The title may sound weird but actually I think there is a contradiction in society related to gaming and work-related expectations of soft skills.
I started to think about this when my current work place asked me the following question: “You do have Cosplay as a hobby…. do you play games?”
Well… I told them the truth and said “Yes, but right now mainly only Final Fantasy XIV which is a MMO.”
They completely freaked out. In a positive way.
What the company was looking for was a person that knows social media and has earned soft skills in the virtual world as well as real life.
But when they actually told me they prefer a hardcore gamer instead of a person fresh from university I started to think. My vita was also perfect for the job: Customer Service experience in 2 work places (direct with facial and voice contact and indirect through mails), Translation and Proofreading work, Quality Assurance – just to name the main aspects of what I would need in the new job (although I did not had any contact with any customer so far).
Of course I agreed to get the contract and I did not regret that so far but WHY does a solid company prefers a gamer over someone who just got his bachelor/master/whatever?
I had a small talk with the guy who had the interview back then a few days after I was hired. He explained it is not that they prefer a gamer over a student who just got the degree but what they were looking for was someone with my vita and appearance. He then told me that in my case my experiences I make online with different people will certainly benefit the company at some point as our future customer contacts will mainly happen online and some soft skills can be only obtained when having an environment suitable for this purpose. Plus they think people who play games have a more open-minded view and find solutions where some others can’t – they already made this experience in several cases.
He, as the one who wanted to hire me, felt I have that and he preferred having me than another candidate as I always kept my cool even when he asked me about cosplay and the gaming environment I am in (while I was so nervous inside I thought I would explode).
This leads me to the following question: Aren’t gamers underestimated in most of the companies?
I am not talking about the gaming industry – I worked there. They expect you to game at least one game in your free time :p (not necessarily the product you are working on)
I am talking about all these work places that expect certain soft skills like negotionable, social, etc and deny the job to people who say they play games.
In Germany gamers are seen as addicted, crazy people…. for some individuals that might be true but most of us are improving and refining ourselves in the world we have a character in.
I myself have now a leading position in my free company. Meaning I have some responsibility and need to interact with people I might not like for 100% in case of a problem. I also took the co-lead position in one of our raid groups – also we do have TeamSpeak for the purpose of not writing stories in the chat. This has the following aspects as examples: leadership, negotiation, ative listening, finding solutions, planning ahead and organization.
But can I put these things on my CV? Hardly. These things will be questioned and can cost me the job because its not proven by a company I worked for. Wow. I’m sad.
I could give dozens of examples about how I handle certain situations in my free company while I rarely had the chance in my previous jobs to have such kind of experiences…. so: What about telling these situations in the coat of a former job? Well…. lying about this fair enough but who can tell if the company you apply for will not check this? 😀
My point being: The company I work for is the second who cares about my gaming in my free time – the first not being associated with the gaming industry. I hope some other managers will change their minds about not hiring people who are truthful enough to say “I am gaming and I get a lot more out of it then a stupid addiction.”