Work has been at the forefront of my mind of late. In the immediate, there is some semblance of corporate reshuffling occurring at my current employer. As it transpires, we all kind of quietly wait to hear something definitive about how our office will go forward once everything has been decided and a new course of action has been charted. If you have read this far and thought “Fascinating! In this guy’s quest to enrapture me with a gripping American narrative, stop now because you’ve struck oil!”, I swear that I will attempt to steer this into less snooze-inducing territory.
On the grander scale, the subject of work, jobs, and wages is at the forefront of every conversation, speech and roundtable discussion in the political world. Especially since the 2008 market crash, it is a constant whirlwind of bold promises to bring back the jobs and send us all back to work. Aside from charts and graphs and arguments pro and con, we can only truly measure the success of these claims from our personal core outward about as far as we are willing to stretch. In other words, this topic is boring if meant to propel an essay on gaming.
If you haven’t guessed by now, work is generally boring. Let me rephrase that – work that you end up doing rather than perform with gravitas and passion is generally boring. With any luck, you will wind up with pleasant co-workers and perhaps one or two will share a general interest of yours. Most days, if you are like me, you will be editing a spreadsheet or finishing up some billig while daydreaming about being at home, sitting around a table while sending little wooden meeples to work at…..WHAT?!?
Yep, you read that correctly. In the realm of modern strategy board games, I seem incapable of finding the mechanism of worker placement to be boring. Taking the wooden meeple that matches my player tableau and sending her or him to that open space on the board that will eventually net me two pieces of wood that will enable me to build the oven that will allow me to make my own stone for half the cost starting in the next round fills me with exhilaration.
When worker placement games are at their level best, the placement of said workers becomes a steady construction of a mini medieval or modern empire of income and food generating greatness. In the game space, it serves to apply one’s strategy towards maximum point value in the forms of money and an abundance of resources. But, in a strangely satisfying way that is not so nakedly apparent, it distills the drudgery of work into a practice of communal goodwill.
It is highly utopian of me to expect work in the real world to be so simple and rewarding, even when it’s not one’s dream job. It would be impossible to untangle the complex corporate web that ensnares many of us in it’s iron grip, leaving us always with the spectre that we could easily be ejected at a moment’s notice. So, for me (and seemingly many others), there is a satisfaction on a quasi-spiritual level of putting a worker on a job, only to see the expected production occur for the good of the whole. It is a tiny, tiny victory for sure but to me, it feels like a relaxing exhale after another long week of swimming in the rows and columns of the Microsoft Excelscape.