Drama Mamas: The case of the reluctant temporary guild leader

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Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Don't let our own guild get run by anyone else but you. Anyone else but you. Anyone else but you. No, no, no!
Hi there,

My wife is our guild leader, and as such, I am kind of the co leader when she is gone for her deployments (usually about 4 months). we both love to play WoW, after all we met on WoW, found out we have common interest out side of the game, got married, had a child, and continued to play WoW. So here is the issue.

We started our own guild because we were tired of the drama, the headaches of hardcore raiding, and the general snobbery that was associated around us. And our little guild prospered. Then my wife was deployed for 5 months, and I had the reigns of the guild (along with my brother). And under our guidance the guild grew in to a 25 man raiding guild that did endgame content, but we still kept it casual and friendly.

So, cataclysm comes out, and our guild goes through a population explosion. we went from a small guild to one with hundreds of people in it. The small guild we established now is one of the larger ones on our side on our server. Now that we have all these people, and of course they want to all raid. They all enjoy that we are laid back in our runs, and that we look towards the player and not just gear and what numbers they throw out.

So now that my wife is now deployed again, and once again the guild is put on my shoulders, I don't want it. I know that she would kill me if I turned the guild over to anyone else, but I am not having fun in the game anymore. I have a group of officers that are trying to help, but it isn't enough. I am constantly bombarded by the shear numbers of people we have. I don't have time to play the game that I enjoyed all those years ago.

I am feeling that if I leave the guild in someone else's hands, my wife will never forgive me for it. But if I stay, I think I will have a stroke from all the anxiety that this guild is putting on my shoulders. The only time when I get a little enjoyment is when I get on another toon far away from the guild, but that only last so long since all the officers have me on real id. We front the money for the vent server, for our own custom website I coded, and for any thing else the guild needs. Hell, I even get phone calls when I am not on if something is wrong in the guild. I don't go a day without being drug in to the game for some problem.

Am I so wrong for wanting to leave the game at this point? Am I just cracking under the pressure? I don't know what I should do, quit the game, or just be a sounding board for the next 3 months until my wife comes home and hand her the mess?

Confused with a huge headache

Drama Mama Lisa: Confused, we can cure this headache of yours! I have two prescriptions for what ails you today. Both formulations can be a bitter bite to swallow, but the relief you'll get for your symptoms is immediate and long-lasting.

First off, it's time to admit that you no longer have the bandwidth to fill in during your wife's deployments, you don't enjoy leading a larger, actively raiding guild, and you want out. Nothing wrong with these feelings -- so let them all out! Sometimes you're just burned out and need a break. Sometimes you're actually done with the game. Sometimes you enjoy contributing, but you simply can't keep up the pace you feel the guild needs.

While you undoubtedly do need to zero in on the particular cause of your crisis (at least for your own sanity), the first pill for your ailments is letting go of the belief that you can keep whipping yourself through this situation. Wanting to want something that someone else wants isn't enough. It would be wonderful if leading this guild in your wife's absence were reasonably doable for you, but circumstances have changed since you two created the guild. Solo leadership (even temporary!) of what the guild has become today is simply way outside the bounds of what your life has space for right now.

There's no sense struggling against what's obvious; you need to be come to grips with the fact that this is no longer something you are able to or want to keep up with. Imagine being out from under this leadership burden; how would that change the way you enjoy WoW? Figure out what you want to do with yourself first, so you have some sense of what direction to go from here.

This leads us to the second bitter pill you need to swallow today: coming clean with your wife. I'm hoping you have opportunities to contact her regularly. Either way, you have both personal and organizational reasons to make her the first person you tell about your decision to step back from leadership. Your feelings and decisions may very well bring out second thoughts of her own. Either way, you'll want to come up a new game plan for your WoW lives that suits both of you. You won't be able to figure this out, of course, without her -- so make communicating with her a priority. You may have to hang in there in the hot seat for a while longer (more on how to handle that below, from Robin) while you get in touch and work things out, but at least you'll know there's an end in sight!

Know that this kind of change over time is far from unique, Confused, and that happy WoW couples do go on to lead happy WoW lives after rerouting their energies to fit their current lifestyles. Keep your eye on what's fun, and work through the details responsibly (don't forget to take a peek at those articles I linked above). Happy transitions!

Drama Mama Robin: Confused, I don't know how understanding your wife is going to be. Her deployment is at worst a horrific place under horrific conditions, and at best a long time away from friends and family in a place where she has very little leisure time. She may very well think that the least you can do is watch her needy flock while she's gone without bothering her about it during your rare communication times (if they exist at all).

So while I agree with Lisa that you shouldn't be guild leader during your wife's next deployment, I do not agree that you should bother your wife with your issues during this one. But that doesn't mean you can't use your current status as guild leader to alleviate some of your problems.
  • No phone calls. Put your foot down about this. Whatever is happening in the guild, no matter how bad, it is not so much of an emergency that it requires a phone call. Why are people calling you? If they don't have access to do something required, like demoting someone who has been hacked, then make sure some officers have this ability. State clearly to whoever has access to your phone number that it is not to be used for guild purposes, period. And don't give it to anyone (else) who you only know through the guild.
  • Delegate more responsibility to your officers. Scott has an excellent article about delegating within a guild (this is turning into a "Best of Officers' Quarters" list!). Your officers can do a lot to help alleviate much of the stress in your situation. Share the work, and many of your issues will go away. If part of your problem is a lack of officers, Officers' Quarters can help you find the guild officers you need, too.
  • Cultivate a replacement. The best way to get out of your current situation -- whether you seek promotion at work, don't want to be the family BBQ cook anymore, or no longer wish to be replacement guild leader -- is to find and train a suitable replacement. I know it's nice to think that you are irreplaceable, but that is the surest way to get stuck doing something you don't want to keep doing. I don't know if your brother is a good candidate or one of your officers, but if one of them is willing to take your place, use this time while your wife is deployed to train your successor. Don't make any promises, however; you still need to clear this with the real guild leader -- your wife.
Doing these things will help you immediately and provide you with a packaged solution to present to your wife when she returns. It's always better to suggest an alternative rather than just saying, "I don't wanna anymore." This way you've got it all taken care of when she gets back, and it will really help to keep her perception of the situation positive.

I hope your family remains safe and happy through all of this.

Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with a little help and insight from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at robin@wowinsider.com.
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