Here is the story of how I got my current job.
I am a reformed WoW player, but not before I was part of the Warlord Grind (in vanilla WoW). I was a sad man with little life. My typical day looked something like:
We had a system for farming honor. It was an insane grind. I believe in gamification because I have seen myself fall victim to its charms, but that’s for another post.
The Conversation that Started it All
One night we had a presentation at school. I stayed late after the presentation. When Tchyk logged in late that night. One of the other characters, Xelor started the conversation with:
Xelor Why are you on so late?
Tchyk I was doing a presentation on
commercialization of technology [insert boring business topic I can't remember].
Xelor My company, Mintek could use some help with that
Chris [quickly googles mintek]
Tchyk Umm, you guys are in Dunedin? I’m going to USF.
Xelor Yeah, I live in Oldsmar.
Tchyk I live in Palm Harbor.
Xelor We should have lunch.
Seriously what are the odds that someone I play 20-40 hours a week ends up living 10 minutes away?
Nice Guy or Asshole?
Now my potential future boss didn’t really know much about me other than I was driven (as evidenced by having a full time job, going to grad school for 2 degrees, and doing the Warlord grind) – but he took a shot and hired me on as a consultant.
He took me around the office when I first got there. He introduced me to 5 different people as Tchyk (not my real name). Turns out I played with most of the techies at the company and didn’t know it. One guy said to me, “[Xelor] told me he was bringing [Tchyk] in and I thought – that guy could be a serial axe murderer.”
Tchyk was both the best and worst of my personality. It was me screaming in a microphone at 39 other players trying to organize and demolish the competition in Alterac Valley. I was a mediocre player at best. But, I had a knack for the strategy, a loud voice, a little bit of credibility on the server, & the capacity to organize the queueing before cross-server battlegrounds (a pain).
At one point we even had people from 2-3 other servers on our vent server. We had them script a macro that said something along the lines of “Its the Lightning’s Blade Organized AV!!!! Do what the leader says.” All I did during the event was press a combination of different macros to tell people what to do. The people who were in Vent would receive an earful.
Why Hire a Screaming Lunatic Axe Murderer?
I like to think it was because we won a lot. In reality, it was because I was a nerd who played with other nerds and it was a chance conversation that led to a lunch meeting. During that lunch meeting, we talked strategy and I proved that I really wasn’t just a pimply faced video game nerd.
World of Warcraft Was My Hobby. Your Hobby Can Get You A Job Too.
How do I know this? One of my best friends was a tennis coach after graduating with his Masters in Economics. He got his first professional job from… one of his tennis clients. His first job: M&A consulting.
Nerd gets job by doing nerd things and talking to other nerds. Treat every networking opportunity (not just professional) as a networking opportunity.
It was great getting to know the real people at Mintek behind the characters on WoW:
Xelor – Jerimi Ford, CTO
Woohaa – Jason Pappolla, Network Administrator
Nadaj – Bruce Knapp, Mobile Developer
Druiden – Fred Johnson, Senior Developer
Dekz – Jacob Lafond, Tech Support
Nukk – Richie Kriever, Tech Support
I had to ask these guys what their characters names were. One guy said, “Are we starting again?” I swear he sounded like he missed it. I can’t imagine playing it or anything like it again.
I was inspired to write this story by seeing this article about someone running for office being crucified for what they said in WoW. I guess I should just go ahead and apologize to anyone I screamed at too much.