For the past few months, I’ve felt a growing level of dissatisfaction with my current line of employment.  Don’t get me wrong; there are aspects of the work that are incredible – I have a lot of freedom to choose which clients I would like to work with and which simply don’t align with my values, earn a decent paycheck, and take vacations whenever I please.  But I’ve begun to feel disinterest brewing, and a strong desire to change; it’s at the point that I’ll find myself depressed after a day of work, or criticizing my own abilities on account of my unhappiness.  The problem was – when it began – that I had no idea what I would like more, or how to get into that once I figured it out.  But being a methodical person by nature, I decided to open yet another spreadsheet and start figuring out where my life-stats had been allocated…

I began by dissecting the regular tasks I have to do for my work and categorize each aspect of the task into “inspired” or “exhausted,” based on how just thinking about doing it left me feeling.  Agenda Discussions = Inspired, Volunteer Management = Bored, Marketing Copy Writing = Bored, Designing & Setting up the Hotel = Inspired, etc.  I did this with hobbies I enjoy as well: for example, costume making.  Planning the Costume = Inspired, Small Repetitive Tasks (Sewing, Gluing on Sequence) = Bored, Painting Designs = Inspired.  I don’t like tasks that get too repetitive too fast.  I like to be intellectually stimulated, forced to think outside a box, but don’t do well with problems that are going to have only one solution.  Clearly I knew I hadn’t been given much in Strength or Dexterity, had more than average in Intelligence, and dominated in Charisma.  Clearly I’d probably be the Paladin or Druid, in most groups.  I require a career that challenges me with intellectual situations, allows me to communicate with a variety of types of people, lets me think on my feet, and gives me control over my surroundings and situations.

I also thought seriously about the type of people I preferred to do business with (creative, laid-back, willing to hand over control, flexible, communicative), and the kind of groups I function best in (3 – 4 for brainstorming, but work on specific tasks alone.)  I thought about how I preferred my day to be structured, how much guidance I required on projects, and how well I took said guidance.   I need a close-knit team with a variety of skills and perspectives; I don’t want to have to work or compete with someone with a similar skill-set to myself, but I want to be able to have people around me whom I can rely on to support my weaknesses.

While this helped me better understand the type of work I feel I would enjoy, it did not help me discover an industry.  To do this, I listed things I enjoy: Video Games, Mobile Games, Science Fiction, Costumes, Fairy Tales, Comic Books…starting to see a trend?  I love things that allow me to view the world from a new perspective, or create a new world entirely.  I would love to be able to do this for others, with a team of equally talented and passionate individuals.

From their, it became relatively simple: video game design!  I knew it would involve products I’d enjoy, inter-personal challenges, intellectual stimulation, and creative freedom – if I found the right company.

Of course, become a video game designer is one of those jobs – like become a pop singer, a movie director, a company founder – that everyone wishes they could be.  It takes a lot of talent, a bit of training, and an unimaginable amount of luck.  We’ll see where the quest takes me, but at least now I’ve got a path, albeit with many branches, but you won’t get anywhere just staring out the window, afraid of the dark.

Before you leap into something new, think about it.  Think about why you want a change, what needs to change, how it should change, and more.  If you enter a dark cave without even the smallest light, you’re bound to get lost and end up somewhere as bad – or worse – than you are now.