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…

WHAT ARE MY STATS?
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.

WHO’s IN MY PARTY?
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.

WHICH GAME?
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.

LESSON:
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.

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