We won a euchre tournament the other day. One we created out of thin air. My sister and I hadn’t played in years. Some 20+ years to be clear. We used to play on the 1-hour ride home from middle school every afternoon and had, in fact, been the champs of Route 131 (and queen nerds too). But this time, we didn’t let on to the guys, our worthy opponents: Tim and Jeff. We played it cool.
What does this have to do with career? Plenty. It was the ultimate model-sized business.
Like most businesses, we started with no plan at all. We just went bounding into it with a pan of brownies and a bag of chips. When we won the first euchre hand, we realized we might be on to something. But we didn’t get too excited yet. We were still in it “just for fun, a hobby.” After the second hand, a clean sweep, we sat up a little taller. After winning the third hand, we exchanged a long glance over the table. Time to break out the Excel sheets.
Halfway through the first game, we were tied. But we could feel the momentum. We might be struggling to stay in the black, but the juice was coming back. The twins were syncing. We would need more time to launch, which is when Kandy calmly asked, “Best 2 out of 3?” and the men fell about laughing. “Sure!”
When we won the first game, the insurance policy felt good. When we also won the second game, the men casually asked, “Best 3 out of 5?”
We agreed, feeling like the most practical businesswomen alive with the lowest deductible offered by insurance companies in all 50 states.
We would need help to keep the flow of business going. Disregarding local labor laws, we called in the children. “Fill our drinks,” we barked, eyes on the cards, calling suit every chance we got. The drinks were flowing and so were the trump.
However, the employees formed a union and organized a strike early in the third game.
“We’re busy playing!” they announced, with force.
“So are we!” we replied, with force and (supposed) authority.
After brief negotiations, we bartered a quarter-pan of brownies—crispy outside edge included—for 16 oz. of water and 3 cubes of ice.
We carried on, suffering through the gooey inside of the brownies, taking one for the good of our company, our employees well paid.
As the hands wore on and we were dealt one pile of aces and jacks after another, we realized we were playing for nothing. Fools! Card sharks with nothing to prove but how good we were!
No way, we wanted something, anything, for our work. It was the American Dream. The payout. The in-ground pool. The Hawaiian vacation.
“So, what are we playing for?” Kandy asked, again the casual businesswoman in a power suit with a fleet of men in a boardroom, on their knees.
“Just for fun,” the guys said, staring woefully at Game 3, down by 4.
Kerry answered with the deal-closer: “I’ll go alone.”
It was a red hand, hearts left and right, broken and played. We won and we won with a bang.
We couldn’t help ourselves. There was dancing involved, brownie bingeing and high-fiving that might have broken a few fingers.
“Wait!” Kerry screamed. She raced down to her basement and returned with the most glorious of all things: A trophy.
A trophy won years ago in a canoe race by a two-person team. One of whom was also our opponent that night.
“Where did that come from!” Kandy shouted. We were only able to shout at this point, our self-control all but gone.
“I don’t know!” Kerry shouted. “It’s been in my basement since 2002!”
“Oh my God, it’s perfect!” we shouted together.
We went about shouting with joy as we dismantled it, decorated it with cards and hoisted it high in the air.
It was better compensation than any paycheck from any Fortune 500 company anywhere.
What can we say, we mean business when it comes to euchre!