Whaaat?? Being a GM and raid leader can land you a RL job in business?

Kyjenn linked me this article in Forbes titled "7 Ways World of Warcraft Builds Better Leaders".  It was an interesting read, but you have to remember that it's not just talking about any old WoW player, but those who are raid leaders and GMs.  The article is articulate, and the 7 points were also well tied in to real life situations, but I thought I'd add my thoughts to the mix.
  1. Virtual teams and Seamless Collaboration
    Think of a board meeting with members all over the world/country.  Sounds like your typical raid team.  And they're all working together to achieve the same goal.
  2. Digital Communication Channels
    Conference calls are so last decade.  Skype/Ventrilo'Mumble - every company should use them IMO.  And if you can talk and type whilst dishing out orders, aren't you just the little Gen Y genius!
  3. Creating a successful team
    A great team has specialists in it, all with a specific task.  Healers. Tanks. DPS with specific jobs (though that pretty much seems to hunters for EVERYTHING lately). A raid leader/GM needs to fill the team with appropriate members for the task and juggle the abilities of those available to be able to fill those roles.  So... I guess that means since I tend to fill a raid with melee and have 3 druid healers, my team building could use some improvement...
  4. Motivating volunteers
    I think one of the biggest motivations of raid members is that everyone wants the same goals and that we will all share in the spoils and the glory.  Volunteers seems like an odd word to use here.  Every raid member is a recruit!
  5. Taking risks and continuous improvement
    Trying new strats for a raid boss is one way to look at how people tackle a problem. Trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn't is a great learning experience for all members in a team.  Not sure how many times you can wipe and reset an encounter if you stuff up a major business deal though...
  6. Poise under Pressure
    If you can be a good raid leader and not go screaming -50DKP at your raid members then I think that's always a plus. People love those who can keep their heads cool under pressure. However I am unsure how this translates into RL though - how would anyone know that you are a calm and collected leader just because you say so on your job application?
  7. Visibility and Accountability
    This is important in all team things that have rewards and the rewards are distributed. As long as when you're leading you let everyone know beforehand how loot is going to be handled and everyone understands how it works, then it should be better.  Those raid teams that have secret officer/raid leader business that ends up with them taking all the loots tend to do poorly and that translates the same over into RL situations as well.
I think that it's all very well and good, and I can see the advantages that being a successful guild and raid leader would infer upon you, but how does one establish that in a job interview? I think that it would be more useful to say that the skills you acquire from raiding may actually be able to help you in the future if your job requires a lot of teamwork and you are going to be in a leadership role.  But to actually put that on your CV?  Well, to be honest, if you note that in your hobbies/interests that you are a computer game player then I will notice your CV and probably ask you about it, but it doesn't mean that I think that you're a great leader because you say you are a raid leader or GM.  I suppose if I ask about how to deal with certain situations and analogies are drawn between their in game experiences and translated to the real world (with ideas that WORK of course), then I can see how game playing enhanced their abilities to perform in a RL job.

John Seely Brown, said that he'd hire an expert player in WoW over an MBA from Harvard.  Sounds outrageous?  Well it certainly does to me.
When we look in to the social structures and the knowledge capability, refining and generation capabilities of these guild structures, there is something going on here. These are not just self-organizing groups. Basically every high-end guild has a constitution. The leaders of these guilds also have to do dispute adjudication all the time. They also have to be willing to say, “Let’s measure ourselves.” These guilds are truly meritocracy-based. And so even if you are the leader of this particular high-end raid, at the end you do an after-action review, and the after-action review each person is open to total criticism by everybody else. You can replay the whole thing because basically its all computer-meditated so it can be captured.
Trying new ideas, reworking it until it works, then measuring your performance against others by looking at meters that are open for everyone to peruse and critique - sounds great on paper and hihg end WoW playing does help you but I hope that people don't get the wrong idea and think that just because you play WoW you will be good at teamwork, or that you need to play WoW to get ahead in a business job.

The more practical thing I would be interested in is HOW to use your leadership skills in a game like WoW and turn it to your advantage in an interview.  Merely stating it is not enough - the context for the discussion is not going to arise (unless it's a long interview).  But here is a small tip where you could bring it up.

When your get asked about your strengths and weaknesses then you could mention that you have a penchant for competitive computer game playing.  The strengths of that is that you are good at virtual team building and coordinating large groups to function in individual roles to secure a known outcome.

In the medical field, computer game playing probably doesn't help you much in terms of securing a job, but if people in business think it does?  Well, you will just have to play your cards right to use it to your advantage.


  1. I don't dispute the leadership qualities found in GMs and raid leaders --or really, anyone who can handle the herding of cats that is guild membership-- but from my experience this is kind of delicate territory to tread on.

    I work in IT, and I can say without equivocation that geeks are still a minority within IT itself. I attribute that to the MBA attitude --the Masters of Business Administration-- that has infiltrated the IT ranks. Since "big money" can be made from IT, MBAs have started moving in and taking their "let's go make deals over golf" and "let's look at people as numbers" along for the ride. If I talked up WoW or even Star Wars (not The Old Republic, but regular old Star Wars) before a meeting, I'd get some pretty odd looks. But golf? Or baseball? Or football (US variety)? That's perfectly fine.

    Methinks we've still got a ways to go before people would be fine with WoW as a reference.

    1. I agree, Redbeard. This is not mainstream stuff and it probably never will be, but I agree that there can be life lessons learnt when you deal in "management" in the World of Warcraft game itself.

  2. Practical experience vs paper experience, that is what it comes down to.

    Where I work I got hired because I had experience in business as I owned my own business before I started. There were other applicants that had degrees coming out of their butts. Their education compared to mine I might as well have dropped out while still in 3rd grade. But I got the job because I already knew what I was doing. As the person interviewing me said, I already know how to handle people, handle multiple tasks, and basically handle business, all the other applicants only learned it from a book. They would not be taking a chance on me knowing what to do but they would be taking a chance on them and they need someone that can do the job, not someone that "might" be able to do the job. So I got hired over the others with the ivy league educations.

    Now, as the person who makes those decisions I hire based on the same criteria. You could have gone to the best colleges in the world, got degrees wallpapering your wall, but it means absolutely nothing. I want someone I know can do the job, not someone who has a piece of paper that says they might be able to. Anyone can read some books and pass a class, not everyone can actually put that knowledge to use.

    So, with that said, I can absolutely understand why being a guild master and or raid leader in warcraft can be a huge plus on a resume but I would suggest against putting it on one, ever.

    The reason for that is if you run into someone like me I will see it for what it is, as you mentioned above, and it would be a huge plus. But if the president of my company, the only one above me, interviews you, he will see that on the resume and before even asking you one single question he will say thank you for coming but he is not interested. He never played games of the type and knows nothing about what is involved with them so it would seem like a joke to him. He would probably make fun of you at the country club that night too and you would be the butt of jokes for years to come.

    If during an interview gaming comes up and the person interviewing you seems receptive to gaming, then you can mentioned it. Otherwise I'd suggest not bringing it up. More often than not it can hurt your application instead of helping it.

    1. If I'd a conspiratorial turn of mind, I'd even suggest that the Forbes article was designed to get people to put things on their resume that could be easily filtered out, such as Warcraft, or MMO.

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