Just over a year ago, I moved from my city of birth to my current home. I’m about 4 hours away from the place that helped to shape me into who I am. I spent over a 1/4 of a century in that city and nearly a decade in my job there. Personally, I believe myself to be quite introverted and hitting a reset button on friends and colleagues isn’t an easy task for me. I don’t make friends quick or work chums as easy as I would like.
Part of this is my own personal preference and my own fault. I like to listen to podcasts and audiobooks while I work. But if I know the person I’m working with, I’m more than happy to talk. Unfortunately my current workplace is more, older generation staffed. Very few new staff get brought on and so not only is the majority of the workforce 2 or 3 decades older than me, but those cliques are already established. Then you have the fact that I live in the UK and I don’t have watch football. Nor do I watch soaps. I know, shoot me now! Not much of a Brit and definitely not hip with 90% of my co-workers. I could watch football, I could make the effort for the sake of conversation…..but I don’t want to. I find it boring and I can’t fake an interest in it. If you’ve heard Moss from the IT Crowd talk about the ludicrous display, then you have an idea of my footie patter.
So imagine my intrigue when I heard mention of mouse and keyboard play. 2 staff who were hired a few months ago were chatting about upgrading a computer when I was asked by a manager to help their station. I had talked to these newcomers before and got along with them fine but outside of casual work banter we never touched on anything more personal. The conversation quickly changed after that mention but it stuck with me as a future topic. I know a lot of people play games so I shouldn’t be surprised that they were gamers, but finding someone in my workplace to talk to about games is different. Like finding a diamond in the rough.
So last week, was the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2. To be exact, it was out on the Friday which was the next day. I just so happened start my job with those 2 staff members. I needed to talk to someone about Redemption 2 as I had been keeping my excitement at bay since its announcement but now with the game so close, I was overflowing with giddiness. So I asked (fake name time!) Mr Black if he was getting Redemption 2. ‘No but Amanda Hugginkiss is. She’s going at to the shops at midnight to collect it.’. What followed next was hours of chatting about games. All 3 of us sharing our history with gaming. Talking about our excitement over Redemption 2 and the possibility of being *sick* for work, starting consoles, favourite games, hours spent on Call of Duty 4, Runescape memories and loads more. The time flew by and since then we’ve been talking about our own progress on Redemption 2 and how we’re playing Arthur Morgan. Not only that, they’ve told me of other people in work who game and so I know now who I can geek out with.
I had a range of friends and co-workers where I previously lived and we were all big gamers. When I moved, my connection to them dropped. I still talk to a lot of them but it’s not the same as seeing them constantly. But that is life. Co-workers leave and friendships dissipate sometimes. I’m aware of that. However, that excitement over a new game or film, I haven’t felt that in a long while. Not since moving. I was excited for Redemption 2 but no where near the level I was for previous games. And I realise now that that was because of my environment. There is something infectious about hype among colleagues and work mates. When you have a bunch of people who are counting down the days left to the next Battlefield or a new trailer for a game getting shown around the break room. When it’s home time before you even realise and the only realisation you have is that you just spent 6 hours talking about E3. I missed that. I didn’t realise how much I actually missed it until I experienced it again after so long.
It’s amazing what talking to the right people about the right topic yields. I had known both of those 2 for a good few months. Not extensively but on good terms. Within a day, my knowledge of them easily eclipsed my previous knowledge of them. I now have someone I can easily talk about something I love with. And even though that still only equates to about 1% of the workplace I know to be gamers, it still feels good to have someone who enjoys what I enjoy. There are people I can talk to comfortably and that alone makes my job so much more enjoyable. It’s still work at the end of the day but now I have people to talk to whilst we share that misery. Yay!