7:00 a.m.
My alarm clock just went off. I don’t particularly enjoy the morning, but I still wander over to my computer and take a sneak peak at what the day will bring. I read my email; I have a message waiting for me. Enter: Drama. One of my employees has resigned. He says he’ll help for one week and make sure all of his affairs are in order, but after that, he’s gone and there is no changing his mind. I don’t understand why. He said he loved helping and loved being a part of the group, but it’s time to move on. How does one determine when it’s “time to move on”? Does one ever think about how this will affect others that rely on his contributions?

I continue with my morning. I sit down, and I get some work done. General housekeeping-type things come first. Some people need access to the secure areas we work within, applications need addressing and it’s important for me to keep up with the guild’s banter to know exactly what is going on. I need to compose a message to the core congratulating them on the progress we made last week, but that can come later.

Right now, the important matter at hand is finding a replacement for my advisor. I compose a few letters explaining the situation, and I hope for a quick response. This a dangerous situation. To the core of the group, a hole in leadership is a flaw to be exploited. The only thing I can do is attempt to find a suitable replacement.

10:00 a.m.
I have a brief meeting with my closest advisor about what’s been going on. We discuss what we should do about it. Then, we lay out plans for the week ahead, which we submit to the other advisors for approval.

12:00 p.m.
It’s noon and time for a break. I set my work aside for a few minutes and head to work. My office, I mean, where I’m the employee and follow the corporate rules of my employer. My employees are actually members of my WoW guild, and the task of managing their various wants and desires has become almost a second job.

Case in point, I need to stop by the “bank” and make a few deposits. Not a real bank, but the in-game WoW bank. The deposits are loot from previous adventures. A few of my “departments” have requested withdrawals that need to be fulfilled. I make sure everyone has what they need and decide to drop in on some of my “employees,” hard at work. It doesn’t take long for me to have someone ask me for a raise. I’ll consider it; it’s only the 11th time this week I’ve been asked this very same question. I make my way back to my office and continue with my day.

3:00 p.m.
I spend the rest of the day working (both jobs) and taking suggestions from my guild members. Everyone has ideas, but no one wants to help implement them. It’s like this every day. People are quick to judge and criticize but when asked to step up, it’s extremely unlikely that anyone will.

Someone asks me to change some facet of our corporate policy. The funny thing is, this policy was just changed based on someone else’s suggestion. Now this new guy wants it changed back to the way it was.

Something I had to learn very quickly is that you can’t make everyone happy. There is always going to be someone who feels the need to complain, who feels that we aren’t progressing fast enough, who feels that something will always need to be changed. It makes me want to scream. It can’t be had both ways. We chose a plan and that is the plan we stick to. I wish the guild would realize that they contribute to these game plans, despite the fact they talk otherwise.

6:00 p.m.
In one hour, a raid is due to start. Trying to organize one of these things can be a living nightmare, but it’s something I live for. Participants have to be chosen, currency has to be given out, strategies must be planned and researched and everyone must be at their peak. The night has a 50/50 chance of being successful. Which way we go is dependent on who is involved.

8:00 p.m.
During the raid, I get approached by another guild master. His guild is much smaller than mine and wishes to experience endgame content. He offers to do some joint runs of one of the easier instances. This looks simple enough from an outside point of view; however, it will require a lot of work. We’d need a way to keep track of another guild’s DKP (dragon kill points, or points given to people who participate in raids, which they exchange for dropped items). Will they adopt our method of looting, or must we adopt theirs?

12:00 a.m.
It’s over. It was a mediocre night, and three or four people really slowed us down. How does one deal with this? Punishment? Removal? Will it have an effect? All things to ponder for the next day; but for now, I owe people items and money. Once I get everything situated, I’ll think about ways we can improve ourselves before bed.

I escape the stress of the real world by playing games. I escape by being the guild master of a successful raiding guild in World of Warcraft. Lately, my escape is not an escape. It’s a second job where I’m CEO. The currency is DKP and the employees are guild members. My subordinates are officers, class leaders and raid leaders. Logistics are raid strategies, personnel issues are drama bombs and company politics are guild politics.

I do it because I love to help; I love to see so many people happy when a new goal is achieved; I love that feeling of success, but it’s really not that much fun. I sacrifice my escapism so others can enjoy theirs. I do my job as guild master, I make sure as many people as possible are happy and I keep things moving, but it’s not fun – it’s work.

The stress of the job doesn’t come from keeping track of things, it comes from people who fail to realize the work that goes into making sure they can make their Wednesday night raid and get a new item.

Time and time again, it’s one excuse after another. “I don’t want to help, I want to PvP.” Thirty-nine other people are relying on you to help because they helped you get the gear you need to PvP. “I’ve done that enough already.” Sure, but if you help your guild mates do it, we can unlock more content. No one gets it, but when you join a guild, you join a group to play together; not use and abuse your friends and guild mates to get what you want and then leave them high and dry when it’s their time to shine.

Someday, it will be fun again. I can only dream that someday it will click, and everyone will realize how much a few leaders sacrifice so the rest of the guild can enjoy the content we all enjoy. Someday, a boss kill will result in a smile from me instead of the dread of “oh God, what kind of loot am I going to have to deal with now?”

For now, I’ll do it because I love to see us succeed. I’ll do it because I take pride in knowing that I helped build my guild. Although I find myself afraid to log in and face so much work, it’s just like when you wake up on Monday morning, staring down a work week in a job you love; but there’s still that dread. But I always know one thing: There are good people and good friends there to help make everything go smoothly. If it weren’t for them, this job would be nothing more than a pain in the neck.

This is my success, this is my job.

Whitney Butts is the “woman behind the curtain” at The Escapist. Her existence revolves around the fact that Mathematics is the key to the universe, and that she alone is the square root of all evil.

There Goes the Neighborhood

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