By Karl Kapp
What do video games and career development have in common?
If you are anything like I was growing up, you were told that video games were a waste of time and utterly unproductive. Well fast forward to me being an adult and I can tell you that playing video games and working on your career have a great deal in common.
First, really good, well designed video games are about problem solving. The game puts you in a situation where you are confronted with a problem that has multiple solutions. Some better than others, often one obviously wrong, but the vast majority are equally as good or bad. Your career is going to be filled with many decisions that are the same. One clearly bad option and then a bunch of good, feasible options that you must consider. The process of looking at options, weighing pros and cons and then deciding and observing the consequences objectively are all skills learned during video game play that should be applied to the systematic evaluation and examination of your career decisions. Next time you play a video game consider how you make decisions, write it down and see if you can generalize the same technique to career decisions, I bet you can.
The next thing video games can teach us is that finding the “enemy” or the opponent is a good thing, not a bad thing. If, while playing a video game, I am uncertain about what to do next or where to go, I look for those bad characters and know that’s the right direction. If you encounter obstacles and resistance in your career journey, that just might be a sign that you’ve hit onto something interesting, provocative, different and exciting.
When I first started studying and writing about the convergence of games and the field of learning and development I met a great deal of resistance from many different directions but I stuck with it and have made a career on studying, applying and developing games that help others learn. Look for places of resistance and move forward—now don’t be blinded by where you want to go so that you don’t go off in a direction that is unproductive, be smart but be persistent. One way to ensure you are going in the right direction is to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the field.
You can do that by joining, along with your team, the Learning & Development Mentor Academy. It provide you the knowledge to convert your experience playing video games into career success and provide a bunch of other benefits as well.