Career Advice from Tabletop Gaming

By: Kirsi

Honestly, each one of these tabletop games warrants their own “career advice from” post. Here are some career advice highlights from the tabletop genre. Caution, possible whiplash causing transitions ahead …

Stranger Things - Dungeons & Dragons

Dungeons & Dragons on Stranger Things

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D): Sometimes life is a dice roll.

Don’t get too attached to your D&D character, they may be annihilated within hours into the game depending on your dungeon master. I spent hours on my first character sheet coming up with a great back story and carefully assigning ability values. Despite time and effort, my character was mortally wounded and I had to quickly roll a new character for the remainder of the quest. Likewise in the real world, ample time and effort may be invested into planning a particular career path which ultimately might become unfeasible. Factors out of your control like the job market, loss of interest, or simply life can set you back semesters or even years of career development. Re-roll your career path and stay flexible. Use that same in-game imagination to find a career that best fits your abilities. You might even find a chat with a Career Counselor more fruitful than probing an NPC for information with failed persuasion rolls.

Big Bang Theory - Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan on Big Bang Theory

Settlers of Catan: Take advantage of your resources.

In my opinion, Catan is a close second to Mario Kart for games that wound friendships: “Oh you want this wheat?…TOO BAD”. If you are familiar with your opponents you know what their 10 point win case strategy is; building roads, constructing houses or collecting development cards. This also means you know which resources you can starve your opponents from. In an ideal and moral world, your career building resources are not being stolen from you. However, you might as well discard your cash if you do not take advantage of UMD’s on-campus resources! Part of your tuition funds resources like those provided at Career Internship ServicesChoose a major, hunt for an internship, prep for a career fair, explore graduate schools and look for a full-time job. Our career resources may not be not as straight forward as wheat, lumber, brick, ore, and sheep.

Pro Poker Player Annie Duke

Pro Poker Player Annie Duke

Poker: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em”

Personally, I do not play poker but after taking Introduction to Probability and Statistics I respect the mathematical and emotional intelligence required to become a pro-player. My favorite poker anecdote is when professional poker player Annie Duke won the 2004 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions. Duke struggled during the World Series playing behind all day and in one case taking far too much time to make a decision on live television. I equate applying for internships, receiving offers and declining offers to playing poker with a little more control. Throughout college, I have navigated a spectrum of internship challenges. Sometimes there is a lack of internship offers. Sometimes there are too many offers – which enables the ability to negotiate an hourly pay and benefits increase. Sometimes there is a need to respectfully decline offers. Throughout this journey I have asked for the guidance of career counselors, They can read drafts of emails, brainstorm respectful rejection letters, and help keep doors open for future opportunities.

Magic the Gathering

Magic The Gathering

Magic The Gathering: Timing is everything.

A novice painter can not churn out a Van Gogh even with the most expensive paints. Similarly, a novice Magic player can not win against an experienced player with the same deck that won Magic Pro Tour. Activating triggered abilities, understanding the stack, and playing cards at the perfect game phase sets apart an intermediate and an expert player. Think about navigating a job fair or networking the same way you judge using an instant spell. Use your mana wisely…

  • Avoid engaging in conversation with the CEO of your favorite company when your mouth is full of hors d’oeuvres.
  • Do not visit your top pick company at the job fair first, settle into the environment and gain confidence.
  • Wait until the recruiter’s table is less crowded to chat and present your resume.

Career and Internship Services hosts workshops during the school year about how to be successful at a job fair. Job fairs begin as early as September!

Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40k: Change with the rule changes.

40k got a huge overhaul with new 8th edition rules replacing the 2014 7th edition. Unlike previous rule updates, the game was redesigned to make it easier for new players (myself included) while letting current players use miniatures from the 90s. Most 40k community members are keeping fluid during rule changes in hopes the playerbase will grow. Flexibility is a highly valuable trait of any employee, leader or entrepreneur. Staying flexible can also mean you keep career opportunities open when attending UMD. Consider applying for a work study positionland an internship, or conduct an informational interview with a professional in an industry you are interested in. Sometimes a one track mind on what your future should look like can eliminate perfectly good career options with equal or greater success. Keep your options and dice on the table.

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Photos by (in order of appearance)…
Stranger Things, Netflix; The Big Bang TheoryCBS; Annie Duke, from her official Facebook page; boogie2988, YouTuber; Kirsi, Warhammer at a local shop

Career Advice from The Wolf of Wall Street

By: Ashlee

I’m an Oscar-season diehard. The moment I hear the nominations for Best Picture, I’m pulling out my calendar along with the local movie theater’s calendar to find out what’s playing when. The Academy Awards are my Superbowl, and I go all out to find out everything about all the nominated movies and their players.

As you can probably guess, I pull a lot from each of these movies and career advice is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the big Oscar nominees this year is ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill (directed by Martin Scorsese). Here’s the short synopsis: Based on the true story Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort, the man was highly successful in the 1990s. From drugs, to cars, to women, to in-office antics, everything Belfort did was lavish and over-the-top, just the way he envisioned it, until his success came tumbling down.

Whether or not you’ve enrolled in a business course while at college, there are certain lessons that can be drawn from how Jordan Belfort did business, and you can apply them to your job search in no time.

1.)    Money talks whether you like it or not.

If you have money, people in your inner circle will like you for that benefit. But money doesn’t always mean the green, papery stuff.  Pay attention to those who stay with you when you’re down, and make sure to share in the good times along with them, too.

This goes for job hunting, too. If someone gave you a reference which helped snag that coveted interview with the company of your dreams, pay it forward to the next guy who made need help from you.

2.)    Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.

Nobody wants to hear about what you’re doing next year. They want to know what you’re doing right now, and how it’s going to get you there. Success isn’t measured in dollars or cents; it’s a mentality. One should start striving for it immediately in whatever is being done, big or small. Set achievable goals. Keep your hands and legs busy, so you’re actually doing it instead of only talking about it.

3.)    As long as it gets done, it doesn’t matter how.

Did you know musical legend Jimi Hendrix was a lefty? He played a right-handed guitar strung backwards and upside down. While getting the job done within the rules of the game might be preferred, getting the job done, period, is necessary.

Never be afraid to try things your own way. Originality is what separates you from the rest of the competition. It helps to change your mind set just a notch to the left: achieving your goals is only the finish line. It’s how you choose to run the race that’s open to interpretation.

4.)    Perception is everything.

Always dress the part. If you’re not qualified for the position, as least look qualified for it. It’s all about presentation. Your appearance reflects your reputation and work ethic. When meeting with a potential next boss, a sloppy suit might imply a sloppy job. (There’s a reason why James Bond is always draped in a Tom Ford or Gucci for Men suit.) We have style boards on Pinterest for both women and men.

5.)    Failure can push your motivation.

Failure can be a very powerful tool in your toolbox for success. After being dealt a fair share of defeat (and if you’re searching for a job, it’s going to happen), you’ll start to crave success. Jordan Belfort’s first business was selling meat and seafood, and he failed miserably at it. What can you and all job seekers take away from this? Don’t let failure stand in your way as a stop sign. Rather, it’s a detour. Rethink and revise your plan as needed.

6.)    Don’t hang up.

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. For Belfort, “no” wasn’t an option. The pitch is everything, and when you’re in an interview, you’re pitching you! You have to buy into yourself first, before you can try and “sell” yourself to employers. Confidence is everything. If potential employers aren’t sold on you, they’ll never buy into your skillset.

7.)    Be a wolf.

Unfortunately, opportunities aren’t always reserved for the most worthy of candidates. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and job seekers need to be the wolf in a world of dogs. Wolf, defined as a verb (and according to Belfort) means to devour greedily.

The term ‘greedily’ doesn’t have to be taken negatively here. When Belfort said, “be greedy,” he meant to take what’s yours. When you’re sitting in the interview with your dream company, that time with the interviewer is yours. Take it!

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