Why your career is not like a video game

4 min read

A few years ago, an article by Oliver Emberton that compared human life to a video game went viral. In a brilliant way, he used the structure of a video game to explain why it’s important to live with a strategy in mind. Think of it as the ultimate game guide for life. I loved the article so much that I had it bookmarked, and occasionally still revisit it 5 years later.

I definitely can’t call myself a hardcore gamer, especially now that I’m a stuffy, boring adult (whoa). But at 13 years old, I received my first Nintendo Gameboy Pocket for Christmas – Pikachu-yellow and glorious. I spent most of my allowance money on AAA batteries because my parents wouldn’t buy me a charger. Whatever money was left, I saved up to buy the latest Pokemon games as soon as they were released. I was sentenced to wearing glasses shortly thereafter, probably because of the countless days and nights I spent leveling up my Lapras to beat the Elite Four.

Today, it seems everything can be gamified. How fun your latest vacation was can be measured by the number of likes on Instagram (fortunately, this might go away). How good you are at public speaking can be measured by the number of connections who endorse you on that skill on LinkedIn. How savvy of a shopper you are can be measured by how many PC Optimum points you’ve banked. But the more I thought about the analogy of a video game, the more I realized it shouldn’t be compared to your professional life.

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Crafting your career path doesn’t have to feel daunting

4 min read

I recently came across an interesting study, albeit 2 years old, that illuminated my understanding of the relationship between work and happiness. It talks about the drivers of job satisfaction, and contends that job satisfaction does not automatically lead to engagement. It also affirms something I hear all the time – that one’s career path is both important and complex. For a student or new grad, it can be an incredibly daunting task to even think about.

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#10yearchallenge

I was talking to a coworker today about all of the recent Facebook/Instagram posts on the #10yearchallenge, and I’ve come to one conclusion: the only people who do it are the ones who haven’t visibly aged (and want the kudos for it). Am I bitter about not being one of those people? Not at all…

Regardless of the intention, I do think the idea of taking a long look back and seeing how far you’ve come can be rewarding. In a lot of posts, I see people talking about difficult situations they were in 10 years ago that seemed impossible to overcome (long-term partner cheating, complicated medical conditions, rock bottom self-esteem). Fast forward to today, those same people can now only remember snippets of those episodes because time has diluted most of the emotional charge associated with those bad times.

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