Friday, May 06, 2011

Eve Online On The Resume

Allow me to spin a tale of yesteryear...

I was looking for work about 9 years ago and not having much luck. I was a young programmer that got laid off when the company I was with hit hard times in the uncertainty after Sept 11 the year before and for a few months I could not get a job.

Now, I was only a few years out of university and I still wore two earrings in my ear from my rebellious student days (that was about as wild as I got folks) and I figured in today's day and age of 2002 that people would not bat an eye at a young software programmer with some ear bling, right?

Well, getting desperate for work I took out my ear rings for my next job interview and landed a position. Could be coincidence... except that years later I was friends with the guy who made the decision to hire me and as the topic turned to earrings I explained I had just taken mine out before my interview and he flat out told me "I would not have considered hiring you if I saw you with them in."

Now I've done the hiring thing myself over the past nine years and I know that qualifications on the resume can sometimes mean little when you meet the person in the interview. And sometimes even the first interview impression can ignored if the person does really good on the technical test and better in the second interview, but let me tell you that people considering to hire someone that they work closely with and see more of during the week than they do their own kids and wife will take every data point into consideration when making that hire-or-not decision.

As an aside, I think that here 9 years later the earring issue matters a lot less since people doing the hiring now possibly wore them in college but there are probably new taboos that act the same way.

All of this brings me around to Eve Online. Now I'm sure you've heard of people starting to include their World Of Warcraft experience on their resumes as a leader of a raid has to do a lot of things similar to a job: communicate clearly, deal with issues of the underlings, plan out an approach, and coordinate a large number of people to accomplish a common goal. And that's only up to 25 people.

In Eve the alliance leaders of major null sec coalitions can lead up to thousands of pilots. Fleet commanders coordinate hundreds of people in high pressure situations. Industry magnates manage massive spreadsheets and thousands of assets and processes to produce industrial empires. Special alliances and corporations teach players the ins and outs of the game or PvP in classes that would be at home at a college or university, sometimes with people that are better teachers than paid teachers. Players delving into market analysis and game mechanics wield math and programming concepts with ease and debate the virtues of various hypothesis. Council of Stellar Management members have to work with each other, the community, and CCP in order to be effective. People who succeed in these positions are not super common and should be proud of their accomplishments.

But would they put Eve Online on their resume?

Despite the infiltration of MMO gaming into common culture consciousness there is still a pervading attitude that people that play these games any more than casually are not-quite-right. They are nerds or geeks, or worse they are addicted to gaming and can't be trusted to perform their job well. The spectre of sensational gaming addiction headlines hangs over the hobby and ignores the fact that it is such a small fraction that allow gaming to take over their life that you are more likely to have problems with drug users and alcoholics.

Perhaps some aspects of the gaming culture are more respectable than others. For example, I am a published writer due to the Test Flight articles in E-ON Magazine. I would put that on my resume if I were looking for work because it shows I can work for an editor, meet deadlines, and produce content consistently for 2 straight years now. Although it implies I am a dedicated gamer it seems less frivolous. The same could be said for someone who works on the CSM. But a fleet commander leading pilots into a warzone? Why does it lack the same gravitas, deserved or not?

In the end, I guess whether you include notable Eve Online accomplishments on your resume depends a lot on who is going to do the hiring. A younger company or manager might be able to appreciate the difference between gaming obsession and gaming hobby; a conservative older manager might not.

In another 9 years, maybe it won't matter as a new generation fills the roles of theinterviewer instead of the interviewee. I know I don't give two craps about men wearing earrings.


  1. Interesting. I would think it would also matter what type of job you were looking for as well. While technical or coding type work environments might actually look on MMO experience as a good thing, many other more "normal" types of jobs might feel the opposite.

  2. As someone who does hire, and is in mid-40's, if I saw the EVE FC experience, I would ask the person to explain how that experience would benefit me. It would also show, if this new hire managed to get through an engineering program AND carry that kind of EVE intensity of play, that this person can handle multi-tasking, time management, and have some degree of people skills.

    Of course, if was a GOON, he'd be out the door before he finished the sentence . . . :)

  3. Knowing the game quite well I would assume anyone putting Eve FCing on his cv (as we call them in Britain) would

    1) sometimes stay up playing Eve till 4am on a work night and be useless the next day.

    2) and be obsessed/proud of Eve enough that they would bore people who aren't remotely interested.

    Sorry, I'd toss your resume in the bin and get the next one.

  4. I wrote about Eve as my "what I do for fun" essay for MIT. At the time, though, I couldn't really put down any leadership experience that I had gained from the game.

    On the other hand, 00sage00, founder of #tweetfleet, mentioned Eve only in passing on his application to Cornell. I guess it really depends on how you feel about it, as well as the position you apply for.