Why gamers make the best employees
We’re all constantly bombarded by stereotypes of the gamer -- none particularly positive. The Uber-Nerd (as seen on South Park), munching hot pockets and dominating noobs, is the prime example. 30-something years old, perhaps residing in his parents’ basement, surrounded by the detritus of gamer consumption: energy drinks, junk food and Star Wars nick-nacks the Uber-Nerd lives a sad, solitary existence. He wastes away his days in futility, preferring to live in an alternate digital world devoid of worth and human interaction. Most organizations wouldn’t touch this guy with a ten foot pole.
I would hire him (or her!) in a heartbeat.
Where the big organization sees a smelly loner, incapable of working on a team or creating meaningful human relationships, I see tons of opportunity. What the BigOrgs don’t know is that gamers make the best employees.
In Entreprenuer Magazine Colleen Long, founder and creative director of FreudTV, said “Without a doubt, an entrepreneur's biggest fear is failing” (link). This fear can absolutely permeate into organizations as well, and is very well-founded. Failing is the worst, right guys? Right??
What happens when you fall off a cliff in Super Mario Bros? You come back to life and try again -- this time a little wiser. This process eventually crystallizes itself in the mind of the gamer, and helps alleviate the fear of failure that makes so many ventures fail before they even begin. When I’m building a team I always try to find a person who has experienced failure in some way. People who have a healthy relationship with failure are mentally and emotionally resilient and you can be sure they won’t fall apart when the going gets tough.
Dedication to Mastery
Try asking a Gamer near you how much time they have in their most-played game. I guarantee you they know how many hours (almost all games track how much time you’ve played). Go on. Ask. I’ll be here when you get back.
If you’re like most normies I know -- you’ll be shocked by that number. How can anyone possibly spend 1000 hours plus playing a video game. Where you, and the rest of society, see a colossal waste of time, I see as dedication to complete mastery of a system.
Think about it. What have you spent 1000 hours doing? Have you spent 1000 hours at work? Doing the dishes? Cooking? Chances are you haven’t spent 1000 hours doing a lot of things. Any given gamer may have spent that much time (and possibly even more) solidifying a thorough understanding of their games. Sometimes a Gamer could spend hours and hours and hours searching for that 1% gain that can give them an edge over their opponents. I can remember running dungeons in World of Warcraft over and over and over searching for that one perfect item that’s going to give me that extra .5% of dodge to put me over the edge. That is what I call dedication.
When properly motivated there is no goal that the Gamer will not pursue to the utmost of their ability.
Rapid-Fire Team Building
Say what? How could an isolationist nerd possibly be considered skilled at team building?? Well despite what you’ve heard video games are rarely played alone these days. The most popular video game of our day is called League of Legends. In League you are dropped into a 5v5 combat scenario with 4 strangers (assuming you aren’t playing with a pre-made team) to fight by your side.
Each one of these players has to find their niche within the team, each serving a different function such as the healer, the damage dealer and the tank. They have to sort all of this out, plus select their character in about a minute.
Say what! Now that is some team-building skill. Anyone who can form an effective ad-hoc team with 4 strangers over the internet, can definitely find their spot on a team in my organization.
So the next time you’re considering candidates for an open position in your organization, ask them what they learned from League of Legends or World of Warcraft. You might be surprised (and delighted) by what you hear!