Sunday, May 8, 2011

Geek / Work conflict.

I'm not talking about conflicts at work arising from you being a geek, or nerd, or other pejorative.. I'm talking about how to balance gaming and having a nerd social life and working?

I may be approaching this the wrong way, I don't have a "Normal Job" I don't work m-f, 9-5. I wish I did. but as far as I'm concerned those jobs are about as real as Bigfoot. They either require a skillset I lack or am unwilling to outlay the money to learn.. or are simply too far away to make them worth going too. So I work a retail job, and with most retail jobs that means working Saturdays, and usually Sundays too.

My current conundrum is, the LARP group I'm a member of has a national organization. I'm relatively close to 3 of them, Atlanta,GA; Grenville, SC; and Chattanooga, TN. All of those tend to have events within about 2 hours from me.. which is about the limit that I'm willing to travel to go to .. pretty much anything. But each and every event costs 50$ to attend. If it's at a park thats close enough for me to leave and go to work and come back.. thats ok I miss a few hours but feel I get what I paid for.. If its more than an hour away, I can go on Saturday and stay that night and come home Sunday.. but then I'm missing out even more hours. When am I missing too much to consider it financially reasonable?

This has been a constant problem for me ever since I first started gaming. Back when I still had a local gaming store, They had Warhammer 40k play days on Saturdays, they were always over before I got off work. Yet if something was of an evening during the week, I would 9 out of 10 times have to work too. It made going to events or games of any sort, with any sort of regularity, extremely difficult. Not to mention frustrating. My experience with dungeons and dragons was possibly even worse. How many campaigns fell apart really before they even got going simply because when you are trying to get 4-5 people who all work retail jobs to have the same day off.. Herding cats dosen't even begin to describe it.

In the last two months since I've gotten back into LARPing I've found it very difficult indeed. I've had to leave both events on Friday night and return after work on Saturday, and then leaving early on Sunday to go to work. That was achievable only because of how close the event was to me. But for the rest of the year, the events are all at least twice as far, and some as much as 250 miles away. It's simply impossible to go to them without having the weekends free to do so.

When I mention these problems to others its generally the same old suggestion "Get a different job" or "Make time".. I can understand saying "Make time" when a person complains theres not enough time to read a book.. but they can watch 4 hours of TV.. But how do you make time for something like this? Books are, as a whole, relatively cheap. But I've yet to find a RPG or LARP or Card Game or Miniature game that dosen't require at least initial outlays of substantial sums of money. But I tend to get cold feet when it comes to spending, since I never know when I'll get to play.

If your in this situation of obligation competing with desire how do you balance the two things?


Brian Murphy said...

Hmm... I work a M-F, roughly 8:30 to 5 job, so I'm not much help. But I do also play D&D with a group and we're about to celebrate our 10 year milestone.

We play Saturdays or Sundays. When we started in 2001 the plan was to play every other weekend, but with families and other commitments we couldn't keep that schedule. I'd say we play an average of once every 3-4 weeks. We use a free Yahoo site to post our availability and keep in touch between games. I write detailed logs of each game to help keep continuity. It seems to work pretty well.

Lagomorph Rex said...

Well I've tried Facebook, and it helps some what. But It always seems to be something that prevents it.

I think part of it that I hadn't thought of previously, was the seeming destruction of the FLGS and FLCBS in my area. 10 years ago I had about 10 within 30 miles that I could go to, before I drove of course. Now, that I can go to them whenever I want, there aren't any.