When it's Time to Leave
As we continue to take our look at the intersections of gaming and white-collar professionalism, I want to take the time to address an important concept in both: When to stop. Both activities have a core similarity. Namely, we do them to enhance our lives. We go to work every day so we can afford to live, which is arguably the most important enhancement of all. We go to our weekly gaming sessions to bring ourselves enjoyment. It stands to reason that we should stop either activity when it ceases to perform its function. But it’s not always that simple, is it? Both our professional lives and our gaming lives are subjects that we can be defensive about.
Let’s take a moment to add some perspective to this conversation. For a moment, let’s play pretend. Pretend that you’ve been a loyal customer of Acme Grocery for the past three years. Every week you go to AG to do your grocery shopping because they’ve had great, low prices and the freshest produce. You could go to Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s, or some other chain but Acme has been serving your needs. Then, one day, you have a bad experience: the point of sale system won’t accept your credit card.
That’s probably not enough to keep you from returning next week to try again, right? But what if they raised their prices? Or every week for a month running you get fresh produce on Sunday and by Wednesday it’s wilted and bad?
By now, you’re probably thinking it’s time to find another store, right? The one you were visiting is no longer meeting your needs.
Why would work, or our gaming, be any different than this? When they stop fulfilling our needs, we need to look elsewhere.
For gamers, whether it’s online video games or some form of tabletop, it’s important to recognize why we game. We do it for fun. We do it to relieve stress. We do it to connect and bond with other humans of similar interests to our own. There comes a time, though, when we end up in an angsty group of fellow players. Like an abusive relationship, we come back to the table (or log back in to the game) every week thinking something will change. Surely Joey will have a better day today and won’t spend the whole session griping about the something, right? Maybe Janice won’t be there; she only ever tells everyone how much better she is than the rest of us.
Whatever your flavor of negativity is, you need to learn to recognize when it’s no longer providing benefit to you. Change the habit, confront the negativity, or otherwise remove yourself from the situation.
It’s not as easy to just leave a job behind; I wouldn’t pretend otherwise.
There are many reasons that we might need to leave our current job behind. It could stop providing the benefits or pay that’s required to support us or our families. It could end due to circumstances not within our control.
Just like with the gaming session mentioned before, when our jobs stop providing for what we go to them for, we need to confront the malfunction or leave the environment.
Plan your exit, in either environment. Take the time to try to work through the issue. If it doesn’t work and you’re still going home grumbling every time? Then start to make inquiries into a new group/job. Start putting yourself out there to find new work/entertainment. Don’t burn bridges when you leave, keep in touch with those that supported you, and don’t leave anyone in the lurch.
But above all else: keep yourself healthy and sane. Do not let the negativity get to you.