Growing up, I was never good at sports. I had severe allergies and asthma (yup, I was that kid), and my activity outside was limited. So when the Atari and Nintendo systems came out, I naturally gravitated toward video games – they satisfied my competitive nature while allowing me to hang out with my friends (in between homework of course).
Fast forward to today, I’m still a big gamer. I even have a couple gaming-related figurines on my desk and a few decals on my car. I know, I know – “Aren’t you a little too old for gaming?” It may surprise you, but the average age for a video game player is 35 and the gaming industry is worth a whopping $109 billion – that’s a far cry from child’s play. But why am I talking about gaming in the first place? If you’ve watched any of my YouTube videos, *insert pause and expectant stare* you’ll find that I like to equate job searching, career development, and office life to gaming.
It may seem frivolous at first, equating your life’s work to a game, but hear me out. Mega Man 3, one of the more iconic installments in the Mega Man series on the NES, had a well-known cheat where if you held down a button on the 2nd controller you would be able to jump super high. Now, the coordination here was key – to do the trick you either had to get your friend to hold it down for you (if you trusted them enough!) or use some sort of weight to hold it down while playing. I remember searching the house for an hour for the perfect paperweight or statue that could hold its place on the controller without falling. I played one stage with the cheat on and decided not to use it after that.
At the time, my response to playing with the cheat was, “Well this isn’t any fun…” Looking back, there are a couple reasons I didn’t think it was “fun” – for one, the game stopped being a challenge. I enjoy pursuing a challenge and testing my abilities to overcome an obstacle. I may fail and get frustrated, but that’s just part of the process. Second, the satisfaction of overcoming that obstacle and winning is an amazing feeling. Finishing that level, beating the bad guy at the end after falling to my doom in a spiked pit a thousand times was such a euphoric feeling.
We all have opportunities where we can cheat our way out of something, whether that’s fudging the numbers on a report to lying on your resume to get that interview. But often times you spend more time and energy trying to cheat, like spending an hour figuring out that perfect weight for the controller, than being true to your abilities and improving your skillset. Leveling up your career is not going to happen overnight; it requires persistence, patience, and hard work. And chances are you will probably fail along the way. But when you win that achievement, get that promotion, land that dream job, receive that degree – you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you truly earned your goal.
There you have it, gaming and life, coming together. If you’re ever in the area hit me up and we can play a round of Pac-Man or Mario Kart! Also check out my videos where you’ll find some more helpful career hints and insights into gaming and life: