The “CV – PokemonGo” Analogy

The other day I was contemplating on the effort that lots of people put into PokemonGo, or into any activity that really intrigues them for that matter. I guess it’s not the same for everything, but what about the ones that spend endless amount of time playing DOTA, or any other game. And how about those that obsess about their car and spend endless hours cleaning and taking care of it? I guess that obsessing like that over anything is harmful and unhealthy, but in any case, I am not the one to point the finger to anyone!

Thinking of PokemonGo and in specific about the Pokemons, I thought of the analogies of the game to your professional curriculum vitae. In some way, collecting Pokemons can be paralleled to collecting skills and knowledge in a professional setting. Bear with me for a while. So, in the same sense that a person collects experiences, knowledge and skills, in a parallel universe, someone else collects, trains and evolves Pokemons. How about that for an analogy?

Image taken from here

To make my case stronger, just consider that you have all the common Pokemons like #Jubat or #Meowth or #Rattata, that can be found everywhere. These are the basic skills, like knowing how to operate a computer. These are skills that anyone can acquire, easily with little if any investment in money, and relatively low investment in effort. For the newer generations, these are skills gained sometimes from their family environment. And then, you also have common Pokemon-skills that maybe abundant in job seekers, but that require some added effort to acquire cause they are not embedded in your environment in some way. Like getting certified in using the Microsoft Suite of tools. These are the Pokemons that are enough just to get you in the “game”. Skills that gradually become even more common, as more people acquire them.

And then you have all these Pokemons in the middle that are feasible for anyone to catch, but they do need some amount of serious gaming. They require walking around a lot, maybe using some tools that help you in your “Pokemon hunt”, and above all, some above-average commitment. These are skills and qualifications that require the previous as a basis (knowing how to operate a computer) but go above and beyond them, cause they need a more significant investment in effort, time and sometimes money. Maybe, in this analogy, this is where our BSc, BA or other university titles reside (if not in the previous low-level Pokemons). Maybe even the MSc titles. These are the Pokemons that are required if you want to rise to above-mediocre gaming in the same sense as previously.

On another level, you have these rare Pokemons that require significant effort (or sometimes pure luck) to come across (like #Larpas, #Pikachu or #Scyther). These can be the skills that very few people possess, maybe through a job position that offered them a significant competitive advantage. Or cause the labor market came to need a skill that they happen to possess, having worked on it for so long, becoming experts. These are the Pokemons that require (luck aside) significant investment, time, commitment and hard-working (or smart-working). These are PhD studies that matter (cause some don’t), positions with a high level of complexity and responsibilities, etc. These are the game-changing Pokemons that if developed and evolved, are “cards” that cannot be beaten.

Image taken from here

So, how about gamifying in a way our professional careers? If you could think of it in this way, how many low-level Pokemons do you possess? How many mid-level ones and do you feel that you have something that unique in your CV (like a rare pokemon), that could be characterized as a #Mewtwo skill? Or as a #Zapdos competence? And then, coming to think of it, do these rare skills ensure anything? Are you more employble having them, or are you more specialized and then maybe even more difficult to employ?

Isn’t it true that a trainer with more medium-level Pokemons that has trained them well and evolved them, can actually beat you in a fight? So it is like a #Mewtwo can beat three or more #Pikachus that are well trained? Sometimes not. I think that it’s clear that if any analogies apply between PokemonGo and your CV, it’s more or less the following:

  • Build from the bottom up. Start with some lesser Pokemons and some common skills that need to be there. Build a firm basis of skills in your domain, that will allow you to step on top of them to get to the next level. Nothing is too trivial, not even a proper command of the Microsoft Office Suite. Translation for PokemonGo players? “You need your #Jubat to get to your #Golbat”
  • Assess the added-value. Before you put the time into working on a skill too much, make sure that this will pay back. There’s no use into learning Microsoft Excel to its core, if you’re not going to use it. Acquire skills and competences on the degree you will be called to use them in the mid-term. Translation in PokemonGoish? “Don’t evolve this #Pidgeotto further unless you’re going into a fight with it…”
  • Don’t pursue Chimeras. Time spent in pursuing far-fetched dreams and goals can pay off eventually but can also be time wasted. Make sure that you’re doing what will pay off in the mid-term or if you dedicate yourself in a longterm commitment, make sure that you’ll come out of it strong and ready. In PokemonGo: “Don’t pass on the occassional #Pikachu for the wild dream of a #Mewtwo, unless you’re 100% positive it’s worth it”.
  • Don’t spread out too much. Assess the toolbox and skillset that you are going for. Don’t spread yourself over too many things. No one will believe you that you can handle all of them, no matter how good you really are. Keep your skills connected, create a path from one to another, a meaningful path that realistically connects and justifies them. Your CV is not a garbage can, nor a vacuum cleaner. Translation: “You’ll have to sacrifice some pokemon from your inventory to make room for the ones that you really need. No one will praise you for having caught 100 different pokemons if you don’t have a few well trained to help you win a fight”.

Having written the text, reading it again, I am not sure if it will make sense to most. I hope it will make sense to all the players out there. Either way, being a fan of analogies, assumptions, notions and metaphors, I know I’ve had my fun with this… 😉


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