the office, finally getting cut loose after four hours of absolutely nothing happening.

But that was a lifetime ago. This year, I'm working overnight on New Years Eve, not finishing up until six am or so. I don't think I've ever had to work on NYE. Luckily I've got a fun job.

So 2005 is in the books. Looking back, I'd have to say it was a moderately successful year for me. I finished up 2004, New Years Eve being my last day at work with my job in Nashville. I spent the next two months or so preparing for my move to Las Vegas, arriving here the last weekend in February. The road trip out was a very trying experience, but luckily I had my sister Amy with me, and after the initial problems were overcome, we laughed our asses off all the way across the USA. I still have to write about the cyclops story and post it here--just the mere mention of it sends Amy into fits of laughter.

Anyhow, a few minor setbacks aside, I managed to meet the goals I'd set for myself this past year--I made it to Vegas, finished dealer school, got a break-in job dealing dice, and managed to move on up to a second-tier casino where the money is good but the atmosphere is better. I truly don't think it could've turned out much better for me. Yes, I'm still on the extra-board at work, but I think the dues I've paid over the past few months will pay off for me in the near future. I've hitched my wagon to a growing and dynamic company with a very bright future, and I'm glad to be where I am. And I wouldn't trade the experiences of the past year for anything.

Looking ahead to 2006 I have at least one heavy decision to make. Should I stay in Vegas working in the casinos or should I go back to the brokerage world? If I stay in Vegas past next December, the brokerage door closes forever--I can never go back. Those licenses and registrations that I hold were a cast-iron bitch to get, and giving them up is a decision not to be taken lightly. There is a huge fork in the road looming in my future, and whichever path I choose to take, I will not be able to go back if I find out it's the wrong one. We'll see how things play out over the next few months, but as of right now I just can't see myself back in the office again. But then I think, can I see myself in the casino for the next several years, either? I don't know, but who really knows what the future holds.

Ten years ago, I would've never thought I'd be in Las Vegas dealing dice and cards for a living. Back then I was under-employed as a database research analyst for a start-up company. I thought it would be a good opportunity, but after three years I became disillusioned--being passed over for a promotion to a job that seemed tailor-made for me and going to a gal with less experience and no education was the straw that broke this camel's back. (Less than a week later my resume was in the hands of the recruiters at Schwab, and within a month I was sitting in a training class full of strangers, some of whom were to become my best friends to this day).

But back then I was sharing a house with the original 40-year-old virgin, driving an old 280 zx with no air conditioner, spending all my free time practicing electric guitar and daydreaming about being in a band. I didn't discover the internet until summer of 1996, when I was taking some summer classes at ASU, and I had no tv, so it's tough to think about how I spent my free time. I worked on weekends as a doorman at a dive-bar in Arizona, where I met lots of cool musicians that provided me with some inspiration and also gave me several ego boosts over the next couple of years whenever they invited me to come play gigs with them. Funny--it truly was a lifetime ago. I haven't picked up a guitar in over four years.

But I'm not here to dwell on the past, although the past is much easier to write about. I've got a great year ahead of me. I'm going to be making good money again. I'm going to have lots and lots of visitors come visit me here in Vegas. I'm going to the Caribbean for a week. I'm going to go sailing again. I'm going to replace the ghetto sled with some smooth transportation more befitting a person of my economic station. I'm going to write more stuff that gets published. I'm going to get a new tattoo, a new hobby, and maybe even a new house. And I'm gonna make it home for the holidays.

It's going to be a great year.


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