World of Warcraft skills in the workplace


WoW players usually spend a large amount of their leisure time in game. It's a shame that so much of what we do in Azeroth doesn't translate well on Earth. I spend a few hours a week farming herbs while digging for artifacts. If I were writing a performance review for myself (I can't stand those), how could I list that? Ability to perform tedious tasks patiently. I don't think my supervisor would be impressed.

But most people agree that quite a few skills we acquire and hone in WoW are useful into the workplace. Recently, Neri at Neri Approves! blogged about how being a guild master helps her outside of the game. Warcraft Street's Frinka tackled the same topic, but her angle is gold earning.

What WoW skills?

Neri lists conflict resolution, time management, and communication as what she's gained as a guild master. Decision making, market philosophy, and professional values are skills possible to be gleaned from gold earning, according to Frinka. Scott wrote about many guild leading skills that would look good on a resumé in Officers' Quarters a few years ago. I have some favorite things that I've learned:

  • Time management Learning how to consistently juggle what you need to do outside of Azeroth with what you want to do in game is something that can be learned from your early teens. That skill will help at college, at work, and in relationships. I have always recommended that parents use WoW to teach their kids time management skills. You miss a valuable teaching opportunity when you outlaw video games in your child's life.

  • Leadership You learn how to lead when heading up a guild, raid, or even just a 5-man group. You need to be able to motivate people, praise or reprimand as needed and have the knowledge to back it all up. These skills are useful everywhere.

  • Drama avoidance When Lisa and I give our Drama Mamas advice, we are not meting out justice; we can't without knowing all sides of the situation. It's not the Mama Judges column. Avoiding drama often means swallowing an injustice in order to keep things smooth with coworkers and supervisors. Privately attempting to resolve conflicts and to right wrongs is something I don't think comes naturally. (It certainly didn't with me.) The same techniques for keeping drama out of your in-game life apply to the physical world -- and vice versa.

Should I put my WoW playing on a resumé?

No. WoW shouldn't be mentioned anywhere on a cover letter or resumé. Neither should you list your many achievements -- no matter how difficult they were to get. You want to get a better position at your current job? Don't include anything that implies how much time you spend playing video games.

I am awesome

But definitely list the skills listed above. If you've got them, flaunt them. When job searching, you are selling yourself. And whether you learned useful abilities from previous jobs, school, team sports, or leading raids, they need to be part of your sales pitch. But you need to state them in a language employers understand. Keep MMO lingo out of your cover letter and your interview.

Of course, you never want to lie. If prospective employers want to know why you have three years of leadership experience when your previous employment record shows nothing of the kind, go ahead and mention that it's from leading an online organization of however many people. What online organization? Now it's time to mention World of Warcraft. They'll have heard of it -- for good or bad. Non-gamers don't know what an MMO is, and explaining it is time-consuming. Time is precious in an interview, so you want to stay on target.

Just a cog

My two previous jobs were in quality assurance at game companies; playing most games helped my testing skills. Before that, however, playing an MMO (EverQuest) didn't help my work at all. I wasn't a guild or raid leader, nor was I a bazaar entrepreneur. I was a happy cog: I raided, grouped, and camped. Social skills, I guess I built social skills. But that's pretty much it. Otherwise, I lost sleep and procrastinated in order to play. My EQ experience didn't even really help when applying as a game tester. I listed it in the games played, but since neither company had any intention of making an MMO at the time, it wasn't as important as, say, Might and Magic. So I can't say I have any personal experience with my massively multiplaying time helping me get or keep a job -- well, other than this one.

You've got altitis. You collect mats so that you can level professions on your many characters. 85s? You've got plenty. But you don't lead anything or muck about on the AH much. Your responsibilities in the physical world allow you to play long and often. Are you wasting your time?

No. Leisure is an important part of life. It relieves stress and rewards you for being responsible. So don't feel bad if you don't think you've acquired any skills you can use elsewhere. Fun is good.

Other opinions

Guest writer Aiden got a job putting guild leading experience on his resume, even though he had to own up to getting it from World of Warcraft in the interview. Jasmine, another guest poster, didn't think listing skills acquired in game on a resumé was a good idea, though she wished she could. IBM conducted a study about MMO players and came to the conclusion that what you learn in game translates well into the workplace.

Do you use your in-game skills at your job? Did you mention any of them on your resumé or when trying to move up? What Azerothian activities would you recommend for those trying to learn things that are useful in the workplace?