One of the things about wargamers as a sub-section of society is that we're pretty good at finding ways we can put the old day job and whatever 'edumacation' (formal or otherwise) we might possess into the service of the hobby. It is clear to see that the skills and resourcefulness of the joiner, carpenter, accountant, researcher, office worker, teacher, academic, math savant, sign writer, hardware store clerk, I.T. wiz and many more vocations besides all add their own value to the wargaming table.
The gamers I know personally are excellent examples of work being also deployed in hobby service, but anyone who looks around a few blogs will note that wargamers everywhere bring their own unique sets of skills and approaches to the hobby. No matter how seasoned a wargamer one is, for a regular blog reader it would be rare to go a week without encountering a method, product or insight that one would not have been exposed to otherwise.
And this added value works the other way around, too: the things we do in wargaming can often be helpful in our working lives [witness the skills needed to order and paint figures, prepare terrain and table, organise rules, wrangle players and do all that's required to plan, stage, record and report back upon a multiplayer wargame, for example!].
Anyway, the reason I'm thinking about these kinds of things is that we are upping sticks and leaving Japan later this year, and I am therefore in the process of looking for work back home in New Zealand, after being away for almost twenty years.
I don't think anyone needs me to tell them that job hunting and all that it entails is a bit of a downer, but I'll go ahead and do so anyway. I particularly dislike the requirement to temporarily suppress conventional notions of truthfulness and modesty, but there's also the nomenclature designed to exclude. There are the tedious, box-ticking buzzwords, the codes, the codes within codes, the bright requests and the definitive silences, all of which lead persons of otherwise reasonable experience and accomplishments to begin to doubt themselves and their own worth.
So in future, should the roles ever be reversed, I think I will be asking HR people to demonstrate their excellence by putting on a wargame. Naturally, it will not be anything tricky, just standard fare: a game for three to ten people (depending on who makes it on the day), with clearly defined but flexible victory conditions; cooperative, but reliant upon responsible individual contributions; under a rules framework essentially complex but simple to explain, requiring constant individual and plenary feedback in response to new or unforeseen circumstances, and clear, firm and authoritative justifications should discontent arise.
Candidates will need to be prepared to explain how the course of action on the day would relate to real-world probabilities, and to acknowledge with good grace genuine shortcomings where they arose, as well as to diplomatically counter the objections of persons concerned about how problematic events or circumstances impacted on their own individual or team performance, without allowing the achievements of the victor(s) to be undermined by perceived sour grapes.
Candidates will be asked to submit a report in the form of a blog post or magazine report, including period information, background details, photographs, game commentary and a conclusion, all within a 48 hour period. The game participants must of course still be on speaking terms with one another at the conclusion of this process.
If the candidate meets requirements to this point, they will then be asked to purchase and paint a 28mm Samurai army to confirm their interest in the position.
The joke however, is on them - whether they paint up the army or not, I'll already've decided back in April that I was giving the job to Steve from accounts, and the HR person will never hear from me or my company again!
And then I'll give myself a positive evaluation and some really useful feedback.