When you hear the term Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a good employee isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind… In fact, it probably isn’t even in the top 10 things that come to mind.
When it comes to D&D, I’d wager that most people out there think the players are overweight nerds smelling up a room while systematically ensuring the safety of their own virginity. Others still imagine fantasy clad introverts eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew. Or maybe they associate Dungeon & Dragons with the Occult, luring unlucky kids into the demonic trap of unreality. I mean, look what a “failed will save” did to poor Tom Hanks in “Mazes and Monsters”.
But I am here to tell you, that isn’t always the case. Imagine a world where students are leaving college, entering the real working world with no honest idea of what lies ahead: The drudgery of adulthood, the isolation of being the new guy (or gal) in the workplace, the ever-crushing weight of responsibility… Terrifying, right? That’s where Dungeons & Dragons comes in and saves the day. Let me tell you how D&D made me a better employee (at least I think it did, *rolls a D20, result: 17*, yup it did).
In D&D, you are usually part of a group or party. You go on quests and save the realms together. The key factor in making it through an entire campaign is working as a team. I mean, if you don’t work together, then there is no way in the Abyss you’re going to defeat that Legendary Colossal Red Dragon, am I right? Work is much the same way: We function in departments and teams consisting of individuals in all areas here at Penna Powers. The Developers (Mages/Wizards), the Media Team (Paladins), Creatives (Fighters/Barbarians) and the Account Managers (Bards/Clerics) all work together to make the quest go as smoothly as possible while we fight to achieve the ever-elusive treasure of client approval. Without working as a team, that goal is never going to become a reality.
In life, both D&D and reality, there are so many paths we can go down each day. Knowing your endgame can really help along the way. Are you looking to become a lvl 15 Shadow Dancer? Or do you want to save the princess? Maybe you’re even trying to launch a multifaceted digital marketing campaign for a client. All of these goals have checkpoints along the way, and knowing those checkpoints while having plans laid out ahead of time will keep you, your co-workers and your companions on track to success!
Go with the flow
In Dungeons & Dragons, you’re always rolling dice to see if your desired actions are successful, and from time to time you’re going to roll a 1 (which is an automatic fail). It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing “boots of fleeing” or if you’re following a website blueprint perfectly… the DM (also known as “life”) is going throw a kobold in your path and your plans are going to change. When those guards catch you after stealing the Pearls of Argomon, rolling a 1 is going to put a kink in your escape. But, being able to stay cool and improvise is the difference between spending the next three game nights trying to pick the jail cell lock and celebrating in the Prancing Pony Tavern with the rest of the adventurers—sipping mead, listening to the pipes and planning your next sojourn—but I digress. The point is, things go wrong and plans change. Don’t let the dice (or the job) get you down.
Keep an adventure log
Somewhere along the way on a project (or delving a dungeon), you’re going to get lost. It’s inevitable. It will be months, perhaps years, from the starting point and you aren’t going to remember who that farmer was who sent you to find their kidnapped daughter, or why you wanted to use a certain programing language on one page but not the others. Thank the old gods and the new you kept copious notes in your Adventurer’s Log (otherwise known as detailed project notes). These notes aren’t only a fun map of the journey you’ve been on, but they are also a fantastic resource to get you back on track when you’ve wandered too deeply into Fangorn Forest. An added benefit of Adventure Logs: Trustworthiness. DM’s (Dungeon Masters) aren’t infallible, having notes to prove him/her/she/he/it wrong is a great way to cover your tzarreth (“Butt.” Correct me if I’m wrong here, my Draconic is a bit rusty)!
Roleplay, or how I learned to thrive outside my comfort zone
Not that kind of roleplay, sickos… But seriously, thinking and acting outside of your comfort zone is a great way to grow in all areas of life. I’m not really a suave pirate named Mortaemer Darratris, nor am I the stalwart Dwarven cleric Koth-Modan, nor even the Tree Frog archer Seronius Blek whose trusty companion is an oversize killer wasp… surprising right? But when I first left college, I wasn’t a working class professional either. I quickly learned that staying in my comfort zone wasn’t going to help my career at all. Reach out, take chances, and don’t be afraid to sound like an idiot when you join the party as a 3-foot-tall Tree Frog riding a giant wasp and saying “Hidee-Ho there.”
This goes beyond working together and helping the team/party succeed. Develop friendships with the people you work with. Spending eight hours a day with friends is much more enjoyable than eight hours with enemies. You’re going to be with these people more than your family in most cases, might as well enjoy the time. Remember, by the end of the journey, even the shady thief may shed a tear when the high-horsed Paladin dies in combat…