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WISH 65: Workin' for a Living

WISH 65 asks about jobs and gaming:

Does what you do for a living have any impact on your gaming? Have you had occupational details intrude on your descriptions of how something works? Have you ever dared a player to go “Hotwire a car, then, if that’s how you think it’s done?”

I’m a computer guy, but the answer’s really “Nah.” I’ve played Shadowrun, and I don’t really mind that decking is nothing like real computer work — it’s just an analogy for magic anyway, so I can take it at that level happily enough. I don’t mind if someone gets their hacking descriptions wrong, and I generally assume any modern-day game takes place in a slightly alternate universe.

Now, if you turned the question around, I’d have to say yes. I currently work for a computer game studio, and one of the reasons I got the job is because I’m an avid player of their games. So there’s that.

I also — don’t laugh — attribute some degree of my management skills to spending a lot of time playing Amber online. I know that may sound like rank gamer arrogance. Allow me to elaborate. I think that a lot of management is simply being able to pay attention to what people are thinking and feeling. Gaming doesn’t give you that skill, but it is a good arena in which to practice that skill.

If you’re an insensitive idiot, playing a leader isn’t going to make you any better at it. If you have a certain degree of social eptness to start with, though, it’s just like any other skill. Practice makes perfect. And how many opportunities do you have to practice leadership in a simulated environment?

It’s also a chance to practice sounding confident, and again, practice makes perfect. I don’t manage people by threatening to send their families into exile from Chaos, mind you, but I know how to be direct and reassuring. That skill carries over.

4 Comments

  1. Michael used to work with a team in another time zone, mostly by email. He says that GMing a large Amber game online has a number of things in common with managing a distributed team, so I have no trouble believing that you, too, have honed your managerial skills through online gaming.

    I don’t think it’s something to put on the resume, unfortunately.

  2. Not generally. My freelance RPG work did come up while interviewing for my current job, but I have to admit that’s a bit of an exception.

  3. t.rev t.rev

    Right, same reason I lead a thriving anarchist commune today.

  4. Definitely I’m a better communicator because of Amber gaming. Absolutely playing at confidence can make for smoother communication.

    I come from a socially reclusive background and have actually found out that I can get along with people better than I ever knew. I practiced coming out of my shell with gaming. Your points are very good ones.

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