Originally published on 11/17/12
“Hey Laurie, you have been dead on the site. That’s really weird. What is your deal?”
“Great question! Thanks for judging me without knowing me, JERK.”
Just kidding. None of you are jerks. I’ve had zero troll comments thus far on the site (that I know of. Plenty of spam, but no trolls). That means you all rock. But the observation is valid: I have been super absent from the blog. Here’s the skinny:
I got a new job! And I was offered another one at the same time! And I was still working my other job during the whole process! So it was a lot of time! Exclamation points! And herein lies the story I’d like to share with you, about gaming, related to that information.
At my now old job (last day was today), I worked with my D&D Dungeon Master and my boss was also into D&D. A bunch of the tech guys there were in a D&D campaign that had been running for . . . years. Probably not the same campaign, but they all played D&D together for ages. Another co-worker and I bonded over the Assassin’s Creed series, and one other co-worker and I chatted about writing and video games a lot (check him out at The Married Gamer). One breakroom had a Wii, and another had an Xbox and a PC with an emulator (never played, not sure which console[s] were emulated). The point is: it was easy to be a gamer where I last worked. Those who didn’t play video games thought they were cool.
So I started applying to get a new job and my first interview with first interested place asked me where I saw myself in five years. I see the value in the question, even though it’s kind of the dreaded question of most interview processes. “What if I say ‘not the hell here’ and that totally disqualifies me for the job?” I erred on the side of being naively (lovably?) honest and said that in five years my dream job would either be working for a video game company or working for a video game journalism company. Thankfully a number of programmers were interviewing me so they all found that to be an acceptable answer (note: my unfair stereotype is that programmers play video games. These ones happened to, not all do, I get it). I mentioned some of my gaming writing on the side and they seemed to approve. No lost points, that I could tell.
Then I started interviewing with a second company, and again got the same question. I again erred on the side of being lovably (stupidly?) honest and gave the same answer. The culture of this company was different though. It was hip, it made a lot of jokes in its ads and marketing, it was cool. Would I be disqualified not because I wanted to get out but because I was too nerdy? As I started to give my response, I hedged with, “. . . and I know there are a lot of stigmas surrounding the admission that I really like video games . . . but” and I launched into how I would love to be writing for or about games in the near future.
The woman interviewing me laughed off my qualifier and said that tons of people at the company liked games. She went on to ask me what my favorite game was. I thought it was just a polite, try-to-make-conversation question, so I quickly said that I thought Red Dead Redemption is a damn near perfect game. She asked why, and I thought that was kind of deep for a just-being-polite question, but I launched into an explanation of the setting, the characters, the storyline, the design, and the music, and how all of those elements culminated into a completely immersive and compelling experience overall. And then she started to explain how those principles would apply to trying to write fun and compelling technical documentation that is easy-to-read, not a chore, like a video game. A) Best interviewer I’ve ever spoken with B) good company policy, to try to make writing fun and accessible and C) I wasn’t a leper for being really into gaming!
Aside from those take-aways, which led me to take the job with the second company, I was also kind of . . . impressed? That seems too pompous . . . I dunno, I guess I have just been contemplating a lot how I handled the situation. Sure, I was nervous. Sure, I didn’t want to come off as the stereotypical gamer, obsessed with her hobby and unaware of social norms or queues. But at the same time, I didn’t abandon it. I used it, I declared it to be apart of my life and personality, and it didn’t blow up in my face. I think that doesn’t happen everywhere, but I’m pretty pleased that was my experience with this company, and pleased to realize when the chips are down, I don’t abandon an industry and pastime I love. I owned being a gamer, and it was awesome.
Comment! Let me know what’s up! I wanna talk to you guys because like we established in the beginning, you are awesome, not jerks.