I’m surprised so many people have asked me about my new(ish) job so much, but given I openly talk about it a lot, and it’s a pretty cool job, I thought why not dedicate a day to it up in here!
I started working for William Hill a year ago almost to the week. Being chucked in at the deep end, given my second week was the week of the Cheltenham Festival, the biggest week of horse racing you’ll get all year. It was tough starting in such a quiet shop. Sure, it was kinda easy, but on the other hand, you don’t learn so much. See in Hayes, two of the three shops are known as “Machine Shops”, where the gaming machines make all the turnover for the place, and over the counter, not much is happening. Remember spending a lot of my opening weeks watching Big Bang Theory repeats and Baby Daddy on deck.
But I was soon not needed as they had another cashier coming in to train, so I was in relief, going all over West London. My schedule was always up in the air, but I liked it because being in different shops and whatnot made me learn faster, got used to busier shops, and I got used to the till system and all the procedures.
See, that’s the thing about this job. There’s a lot to learn. The betting industry is one that’s closed off to a lot of the outside world who don’t gamble outside of a Grand National, but there’s a lot more to it than marking those accumulator forms.
I’m currently a “2.5”, which means I’m qualified to basically manage any shop in the country. I can open and close, and know exactly how to do it. You have to know how to take a bet properly. How to translate a bet effectively. You have to have a decent knowledge of the product you’re selling, even if it is in many cases, a dream (It is gambling after all). Got to know as many types of a bet as you can, from your Doubles and Trebles to your Lucky 63’s and Super Heinz. You have to be able to identify underage customers, as well as spot moments when punters are vulnerable and may need advice. Gotta look out for alcohol too, as that’s not allowed.
And of course, you have to deal with customers who can often get angry or upset. I mean, you’re dealing with people winning and losing money… there’s going to be tension and emotion sometimes. I once had a guy refuse to gamble with us because we didn’t make him a free cup of tea fast enough. Shit happens.
Also, any job where you’re handling money can be tricky. You don’t want your till to be short at the end of a shift, for obvious reasons, and sometimes, you’re dealing with thousands of pounds at a time. It’s nervous and stressful.
But if you can handle it, it can be a really fun job too. If you run a good shop, you can have some really nice punters and it can be a blast! Also, progression is pretty quick too. They’re now trying to get everyone to the point that they can open and close in three months. That’s kinda nuts, but if you’re in the right shop, easily done.
Listen, I was born a sports nut and lover of numbers and mental maths, so a bookie was pretty much made for me. And also, because of my Aspy’s, my lack of empathy sometimes helps, if I’m being completely honest. It’s a good spot for me professionally, I still have aspirations that one day I might be able to be a journalist or a broadcaster for them because as bookies, they have so many different departments and a deep infrastructure that works.
The only real massive drawbacks are that the hours are pretty unsociable. I work in a shop that HAS to have 2 people close it, and as a result, most of my shifts are from 2-10 in the evening. Means I can’t see my sister as much as I would like, and it’s made fitting the Podcast in around it a LITTLE difficult, but nothing too major, I’m lucky in that regard that the job is also pretty flexible.
I am definitely the sort of guy who looks up odds in his spare time, likes working out returns (Which is very handy for customers), and the sense of management and leadership is one I find really valuable. With a little luck, I’ll be a manager officially later in the spring, and I kinda like the challenge of it. It’s also been pretty fun tying it into the Podcast. Spoiler, there’s no real value in betting in Formula 1, so don’t bother. Try the Indy 500 or something!
If you can handle procedures, you’re decent in dealing with small teams (My shop team are like a small family), you’re comfortable in selling products and you don’t mind being flexible, I highly recommend it.
Kind of a short one this time around, and to be honest, I can’t go too deeply into it on here, social media is a bit sketchy, but if I’m ever streaming, ask me some stuff you’re curious about, I may be able to help you out a bit, I know many people have. It’s a world that’s shut off to the normal guy, but it can be pretty fun sometimes, being able to take 10-minute breaks every hour, talking to people about sports, making tips… It can be a good gig.
Catch you tomorrow for some Robot Wars!