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Moving forward.

December 15, 2010
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This week’s shared topic at Blog Azeroth asks, “Do you think your real life job affects how you see people/situations in game and do you use the same methods in game you would use at work to diffuse situations?”

RL Influencing WoW

I’ve spent the last several years since I graduated from college working in retail management, generally for some large, nationwide stores.  Because of that, I see a lot of spill-over from the training I received at work into the way I lead in WoW.

A little over a year ago, I took over as the GM of the guild I was in at that time.  It was primarily an RP guild that had a reasonably successful 10 man raiding team – I eventually parted ways with the membership there when I decided I wanted to focus solely on raiding and wanted to experience the 25 man environment.  But when I first came on as GM of the guild, I appointed a few new officers and convened a meeting in the officer chat channel.

I’d outlined an elaborate plan to revitalize RP and strengthen the raiding team and had divided up the responsibilities among the officers.  It was entirely based upon a model I’d seen in the company I was working for at the time.  Each officer (or management team member) oversaw a specific aspect of the guild and the GM (or store manager) helped them find the resources they needed to get the job done and ensured that the guild’s fundamental goals (or the company’s vision) was being maintained.  My theory on this was that guild members and new recruits were a lot like customers – they had the option to be with us or to go elsewhere, and we needed to show them why it was worthwhile to be in this guild.

The first officers’ meeting was an eye-opener for me as to just how much that business-ese jargon had seeped into my vocabulary without me even realizing it.  About halfway through the meeting, the former GM and new first officer stopped me and jokingly pointed out that if I used the phrase “moving forward” one more time he was going to go nuts.  I looked back at my chat panel, scrolling up through our conversation.  He was right – I’d said “moving forward” at least half a dozen times, along with some equally annoying buzzwords like “proactive,” “sustainable,” and “impactful” (my internal English major hates me for that last one, especially).  I made a conscious effort to tone it down after that, though the phrase “moving forward” remained a running joke between the officers and me.

Now, I’m happy to remain out of the driver’s seat in my current guild, which has been my home since February of this year.  I do lead a 10 man raid with all guild members, though, and I try desperately to try to keep the business-speak out of my conversations with them.  It’s significantly easier to do so in a raid environment than it is when you’re dealing with guild leadership, thank goodness.  I’m still and obsessive planner and goal-setter, which is both a direct result of my time spent in retail management and not really a bad quality to have in a raid leader.

Thoughts on WoW and Work

When RestoDude answered this question, he talked about the relatively small number of people in his life who know that he plays WoW.  The same is true for me.  Most of my family know that I play, and understand what that means to varying degrees.  Of my friends, only 3 of my closest know that I play and 2 of them have also played at some point.

I have never told anyone that I work with that I play WoW.  The stigma associated with gamers makes it so difficult to open up my mouth and talk about something that is a pretty substantial part of my recreational time.  It’s not that I worry about being labeled a “geek,” it’s that a lot of employers assume that anyone who games is lazy, antisocial, and has conflicted priorities.  In fact, a manager I once worked with (inappropriately) commented on the person who previously held my position, saying that he was probably “one of those people who sits at home all night in front of the computer.”  I wanted to respond, “I sit at home in front of my computer most nights, killing internet dragons with people from all over the United States and Europe – AND I still come into work on time the next day ready to work as hard as I always do.”

Really, I should have said that, I know.  Stigmas won’t be broken until we demonstrate that we are a diverse and intelligent population who are just as responsible and hard-working out of the game as we are in it.  Baby steps.

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