I will be the first to admit that even though I reference video games frequently, I know little to nothing about the actual games. I haven’t played a video game since the days of the freebie Duck Hunt that came with your Nintendo “NES.” Video games just never caught on with me. Chalk it up to a short attention span.
Anyway, despite my ignorance, one of my favorite foils is Call of Duty. See, my son is an avid gamer and his taste runs to these massive multi-player enterprises with evolving story arcs. Call of Duty is a first-person shooter linear fighting game. You start, you shoot lots of stuff, you capture the flag. But it’s extremely popular. And whether it’s music, food, haircuts, opinions, or popular culture, I’m not much of a fan of what’s popular. I like to be contrary. So my favorite dig at students who don’t want to be active and engaging in their career development is, “feel free to move back home with your mom, sit on the sofa eating Cheetos and play Call of Duty all day.”
Not because it’s an inherently bad thing to do. Relaxing every now and then and playing a shoot-em-up is fine. But if you do it all day every day, it does paint a visual of where sloth can lead you. You could just as easily be binge-watching Real Housewives. This week my snobbery was given its necessary comeuppance and I owe Call of Duty an apology.
A student told me that he was telling his brother about all the things he’s done this semester in our college. Meeting employers, going to events, seeing speakers in the Exchange, etc. He wants his brother to get motivated to go to college. His brother spends his days at home, sitting on the sofa…you know the rest. Anyway, my student was working him over while they played Call of Duty on his Xbox.
All of a sudden a voice comes over the unit asking if he’s serious about all the stuff he’s doing. Yes, UCF has given him a lot of opportunities and he’s taking advantage of them. What do you want to do after college, the voice asks. I want to work in public accounting. Ever thought of working in New York?
One of the random players was an Account Manager with PwC in New York. Now that tax season was done he was taking a week off and relaxing with a bit of game play. He overheard my student, liked the things he’s doing, and invited him to come to New York to see what he does.
After exchanging contact information my student checked him out on LinkedIn, they connected, and they exchanged InMail. He’s legit so now my student has an informational interview IN NEW YORK scheduled for the semester break. His new contact has said if he keeps his grades up and keeps working he’d offer him an internship that could lead to a full time opportunity in tax with PwC.
The moral of this unique networking story is you never know when an opportunity will present itself. Be aware of the things you say and where you say them because you never know who is listening. You know to watch your mouth at a job fair or a networking event. But how do you present yourself on the bus or at a public event? Is your potential future boss standing behind you in the arepa line at Food Truck Frenzy? Or maybe a row up from you at the Orlando City game? She could be in the stall behind you as you fix your hair and chat up your girlfriend. Or covering your flank as you ferret out a sniper.
I’m sorry Call of Duty, I had no idea you held such power. But Candy Crush Saga……that’s another story!