IT Career the Strategy Game


  • Service Provider

    So I want to make a video game, this thread on not getting a raise has inspired me. The game would have a set number of "moves" based on something like age 16 to 66 giving you fifty moves. In each move you can choose something like "Get a job", "Switch Jobs", "Switch Careers", "Go To School", etc. All pretty basic. It's a little like a board game, strategy game and RPG rolled into one.

    Then you have random factors like which jobs hire you, if the company is doing well, raises, etc. And based on a few things like that you make choices as to how to proceed in your career with the goal being maximum income at the end, a score basically.

    Playing the game would, in theory if done correctly, teach people the value of starting a career earlier rather than later, show the importance of not stagnating in a position and such. Reading threads like that one highlight how much people don't think about their limited career length, career risk, job hunting opportunity windows and such that really, really impact their lives yet seem to be overlooked.

    The OP, for example, thinks that sticking it out long term in a bad job with declining salary rate and a company that is apparently failing or, at least not doing well, is better than getting a better job today (if he finds one.) He is overlooking that every day his value decreases, his financial capability decreases and his risk of being laid off increases. His risk goes up while value goes down. He is most marketable right now and every week gets just a little bit less (other than simply accruing time in the industry.)

    IT people, more than most fields, need to be aware of how this stuff works. I think having a game would make it more obvious when you get into playing the numbers with dice or whatever you tend to think about it more mathematically rather than emotionally as people do with real jobs.



  • !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!



  • @MattSpeller said:

    !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!

    that happened to me once, luckily I was cut in the first wave of the first wave - There was no stress from waiting around, wondering - I went from OK, pretty happy to simply unemployed. I guess I was a lucky one.



  • Too many variables. I myself have been overall more than happy with my career progress so far. I have seen and heard many horror stories, but I myself have had smooth sailing, salary increases, and new higher positions along the way.

    I used to post on SW all the time to help these people out, but most of the time they are a lost cause. If they are too intimidated to stand up for themselves are pursue a career in their early days, then why would they all the sudden change?


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!

    that happened to me once, luckily I was cut in the first wave of the first wave - There was no stress from waiting around, wondering - I went from OK, pretty happy to simply unemployed. I guess I was a lucky one.

    The way that I always play that is simply assuming that the job is already over and job hunting as if I was already done. Best of all options.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Playing the game would, in theory if done correctly, teach people the value of starting a career earlier rather than later, show the importance of not stagnating in a position and such. Reading threads like that one highlight how much people don't think about their limited career length, career risk, job hunting opportunity windows and such that really, really impact their lives yet seem to be overlooked.

    I definitely want to agree with this, but I have to ask - what do you think is the typical top end for a typical IT person? I realize you can't answer this without knowing what region someone is in, what type of IT work they are doing.

    The point of the ask is is there a top? or is that simply a ridiculous notion and you can always find way to make a larger paycheck?



  • @Dashrender said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!

    that happened to me once, luckily I was cut in the first wave of the first wave - There was no stress from waiting around, wondering - I went from OK, pretty happy to simply unemployed. I guess I was a lucky one.

    Me too but I was left watching for 2.5 years before I quit. Would not recommend, there is no way to quantify the effect that stress has on your life. It's misery on a Sisyphean scale.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Playing the game would, in theory if done correctly, teach people the value of starting a career earlier rather than later, show the importance of not stagnating in a position and such. Reading threads like that one highlight how much people don't think about their limited career length, career risk, job hunting opportunity windows and such that really, really impact their lives yet seem to be overlooked.

    I definitely want to agree with this, but I have to ask - what do you think is the typical top end for a typical IT person? I realize you can't answer this without knowing what region someone is in, what type of IT work they are doing.

    The point of the ask is is there a top? or is that simply a ridiculous notion and you can always find way to make a larger paycheck?

    There is a top, but it is pretty high.

    And the point is to HELP the average person, not teach people what average is.

    Are you asking what is the potential top end? Or what is the reasonable potential for the median IT person?


  • Service Provider

    @MattSpeller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!

    that happened to me once, luckily I was cut in the first wave of the first wave - There was no stress from waiting around, wondering - I went from OK, pretty happy to simply unemployed. I guess I was a lucky one.

    Me too but I was left watching for 2.5 years before I quit. Would not recommend, there is no way to quantify the effect that stress has on your life. It's misery on a Sisyphean scale.

    Depends if you are mentally prepared. Treat it right in your mind and you are "already laid off" and there is zero additional stress from the job over the stress of being out of work. But with extra money, extra experience and better prospects of landing a job.



  • I guess the second one.

    I consider myself a slightly above average IT person - I know where I am, I look at positions around me and realize short of moving to another area of the country/world, I'm probably not going to find something that does me this well.

    Could I learn more moving somewhere else, most definitely, but I'd probably take a pay cut to do it.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!

    that happened to me once, luckily I was cut in the first wave of the first wave - There was no stress from waiting around, wondering - I went from OK, pretty happy to simply unemployed. I guess I was a lucky one.

    Me too but I was left watching for 2.5 years before I quit. Would not recommend, there is no way to quantify the effect that stress has on your life. It's misery on a Sisyphean scale.

    Depends if you are mentally prepared. Treat it right in your mind and you are "already laid off" and there is zero additional stress from the job over the stress of being out of work. But with extra money, extra experience and better prospects of landing a job.

    i don't think most people are wired to work that way. Because in that situation, one should be expending all their extra energy on finding a new employer.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @MattSpeller said:

    !!You got hired by ancient failing company that's chock full of staff. Please add 50 stress counters as you watch your coworkers get pink slipped each day. As you watch you know the clock is ticking until they come for you too....!!

    that happened to me once, luckily I was cut in the first wave of the first wave - There was no stress from waiting around, wondering - I went from OK, pretty happy to simply unemployed. I guess I was a lucky one.

    Me too but I was left watching for 2.5 years before I quit. Would not recommend, there is no way to quantify the effect that stress has on your life. It's misery on a Sisyphean scale.

    Depends if you are mentally prepared. Treat it right in your mind and you are "already laid off" and there is zero additional stress from the job over the stress of being out of work. But with extra money, extra experience and better prospects of landing a job.

    i don't think most people are wired to work that way. Because in that situation, one should be expending all their extra energy on finding a new employer.

    Right, that's what they should be doing. All extra energy put into finding a new job. Anything less and you've missed the point.



  • Technically by constantly networking with other IT pros and meeting as many people as I can I am always "job hunting". I was able to take the last IT event I attended to find my current job all while my soon to be new boss was at that same event and turn it into my new job where I just finished my 2nd day. It felt like cheating but it's my life, my money, and my sanity that makes me do it because you never know where your next job will come from. If things get stagnant then a lateral move is ok even if it may be a slight drop in pay just to see whats down the other fork in the road. If there are no other jobs in your market then you can't afford NOT to move into a new market. You also need to keep moving out of your comfort zone and never give up if you want to keep moving up the pay scale and the career ladder. You may be happy and that's great because I will never be. My new goal is to kick ass and keep hungry.

    I like your game idea Scott. Think someone can program it up and add it to Steam?



  • Make sure there are lots of "It's an HR issue" cards in the "Seek Advice" card pile (like community chest in Monopoly).



  • 20 sided dice is needed for this game.
    Add some "Rage Quit" cards somewhere.

    "An end user card is played against you with the WreckIT Ralph^ action card."

    • ^Roll 7 or more to avoid broken equipment.

    Deploy Interrupt card: It's an HR issue^^

    • ^^ Roll a 1 or more to remove 2 stress tokens and collect 1 Jellyfish Token^^^. Then go back to playing FarmVille (Miss a turn).
    • ^^^ Awarded for spineless actions


  • The problem is what is the goal of the game? Everyone has their own goals when it comes to career. Sometimes it's to earn as much as possible, but often times there are many other goals. Even if you say that we all have a goal to satisfy Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs", the definition of those needs will vary from person to person. I'm sure we all know people or are so-called "successful" in their careers, but miserable as sin, and people who are relatively unsuccessful but happy as a pig in ****. I suspect the game would be focussed on your personal idea of what a career should look like, which only works if people similar to you play it.


  • Service Provider

    I agree with the concept that you have, but I wonder how much it matters. What I mean is, what I've at least found personally, is that the pursuit of career success, in any form, tends to result in the same set of things: more money, better work environment, less time tied to the office, better food at work, more freedom, more creativity, more flexibility, more benefits, better lifestyle, etc.

    While this isn't always true, I think that the trend is, and the trend is all the game can reflect. The only things that would not be reflected by the game, I think, are things that are not part of your job like a desire to not bother, a desire to be stagnant, a desire to do less, the desire for stability and for those people, which is a lot of people, they would never want to play the game in the first place because they are already aware that they do not desire to advance their careers.

    But anyone interested in career success, no matter how I think you define it, the manner of doing so and the means are roughly the same. So while money might be the "score" it would reflect all of those other things too, generally.


  • Service Provider

    I'll give an extreme example. A friend of mine refused to do anything but be a factory worker because he "wanted free time at home" and refused to give any of it up in order to "have a career." In doing so, he ended up not only working long days but having to commute as well, for forever. His job would never give him long vacations, short days or work from home. His desire for an extremely short term goal left him with a lifetime of not achieving the very goal he set out to achieve.

    Meanwhile, by the time that we were in our mid-twenties my work life was flexible and by thirty it was short and then became work from home. It's a personal anecdote, but the idea stands. If you look at people in the middle of their IT career versus people in the top senior ranks, those in the top ranks almost never have to come in on their days off, often get to work from home, make more money, have more freedom, get to be more creative, determine their own paths, etc.


  • Service Provider

    But I totally understand the idea that money is not the goal, I'm just thinking of it as a proxy here. The ability to make money would be the goal, not necessarily being paid the most. I've taken many paycuts in exchange for other things, but always tied to career advancement, if that makes sense.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    What I mean is, what I've at least found personally, is that the pursuit of career success, in any form, tends to result in the same set of things: more money, better work environment, less time tied to the office, better food at work, more freedom, more creativity, more flexibility, more benefits, better lifestyle, etc.

    I think most of those things come with seniority. I'm happy being a big fish in a small pond because it gives me near complete freedom to work as I please. If I moved to a bigger company, I'd likely earn more money but have less freedom.


  • Service Provider

    @Carnival-Boy said:

    I think most of those things come with seniority. I'm happy being a big fish in a small pond because it gives me near complete freedom to work as I please. If I moved to a bigger company, I'd likely earn more money but have less freedom.

    Big companies aren't the same as moving up. Yes, seniority brings privilege. But the issue is that so many people do things that don't bring them seniority. That's really what I'm getting at with career advancement. Seniority in terms of being ahead in your career, not just old.



  • I think that whole, seniority doesn't have to work on days off, etc thing really depends on the position. For example, if you're the senior person on a platform, say O365 hosted Exchange - I'm willing to bet that guy gets called in on his vacation when there is a problem that reaches a certain point. Granted you hope that the people below you can handle 99.99% of things, but there is always that 0.01% that bites you.



  • @Carnival-Boy said:

    I'm sure we all know people or are so-called "successful" in their careers, but miserable as sin, and people who are relatively unsuccessful but happy as a pig in ****.

    I'd argue that if you're happy as a pig, then you probably are successful, maybe not as successful as you could be, but still successful. Otherwise, how are you really happy?


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    I think that whole, seniority doesn't have to work on days off, etc thing really depends on the position. For example, if you're the senior person on a platform, say O365 hosted Exchange - I'm willing to bet that guy gets called in on his vacation when there is a problem that reaches a certain point. Granted you hope that the people below you can handle 99.99% of things, but there is always that 0.01% that bites you.

    I've been that guy, final level of support for a bank with tens of thousands of machines under me. Yes, I was on call 24x7, but I also got three hours days, able to drink on the job, could work from home any time I wanted, could work from any country in which we had an office, had a staff of people just to screen my calls and connect me only when needed, no normal workload except for the escalations. Once you get to that level, you get to pick how you take your benefits. Yeah, I was always on call, but the benefits more than made up for it.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @Carnival-Boy said:

    I'm sure we all know people or are so-called "successful" in their careers, but miserable as sin, and people who are relatively unsuccessful but happy as a pig in ****.

    I'd argue that if you're happy as a pig, then you probably are successful, maybe not as successful as you could be, but still successful. Otherwise, how are you really happy?

    I'd argue that if you're happy and you know it, clap your hands.



  • @Dashrender said:

    @Carnival-Boy said:

    I'm sure we all know people or are so-called "successful" in their careers, but miserable as sin, and people who are relatively unsuccessful but happy as a pig in ****.

    I'd argue that if you're happy as a pig, then you probably are successful, maybe not as successful as you could be, but still successful. Otherwise, how are you really happy?

    At my last job, I worked with a great group of folks, but got paid just barely enough to support my family. I was happy, but got tired of the struggle to make ends meet.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    I think that whole, seniority doesn't have to work on days off, etc thing really depends on the position. For example, if you're the senior person on a platform, say O365 hosted Exchange - I'm willing to bet that guy gets called in on his vacation when there is a problem that reaches a certain point. Granted you hope that the people below you can handle 99.99% of things, but there is always that 0.01% that bites you.

    I've been that guy, final level of support for a bank with tens of thousands of machines under me. Yes, I was on call 24x7, but I also got three hours days, able to drink on the job, could work from home any time I wanted, could work from any country in which we had an office, had a staff of people just to screen my calls and connect me only when needed, no normal workload except for the escalations. Once you get to that level, you get to pick how you take your benefits. Yeah, I was always on call, but the benefits more than made up for it.

    I have to ask, what was your job in that position?

    Work three hours a day? doing? when not in an escalation.



  • @Dashrender Drinking on the job, apparently, ha ha ha.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    I think that whole, seniority doesn't have to work on days off, etc thing really depends on the position. For example, if you're the senior person on a platform, say O365 hosted Exchange - I'm willing to bet that guy gets called in on his vacation when there is a problem that reaches a certain point. Granted you hope that the people below you can handle 99.99% of things, but there is always that 0.01% that bites you.

    I've been that guy, final level of support for a bank with tens of thousands of machines under me. Yes, I was on call 24x7, but I also got three hours days, able to drink on the job, could work from home any time I wanted, could work from any country in which we had an office, had a staff of people just to screen my calls and connect me only when needed, no normal workload except for the escalations. Once you get to that level, you get to pick how you take your benefits. Yeah, I was always on call, but the benefits more than made up for it.

    I have to ask, what was your job in that position?

    Work three hours a day? doing? when not in an escalation.

    Yeah, in the office like three hours a day. I'd spread it out with time at the bar in the middle. Position was Linux Technology Chief. I didn't get assigned projects, but I had to always be available for escalation, 24x7x365. I was there for guidance, to authorize things that no one else could, to be a bypass for SVP approval (when the "staff" couldn't get their hands dirty) or to handle the technical issues that didn't get caught by the staff before me.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    I think that whole, seniority doesn't have to work on days off, etc thing really depends on the position. For example, if you're the senior person on a platform, say O365 hosted Exchange - I'm willing to bet that guy gets called in on his vacation when there is a problem that reaches a certain point. Granted you hope that the people below you can handle 99.99% of things, but there is always that 0.01% that bites you.

    I've been that guy, final level of support for a bank with tens of thousands of machines under me. Yes, I was on call 24x7, but I also got three hours days, able to drink on the job, could work from home any time I wanted, could work from any country in which we had an office, had a staff of people just to screen my calls and connect me only when needed, no normal workload except for the escalations. Once you get to that level, you get to pick how you take your benefits. Yeah, I was always on call, but the benefits more than made up for it.

    I have to ask, what was your job in that position?

    Work three hours a day? doing? when not in an escalation.

    Yeah, in the office like three hours a day. I'd spread it out with time at the bar in the middle. Position was Linux Technology Chief. I didn't get assigned projects, but I had to always be available for escalation, 24x7x365. I was there for guidance, to authorize things that no one else could, to be a bypass for SVP approval (when the "staff" couldn't get their hands dirty) or to handle the technical issues that didn't get caught by the staff before me.

    Nice - but really, how man of those types of jobs are there? a dozen? Even if we say there is one at every Fortune 1000, that's only 1000 of those jobs, so they are pretty impractical to aspire to.
    Sure, everyone wants to be President some day (ok not really, but you get my point), it's just not a realistic goal for 99.9999%.


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