Games can help fill the void created by the loss of a job, but the feelings of reward they create can sometimes get in the way of finding new employment.
Unemployment can be a very depressing experience. There are the obvious financial concerns it creates, the grind of searching for a new job – but not getting one – which can be damaging to anyone’s self esteem, and suddenly all those hours in the day that need filling. Videogames, explains Roger Taylor in Issue 218 of The Escapist, can provide the perfect antidote to such grim straights:
[Videogames’] system of challenges and rewards, unique in media, at times approaches the feelings of day-to-day employment. Nabbing Mark Buehrle for a handful of iffy prospects? Felt just like getting promoted at my old movie theater gig. Leading the fiscally-troubled Florida Marlins to four consecutive World Series? Not all that dissimilar, neurochemically speaking, to helping save my department’s budget when I worked for the Rutgers University newspaper. Baseball Mogul provided me with a sense of having done something with my day, a sense of progress and self-worth that the generally degrading and depressing job search just couldn’t compete with.
The danger, of course, is taking too much solace in the feelings of success and comfort that gaming can provide. When I was laid off from a publishing job many years ago, I sought refuge in Morrowind. I couldn’t deal with the unrelenting anxiety and anguish of being unemployed in the real world, so I spent my days raiding bandit caves, riding Silt Striders, and walking the streets of Balmora. I never quite go to the point that I fully abandoned the job search, but I certainly ignored it for a good while.
Read the rest of Playing Like It’s My Job and let us know if gaming has ever helped you through some dark times.