In late February, Facebook announced their new Women in Gaming Program, a community dedicated to empowering and connecting women who want to or currently work in the gaming industry.
As a woman who works on a well-known gaming company account and a video game lover myself, I felt extremely empowered and inspired by this announcement. A program that nods to women in the gaming industry may seem simple, but it is a huge leap forward. This gives the opportunity for one of this industry’s largest minorities to not only be seen, but also be heard.
So why games? To many, gaming is seen as trivial and mind-numbing. Our parents always complained that they were a waste of time, that we should unplug and go outside. But gaming can teach us much more than you may think.
Growing up, playing video games has taught me patience, perseverance and problem-solving. And these lessons didn’t just stop after puberty. After starting my first big-girl job over four years ago, I began to notice some important lessons from games that are applicable to your career.
Here are seven career lessons that video games can teach you:
Don’t be too proud to play the tutorial
As a fairly independent worker, I find myself facing this scenario far too often. My manager will approach and ask me to put something together I have never done before. Rather than risk appearing inexperienced or unqualified, I keep my questions or concerns quiet and internally assure myself that I can figure it out as I go.
But too many times (instead of letting go of my pride and allowing my experienced manager to walk me through a cushy, guided tutorial) I end up winging it, mashing buttons and crashing into walls.
I understand it can be intimidating to admit that you aren’t familiar with something new being assigned to you, however, the more you avoid it, the greater the chance that you will not only deal damage to yourself, but to your supervisor as well. Ask questions, request guidance and voice any hesitations you may have. Doing this will help you learn how to play the game properly.
Multiplayer makes things more fun
Playing solo is fun, but it can be impossible to accomplish all of your missions alone. The workplace is always 100 times more enjoyable when you have a reliable team behind you.
Take the time to socialize, nurture relationships and make friends with the people on your team and in your office in general. On those days that you are dealing with a stressful workload or just need some words of encouragement, your work crew will always be there to lend a helping hand. Mutual encouragement will help you power through any challenge you face.
Upgrade your weapons
While you may not be wielding a battle axe, you possess some kick-butt skills that should make your enemies tremble in fear.
Just like any RPG, we often start off our careers with a level 1 weapon, basic industry knowledge/skills, a degree, or a connection to help get your foot in the door. Following that, it is your own responsibility to forage for materials, talk to others around town and upgrade your arsenal.
Network, continue your education or read up on news/courses that will help you gain new skills within your industry. The more drive you put into bettering yourself and your experiences while you are young, the more powerful you will be towards the end of the game.
Grind, grind, grind
Every experience can’t be boss fights and enthralling battles. To truly better yourself you have to bunker down and deal with some boring or repetitive tasks.
Unlike video games, life doesn’t come with cheat codes so gaining experience is going to take time and energy. Go out of your way to put in your all and invest yourself into everything you do on a daily basis, even the smallest tasks. Put as much focus into updating your daily reporting document as you would prepping for a huge meeting with a new client. Go above and beyond in everything you do, even if it takes a little extra time.
Enjoy the side quests…
For the sake of your sanity, try not to obsess over your job to the point that you are working days, nights and weekends without any breaks. Always allow yourself some time to pause or enjoy other things you love.
Ensure that you occasionally stray away from your mission to explore other things, like a hobby or side-gig that gives you a creative outlet. Side-quests will give you the opportunity to step away and rediscover yourself and the things that drive you. Additionally, it will help you prevent burn-out and may even allow you to look at work projects from a new and enlightened perspective. Essentially, taking this time is real life’s version of pressing the reset button.
…But don’t forget about the main goal
When life just won’t stop sending horrifying monsters, powerful attacks or blue turtle shells your way, having end-goals established for yourself will always remind you to keep pushing through.
Where do you want to be in the next 10 years? What is your dream position? Do you want to own your own business someday? Sit down and put together a list of long-term goals for yourself and your career—no matter how far-fetched they may seem.
Right now some of these plans may appear to be unrealistic or impossible, but with the right amount of motivation and focus you never know how far you will be able to go.
Losing doesn’t mean the game is over
When you lose a level in a video game does the screen shut off and prevent you from ever playing again? Absolutely not.
The same rules are in place for your career. Life happens and so do mistakes, so don’t lay down and give up every time you take a hit. Instead, keep in mind that you have unlimited lives and opportunities to reinvent yourself. Did you completely forget to finish a task your boss assigned to you? Admit you did wrong, heal yourself with a potion (or glass of wine) and do better next time. Are you not happy in your career? Luckily for you, there are countless other titles to choose from and applying to each and every one of them is free. Did you lose your job? Don’t turn off, revive yourself and get back into battle.
Always remind yourself that even though the words “game over” may flash on your screen, “try again” is always the first option located underneath it.
Video games may seem like fantasy, but right now there is a good chance you are living in one. You are a girl on a quest, equipped with killer skills, fighting her way through a challenging workplace environment. Keep your eye on the prize and never sheath your sword. Now on to battle!
To learn more about Facebook’s Women in Gaming Program and see any events near you click here.