Article: Employers not hiring WoWers, other gamers?

January 5, 2009

I found a link to a very interesting article on the social news website Digg.com today.

The article talks about a conversation (not an interview) had with a job recruiter over lunch, where blogger “Tale” off-handedly mentions he previously spent a lot of time playing MMOs, to which the recruiter responded that “employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players” (source). Keep in mind, however, that this conversation took place in Australia. Also keep in mind that this just what one person said in a conversation over lunch.

The Digg.com link is found here. The article is found here on Tumeroks.com. The actual forum post where the story on Tumeroks came from can be found here.

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What do you think?

I have mixed feelings.

I can understand where someone uninformed about WoW, or any other MMO(RPG) for that matter, would be coming from. There is certainly a lot of negative news out and about on what we all consider our favorite past-time. From kids being hospitalized from playing too long, to people trying to lure kids through MMOs, to our supposed “addiciton” to the game… the list goes on. The media thinks all games are bad, and if you don’t have some point of personal reference, you will probably believe what you see and hear on the news.

But what I can understand is that any person with any sort of extreme addiction, whether it be gaming, sex, drugs, or collecting garden gnomes, would probably not be a good employee due to their distraction and desire only to take care of feeding their addiction. Now I haven’t done studies, and I’m not great with numbers in general, but I am sure that the percentage of WoW gamers who fall into what I call extreme addiction is a very, very small percentage of us 11.5 million WoWers. But the actions of what just a few extreme individuals do should not reflect upon millions of people.

I feel that WoW is capable of teaching many different things that are useful in the work place.

The call it “World” of Warcraft for a reason. Much of the game and it’s systems are modeled after a real world. There is trade and an economy, including a very vast currency and banking system. There are “foreign relations” to deal with. There are certain roles to fill, with much learning and research along the way. There are social interactions, and social pressure to deal with. And one of the most basic, but most important, is just simple problem solving skills.

Through the banking and currency systems, you learn how to make money and how to save up for important items, like a car. With the vast trade and Auction House systems you learn the value of items, and how to interact with merchants. With “foreign relations” you learn about different feuds going on in the world and how to deal with the opposing faction.

You learn how to interact with your guildmates, which is a lot like interacting with coworkers. You learn the importance of different roles, with everyone from the coffee go -getter to the CEO, and how everyone has a place and has to work together to get the overall goal accomplished.

And no matter what class you pick or what level you are, you are constantly dealing with problem solving. Every quest is a problem to solve. Every instance and raid is a problem to solve. The more you do, and the higher level you become, the better your problem solving skills are. Whether it is getting 20 talbuk hooves or making 20 copies for your boss, its a quest, and there are rewards and reputation to be gained.

Not to mention other things which have less to do with game mechanics. Things like, a lot of us know a lot about computers. We are good with sitting in front of screens all day. We know how to type, somewhat, and how to use a mouse.  These are very basic skills that a lot of business need these days, however small it may seem to us.

Personally, WoW has not negatively impacted me at work. WoW has made me learn more about computers in general, which has helped me quite a few times at work with trouble shooting problems on our computers. (We do have a “computer guy”, but he is only in once a week.) I also work in a place where technology in general is very important to the advancement of my current workplace, and the industry as a whole. Gaming has had a bit of a spot-light on it in my industry lately.

Now, where do I work? Saying all the things I just said, you might be surprised to hear the answer. I work in a library. (Please get the “sexy librarian” image out of your head… I don’t have my MLS.) While Libraries and Gaming deserve its own blog post, or posts (plural), or possibly its own blog altogether, I must say this.

Many Libraries across the country (and possibly other countries?) have begun to do many things having to do with gaming. Some are loaning out video games. Some have purchased Wiis to have gaming nights for both young and old alike. Some host gaming tournaments. I may have little to do with gaming at my job currently, but as my small town Library plans to expand in the coming year, also comes the chance to add Video Games, or maybe just a Wii, to our ever expanding catalog of books, movies, and music we already own. If that is to happen, I certainly feel that I would be a big and very important resource.

And yes, my boss knows I play WoW.

What are your thoughts on this article linked above, and all the things it leads you on to start thinking about. I certainly spouted more than my fair share above.

One comment

  1. I’m of two minds about this topic.

    On the one hand, I know people that play WoW to their own detriment; whether it be work, family, personal life, or whatever.

    On the other hand, WoW is a release for many people and a way to spend time. Is it really any worse than someone who goes home and vegges in front of the TV?

    I think it’d be a mistake for an employer to make a generalization that all WoW players make for bad employees. The interview gives you the information you need to know whether or not you’ve got a potential problem regardless of whether the candidate plays WoW or not.

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