I’m working out my final week at my current company. I'm getting ready to move onto the next job, which I think I’ll enjoy a lot more. I’m excited and don’t regret the decision to leave at all. That struck me as strange. After all, I spend a lot of time there, and interact with the people there almost as much as my family.
Over my four years of playing Eve, I’ve changed corporations five times (I don’t count anything before Imperial Legion). In that time, I’ve also worked at three different companies in real life. And more often than not, the decision to change corps in Eve has been harder and more emotional than the decision to change jobs in real life.
That’s messed up.
My RL work involves a lot of things I enjoy, of course, but it also involves endless meetings, cyclical conversations where people constantly change their minds about what they want a campaign to accomplish, product delays, disasters, inexact communication, overtime caused by preventable delays, etc., etc. In a nutshell, it’s work; that’s why they have to pay you to do it.
But Eve, on the other hand, gives you the option to opt out at any time. If I’m not feeling it, I can log out and do something else. I can choose my activities at any given moment, and I don’t need to answer to anyone but myself. I CHOOSE to play the game. Even when I have to haul ships around or rat or do all the other non-preferred activities essential to enabling my preferred time-spend, I’m still the one making the decisions and electing to do all those things. And with that choice comes a sense of freedom that allows me to enjoy every moment of it. Or not, and I won’t log in.
Eve, at its core, is a game about possibilities. There are hundreds of people who read blogs and check the forums, but who never log in. Eve is a game that, in many ways, sounds better and more exciting than it is. We live vicariously through one another, and when we perceive what Eve is – at least those of us who are hooked – we perceive it as everything it can be simultaneously, not just what we do in one particular playing session. That sense of wonder rarely translates to a RL job, where your reality is what is, not what can be.
Where a RL job gives you money in exchange for obligation, Eve provides entertainment – content, we call it – all the time. And that content, because we choose it, delights us. There’s a reason obligation ruins the game for many people. CEOs, FCs, CSM members, bloggers… the constant risk of having a position of authority is that you’ll slowly begin to view it as a job. And when that happens, the magic disappears. Necessity replaces free will.
This even extends to the people you deal with at both a real company and Eve corp. I can choose not to join comms or speak in fleet if I’m not feeling chatty. Or I can. But at my job, every time someone addresses me, I’m obliged to respond. Interaction isn’t optional. I’m actually quite social, but the very fact that it’s required makes it a bit of a burden. But in Eve, my interactions are always of my choosing (yes, even when ganked, since I undocked!) and on some level, that freedom translates itself into delight. I see only the best in my corp mates and CEO, where as I see reality among my co-workers and especially my bosses. Even if you work for the best place in the world – as I’ve had the good fortune to do – you never forget that your paycheck depends on how you behave, and that sets restrictions on you that erode that enjoyment a bit.
All of that makes me much more attached to my corp mates than my co-workers, to my Eve patterns than my work habits, and to my corporation than to my company. So, when I leave that highly-emotional, pure-satisfaction relationship with a corp whose purpose is to provide me enjoyment, it hurts a lot more than when I decide to leave a pragmatic job whose purpose is to provide me with a paycheck.
The elective always trumps the necessary. And on some level, when I leave a corporation, I’m filled with regret and second-guessing. I see all the potential that made me join them in the first place, not the reality that inspired me to leave.
The potential with Repercussus became a reality, one I get to live every time I log in. As much as I long for that sense in my RL job, I’ve only found It this past week, when the end was coming and I could enjoy my time there without worrying about saying or doing the right things. My paycheck wasn’t dependent on my current job anymore. That’s an oddly liberating feeling, and I think it’s because it removes the “necessary” elements that make us all nervous. Nothing is necessary this week.
It’s as close to “Eve delight” as anyone can feel at work.