This Boss Doesn't Drop Epics
This past weekend I was complaining in guild chat about how much I really dislike my job, and miss the days when I was just a lowly cashier at the home depot. One of my longest WoW friends piped in and told me something she learned a long time ago that has helped her get through a bad day in the office, and develop a healthy attitude at work.

Before I divulge the secrets of her genius, I'd actually like to start by pointing out why I like RPGs in the first place, and some of the ways I'm different than many other players.

I have a lot of respect for hard work and long efforts that may only reward small payoff. I've always felt the joy is in the journey, and as feel-good and hippieish as that philosophy may sounds, it's how I play. It's why I don't mind long reputation grinds. It's why I like leveling my toons "the right way". It's why I think people ought to be polite to one another. It's why I enjoy healing, and helping others - but it's also why I dislike giving people gold for no reason, or running lowbies through dungeons on principle. I translate my values from the real world into my game universe. I did this long before I ever started playing WoW, but WoW has definitely been the best reflection of my personal values. Think of it like Gevlon-gone-nicey-nice. After all, even Gevlon's action in game reflect his own personal values.

So in a strange twist, my friend-who-is-like-a-sister told me that she gets into a gaming mindset for work. It sounds kinda backwards, it may even sound like one of those things that gamers get harassed for all the time, the uber geek mentality. But it makes sense to me.

She gears up to go to work. She grinds faction reputation with her coworkers, clients, and bosses. She does her daily quests every day, and pursues various different achievements. Much like WoW is something she plays in a way to enjoy her life, work is a "game" she plays that enables her to enjoy her non-work life. All that reputation and daily grinding can be exhausting and tedious, but it enables her to pursue the other things she truly enjoys. Perhaps she can buy a fancy new mount. She needs a certain steady level of gold for repairs for raiding, and consumables of course. When she meets people that are rude and thoughtless, she reminds herself that she does not have to deal with these people outside of that realm if she does not want to. Much like rude people online, who you will inevitably have to deal with online, perhaps if we're lucky, we only have to deal with the work-jerks while in the office. 

I asked her if that meant if I ran over my boss I would get ten achievement points and a few epics, and she said I might, but then I might also get banned. Damn, there goes that idea.

So I started thinking about this in terms of my current hateful work situation. I am currently employed as an intern - stuffing envelopes, fetching coffee, that kind of crap. So I've decided to think of it like Naxx, or heroics. I strongly dislike both, to be honest, but in this analogy, I need them both to gear up for something better... like Icecrown. Maybe if I run enough stupid heroics and starter-raids (aka internships), I will be better prepared for the real fun, the real goal, Arthas (oh and a job at the US Census Bureau plzkthx).

The idea of going from someone who brings her real world values into a game changing into someone who brings her in-game values into the real world is something of a frightening transformation. Have I gone off the edge of gamer extremism and fantasy world inundation? Am I going to wake up tomorrow, single, unemployed, undateable, living in my mom's basement? No, I don't think so (and it's not just because my Texan parents don't have a basement). Perhaps it's just a coping mechanism. I'm not sure how healthy it is, but surely it's not healthy to go into work and leave work utterly miserable with your life because you hate your job so much, either.

So I think I'll give it a shot. What do you think? Have I gone off the edge? Is this the crowning moment of my avoidant personality disorder? Will the non-gaming faction of the world soon come with the whitecoats and toss me into a padded cell? Am I distorting my real life to accomodate a mere hobby?

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5 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    jess on this statement alone of what you said explains it, =D
    "The idea of going from someone who brings her real world values into a game changing into someone who brings her in-game values into the real world is something of a frightening transformation."

    If a person plays and carry her/his values outside the game and applied it to real world, i just hope he/she is not carrying a sword to kill another person lolx. (coz that would be scary!)

    for me, just limitations it is not a personal disorder if its your hobby everyone will respect you for it.

    but there is a quote related to this topic as well by Robert Kiyosaki "A game is like a mirror that allows you to look at yourself."

  2. Askevar Says:

    There is a saying that you can choose how you feel. It sounds like you've used the game to reflect on your life and are making changes in your attitude to better yourself and your enjoyment of real life. Ain't a thing wrong with that.

    As an anthropologist, the game is a fascination to me on cultural levels. Being a raid leader and a main tank, has helped me be more bold in RL and take less crap.

  3. Cassandri Says:

    I think what's important to realise is that you are a person with your own value system - whether in game or at work.

    However, when things go badly in game I think most of us talk ourselves down "it's just a game" "so what if he's acting like a jerk? i'll be out of here in an hour or so".

    We compartmentalize our game world away from our real life. Perhaps all you're doing here is compartmentalising your world life somewhat so that it doesn't upset your whole life.

    And remember, deep down you can actually quit your job.

    When I have a really bad day at work I remind myself that I have more power over my own life than I sometimes think. And a job is just a job.

  4. @Christine

    But I'm a priest! I can't carry swords! Perhaps I'll walk around with a giant 1 handed mace or a staff. Although, it's not like I use my weapons much in game anyway, so maybe the real world is safe from me for a little while ;)


    Though I cannot choose how I feel, I can choose how I react, and I can choose my attitude which may influence how I feel. Maybe it's just trying to turn something that is difficult for me to handle into something more manageable.

    This game really is interesting for people into "people fields", as it brings out fascinating aspects of human personalities.


    That is my favorite thing to think of when things are bad. "I have the power to quit my job. It's my choice" and that does make me feel a bit better too. It's not as though I'm powerless, so there's obviously a reason I'm punishing myself, eh? XD

  5. Dammerung Says:

    In the Army so far(its only been a very short time) I've been told repeatedly that "False motivation is better than no motivation". This is true and covers another truth:

    When you look at a situation and decide to "force" a positive response to it you usually find that it is a million times more bearable than if you respond by complaining. Your friends response of making her workplace into a mini-game is a great example of a way to approach a rather annoying situation in a positive manner.

    I liked this idea/post and am glad I read it.

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