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What Is This Place?

Boss Level is a place where workforce newbies can receive and share helpful information on navigating the most epic quest that life gives you: your career.  I will be discussing different passages in my book Boss Level: How to Hack Your Way to the Top of Your Career to offer support to all who may need a little encouragement to carry on in your chosen career field. I offer up for your consideration a correlation between the stages in your career journey and the stages commonly found in MMORPGs. Here they are: Stage One: Hometown; Stage Two: Soloing; Stage Three: Grinding; Stage Four: Dungeon Running; Stage Five: Raiding; Stage Six: Arenas.

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(Link to book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1544079974)

You see, I love games. Board games, pencil and paper games, outdoor games, carnival games, you name it, if there is a challenging objective, I want to see if I can beat it. But there has been one type of game that has been the hallmark of the last 35 years: video games. Ever since I received my first Atari way back in 1978, I was hooked. I had to challenge myself to beat the bosses, find the Easter eggs, and discover the secrets. I remember finding out about the game ADVENTURE, and if you used the bridge in the right place inside the black castle, you would find the first ever Easter egg – a little gray dot that allowed passage into a secret room. I was mesmerized when I was able to pass the boundary and see the name of the creator of the game in chromatic letters: Warren Robinett. From there it was conquering Pitfall and then on to Intellivision, Nintendo, and PC games. Enter 1999 and EverQuest – the game that changed everything. Here, you could actually BE a character in the game yourself. On top of that, you could meet up with your friends, chat, and conquer bosses (or wipe) all in the name of fun. But the game that perfected the MMORPG genre for me, was, and always will be, World of Warcraft. Now I know that VR is here and will be the next evolutionary change in gaming, but let’s just say that venue will be for the next generation to write about.

It hit me one day, while the ingredients of story structure, Campbell’s hero’s journey, Maslow’s human motivational needs, and leveling up my orc warrior were all swirling around in my brain, that getting from level 1 to level 70 (that was the level cap at the time,) was exactly like getting from 1 to 70 IRL. In other words, the journey to level up from n00b to elite was just like the journey we all take to get from newbie in the workforce to a retired expert in our field of industry.  Then, Joseph Campbell’s monomyth came into play, and I could clearly see the entire process unfold before my eyes.  Next, what it means to be human and what motivates us to press on through difficulty to achieve our full potential came into view through Maslow’s work. It was all coalescing.  In all of our lives there is the exposition, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution – the perfect story.  If we only could see that our career life was a story – not a series of juxtaposed events that we have to stumble through, hoping to finally get and keep a good paying job. No, it was a process – a long process with great adventure and epic rewards- if you knew how to play. And having played the game long enough to look into the rear view mirror and see where I have been, and at the same time be close enough to the end to see the beauty of the The Grey Havens in the distance, the vision came upon me to construct an overarching theory for career navigation: the MMRLRPG theory. The Massively Multiplayer Real Life Role-Playing Game theory takes you from n00b to Boss, showing you how to hack your way to the top of your career.

Stay tooned,

J.P.

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