Sydney, early 2019
I spent my weekend watching two professional poker players, Davidi Kitai and Pierre Calamusa, playing tournaments and describing each of their major choices.
Why in hell would I do that?
Well, there is a big take-away for you, dear reader, especially if you’re a French Engineer looking for a job in Australia. Or even just if you’re a non-Australian looking for a job and like down-to-earth advice.
But first, the backstory – because not everyone is spending is weekend watching poker analysis (@Aurelien, this one is for you 😉 )
15 years ago, in high school: I like math, like many engineers-to-be. And as a kid, any source of income was interesting – which means, any way to earn 20 euros.
The poker hype was big and that was enough: big tournaments in Las Vegas, stories of millions of dollar in prizes, easy money. Enough to attract a young Thomas.
Armed with the theorical knowledge of a book read at La Fnac, I went to my first game with friends in an apartment in the South-East of Paris (not a real cash-game: we bet 20 euros and the winner takes it all).
I finished 4th out of 5. What a failure! This was the end of my poker-career: the variance and risks were too high for me.
3 years later, I discussed with an high school friend who went full-on in poker – my interest grew again.
This time he told me the truth behind pro poker: it’s a full time job with weeks of preparation, dozens of hours spent waiting for good hands and night with loss of hundreds of dollars. Despite knowing I do not want those downsides, I went back to study poker theory for fun for a few weeks.
The Trick: What can we learn from Pro Poker Players to Get a Job in Australia?
First, preparation is paramount. Having a good CV, a good story to tell.
But that’s not all.
The mindset matters a lot.
A beginner poker player think in hands: what combination can I do with my two cards? Is my hand a good one? Is there another combination beating my hand?
Pro-players approach is radically different: he thinks in range.
For every hand he has, he thinks: how valuable are my cards in this position relative to the big blind? How should I bet and what range this bet will convey? Each time new cards appears / his opponents play, he adjust his theory: what range would justify their actions? are those range winning or losing to mine? Would a bluff be consistent with their initial range?
David knows that you’re not playing one hand: a tournament is win after hundreds of hand. So it’s about making the good choices in the moment, in accordance with his global strategy.
This is the same for people looking for a job.
A newcomer could think: Who do I know in Australia? Who should I contact? And then, when meeting someone: Are they looking to hire someone ? Should I send them my CV ?
This is common and won’t take you far.
If you’re lucky, like in poker, you can win from the first try and get a job.
And that would be great: kudos to you!
But then, if not, what do you do?
How do you get this job?
This is where thinking long-term, understanding the big picture matters.
So you can focus better on each interaction.
Here is a few questions for those thinking in range:
– What companies am I in contact with, and who do I know in each?
– What is happening in those company: new projects (that will require new people), expansions, hire-freeze ?
– Should I meet other people from the same company or focus on another one?
And when you meet people:
– What team is this person working for?
– What kind of challenges do they have?
– Could I be useful to them, or would they know someone that would be of interest?
If you have 2-4 months in front of you , thinking in range is the best strategy.
Check this article: the Snowball Strategy is fully described