Archive for February, 2010

What time is it? And, Computer Games: Career Boosting?

February 8, 2010

Groundhog’s day has passed, but that doesn’t alleviate the feeling that I’m doing the same thing day after day, week over week, year over year. When I say that, I am primarily thinking about my working life, but the same could be said for PC – I am still waiting!

Life called, but I got put on hold

I often funnel my longing for PC into a soothing daydream at work. Today while I was PC daydreaming, I noticed it was 4:06 p.m. Since I work 7:30-4:30, 4:06 means I am almost free of the corporate shackles. It’s an optimistic time of day. Maybe you fantasize about what you’re going to do after work or what you’ll eat for dinner. Basically, it’s one of the best times of the work day! That got me thinking, why don’t I just convert my epic PC wait into a time somewhere between my 7:30 to 4:30 tour? That would offer a fun, if ever nerdy, perspective.

So here’s how it worked out (I actually calculated my time in the full time world until my nomination date, so it includes some time that I wasn’t actually waiting on PC):
-I started work on June 16th, 2008
-It is currently February 8th, 2010
-I hope to resign by June 16th 2010

So obviously we are dealing with 24 months. I have worked about 19.5 months. So I am about 81% to my goal of 24 months.

That means it’s about 3:00 p.m.

It’s an interesting take because I really do feel the same about my career window at AT&T as I would about it being 3:00 on a normal work day: excited to get it over with, but also aware, maybe a little too aware, that the last hour and a half is going to drag.

In other news, I have been playing a computer game called Company of Heroes a lot. It’s an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game in which you control soldiers and tanks in a WW2 setting.

Normally, I dismiss most of my video game playing as purely entertainment (perhaps I have picked up a few applicable skills over the years, but probably not that many). However, the manner in which I am playing this game makes me think about it a bit differently.

There are two keys here:
1. I am playing as a member of a team.
2. I suck at RTS games.

The team includes one of my best real-life friends (Lt. Jared Walsh), an acquaintance who I am quickly becoming friends with (Jason Frye), and a stranger who is also becoming a friend (Jason’s girlfriend Tayla). The dynamic is pretty interesting. Jared and I are located in St. Louis, about 8 miles apart. Jason and Tayla live in New York. We use Skype conference calls to communicate during the games. The game takes planning and cooperation, as well as good execution and the ability to change strategies fluidly. In other words, it’s just like any other team activity. And team activities prepare you for the workforce.

I also feel the game is forcing me to sharpen some of my duller blades. Multitasking is a crucial component of the game. I am definitely a single tasker. Some argue that there is no such thing as multitasking, and I partially agree. There is no way to completely focus on two tasks simultaneously. But some people are much better at juggling multiple priorities at once. I never had trouble balancing my courses in college, or finagling my way through high school with school, soccer, and band, but I do struggle when forced to make a succession of quick, seemingly unrelated choices. The challenging part of the game is that it presents both macro and micro decisions at the same time. I can micromanage one unit or macromanage the entire army, but doing both is daunting!

Jared is the best player, so it’s fun to play with him and learn from him. He is always doing at least 2 or 3 things at once in the game, which amazes me. But then when I look at his life, the surprise fades, as I realize he juggles law school, Marine Corps, family, friends, and more on a daily basis!

Okay, back to the grind.