World of Warcraft, your boss and succeeding at work

For a lot of people, politics, corporate strategy and philosophy are the sort of topics that lead to thoughts of using a cheese-grater on an inner thigh. If you’re a cubicle jockey in an office, or someone questioning their existence in the meatspace, then WoW may be able to help. When I say help, I don’t mean in the ‘yep I’ll call in sick and play WoW for three days straight to show those idiots’ sort of way. I’m talking about the real-world opportunities that WoW can provide you as far as leadership development, strategic thinking, political nous or plain old perspective on the important things in life.

And no, winning 100 Wintergrasp battles for your achievement is not ‘important’ in this context. I’m talking about improved work performance or perhaps (don’t laugh) improved relationships at work or home. It’s not Mana oil I’m trying to sell you, it’s more telling you some stuff you probably already know, but hadn’t thought about in this way. So onto the first instalment: talking about WoW at work, legitimately.

Chances are you’ve talked about WoW at work. In order of likelihood, you’ll have talked to a fellow player, a good friend who humors your WoW passion, or a vague acquaintance that is your only conversation option on a particular day at lunch (the same person that will avoid you the following lunchtime). Unless your colleague plays and has the odd Level 80 or two, the reality is they can’t understand why you’re passionate about WoW, let alone being able to see any real-world outcomes. This is where a change of tack is required. Let’s cross to a typical office lunch room:

Colleague: I’m not sure what to say to my boss in my performance review tomorrow.

You: (deciding colleague would be a ranged DPS if they played) Are you happy with your performance?

Colleague: Yeah pretty much, I haven’t had any complaints.

You: (knowing how a sucky ranged DPS can hide in a big raid) Well, have you ever had people say you have been doing a good job?

Colleague: Not really.

You: (having used the ‘Gear Score is crap as a raid effectiveness measure’ argument many times yourself) Well, there’s your strategy for the performance review. Tell your boss you’re happy with your performance to date, but that you’re really interested in getting better job definition so you can improve further. It’s not reasonable for you to be penalised if the ground rules haven’t been clearly laid out.

Colleague: Yeah that might work. Is that what you did?

You: (Being a leet melee DPS) Nope – I had plenty of positive feedback from people that I was able to show my boss. I actually applied some of the teamwork stuff I’ve learnt in World of Warcraft to my job, and it seems to have helped a bit.

Colleague: Really? What are you doing for lunch tomorrow / can I marry you / omfg I’m signing up for WoW tonight.

It may sound cheesy, but conversations similar to the one above happen all the time. Sure, your chances of getting hitched by providing some WoW-based advice is pretty low, but the odds are better than embarking on a 25-minute discussion with same colleague, of how the well-geared but stupid tank you had to heal in the Pit of Saron wiped your 5-man run three times. All that will lead to is you being tied to your desk and pelted with staplers. Plus, those sort of discussions need to be saved for work friends who actually play and may even laugh at your WoW anecdotes. Maybe.

Over to you: have you ever discussed WoW in the workplace, and if so, did it work for you?

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