Gaming Your Workday - How Video Games Can Help Your Career

by Staff - Original publish date: January 16, 2012

Growing up in the 1980s provided me a very interesting take on life in the businessworld. Rather than looking at work as dull and pointless, I've learned to view it like a video game. Projects are nothing more than quests. Office supplies are, well, supplies. The key to succeeding in the work place is realizing you have complete control over how you interact with the environment. You simply have to find the right strategy guide and you're on your way to winning!

Look at your work like a video game and you'll master it in no time.

Mario has a suit for every job. When he needs to swim faster or jump higher, he puts on his frog suit. When he needs to deal some extra damage, he puts on his hammer suit(not to be confused with Hammer Pants). When he needs to fly, he dresses like a raccoon. Don't ask me why raccoons can fly in Mario's universe, they just can.

Adhering to a dress code is one of the ways you can fit in as a team. If you're going to work at the bank, you need to dress sharp and look the part. On the other hand, you won’t need a three-piece suit if you're a master carpenter.

Aim to keep your personal dress code slightly above the standard office attire. For example, if you’re working with bankers make sure your button down shirts are clean and pressed, even when polos would be acceptable. Although t-shirts and shorts may be acceptable, it might be a good idea to still wear long pants and a polo. Try not to over-dress, but make it clear you’re putting in the extra effort.

Dress for success is not only a marketing slogan, it's a good piece of advice.

Starting with Zelda, you were given items to use in order to attack certain situations or to solve certain puzzles.

In the real world, you'll come across many tools in order to succeed in your career. Some tools are earned with on-the-job training, while other careers require a degree. That translates into several years of work before that tool can be counted in your arsenal. But once you've obtained it, it will open doors like a key.

Other tools you'll use along the way are given to you by your employer. But it's not enough to simply possess the tool, you have to be able to wield it. After all, if you get a computer but don't know how to use it, then success will be limited. You aren't going to get very far as a customer service representative if you can't look up records on the computer.

Raises, promotions and bonuses don't fall in your lap. You have to work for them.

In the original Mario Brothers games, you had to hit the right brick or take the right pipe in order to find the 1-ups. In the real world they can require the same persistence to locate. Sometimes it requires you to work harder, and if you put in extra effort you'll find those rewards. Other times you just need to work smarter. Put in the time to learn new skills that can make you more efficient at your job.

If you don't put in the additional effort it will show, and you won't find as many extras in your career.

In nearly every role playing game, such as Final Fantasy, the game records a log of all the quests you've taken. Those logs outline what the quest was, what rewards you gained and how much experience was gained from that quest.

In the real world this isn't kept for you. You have to log this yourself. If you keep track of the projects you've worked on---and what you've learned from them---you'll have an easy to use guide every time you go to build a new resume. Remembering what you accomplished during the last month is much easier to remember than trying to recall what you did three years ago.

There's an additional bonus to keeping this information written down, in that you'll have talking points at the end of the year. You can reference specific things you've done for the company at your annual review, which shows you're prepared and you hold yourself accountable for your performance.

When you first start playing Angry Birds, you watch the movie and see the point of the game: pigs stole your eggs and you want revenge.

You play the first level by pulling back on the slingshot and letting the bird fly. Hopefully you'll connect with a pig and make him pop. You just keep pulling back, letting go and hoping you'll pass the level. But that will only take you so far.

After a certain point you have to plan your shots before just going for it. Your career is the same way. When you first start out you just go with whatever job you can find. But after a certain point you aren't going to make it any further without a strategy.

You can get help along the way by networking with people who are doing what you aspire to do. You can ask them what they did to get where they are to help build your own career plans. But the fact is you have to plan, and once you have a plan you need to follow it. Keep your focus on your goals. No matter what roadblocks appear along the path, maintain your determination! With planning, focus and determination you'll get 3-stars in your career too!

Your career isn't a single player game, it is multi-player.

Once you learn the rules you can simply jump in and get to work. And while you can choose to work against others instead of with them, playing it that way just makes the game more difficult.

You have complete control of how you interact with your work day. There are rewards and penalties based on how you perform and how you present yourself. If you always push yourself to be better than you were the day before, that's the real strategy to success.