Thursday, 25 March 2010

When RP and RL collide.

I'm currently undertaking the utter joy that is management training, normally the bastion of prickly-armits-of-shame inducing role play. I got through all of yesterday having not had to take part in, or watch any role play, or even any having any inkling that it would be on the cards. I was celebrating internally, like you do (I imagined little cakes that have RP in a circle with a slash through them, kind of like a road sign, being handed out to all delegates and us having a group hug to seal the deal) and feeling huge relief that finally trainers, sorry, facilitators as I understand they now like to be called, have cottoned on to the fact that no-one enjoys RP (except the select few exhibitionists) in front of their colleagues in twitish, unrealistic scenarios.

As is the way with these courses, in my experience anyway, there are a given number of you, on this (3 day) course there are fifteen (including me). Out of these people two, maybe three will be people who are cracking and you would, outside the work environment, want to spend time with them. Six or seven you will feel fairly neutral about which leaves the remaining uh... four or five as that special, bottom of the gene pool, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging fuckwits, ones that you cannot, for the life of you, envisage a set of circumstances in which you would want to breathe the same air as them. Everytime they open their mouth (which, by the way is often, I find these sorts of people to be very vocal), glance your way, move (breathe!) you wish you had the ability to silently and permanently silence them. What I actually mean, of course, is vapourize them. Ho-hum. This, in case you hadn't gathered, makes the group work aspects potentially fun. Or something. I was asked today, sotto voce of course, by one of the cracking ones, who, by the way is called Sullie, god bless her parents for that, if I was actually having trouble restraining myself from biting one of them...

And why when they are putting you into 'random' groups can they just not give you a number??? Lots of groups - it's one to three then. Fewer groups, it's one to five. But this would remove the fun of writing fucktard things on cards and making you walk around saying things like 'I'm Alice, who are you?' (characters from Alice in Wonderland) or better still, in my case, giving you a card saying 'Baby' and making you find the other Spice Girls. I wish I was making this up. I am as far removed from Baby Spice as it is possible to be whilst still being female and human. Sporty, natch was the highly overweight (even by my lax standards, I'm no svelte angel I assure you), going bald, middle aged man. Scary was the meek middle aged woman wearing a hand knitted jumper... I'm chewing my fingernails to bleeding stumps just recalling this.

Anyways, another of the cracking three is a chap who works in IT who we will call Ross, being as how y'know, that's his name. Ross and I had gotten into 'trouble' yesterday, for being slightly 'hyper-critical' of one of the opinionated (Daily Mail reader stylee) asshats due to his ability to totally derail the discussion and turn it into yet another example of his uber-leet 'management style'. Being told off, of course, only re-enforces the bond, natch, so by the end of yesterday we were making a significant effort not to catch each other's eye due to the snigger-snort factor. Today we amble in and grab coffee. Ross sits next to me and we shoot the breeze and as the caffeine begins to kick in I notice his t-shirt. You've guessed by now where this is going haven't you? He was wearing a dark shirt with a blue logo on it. And that blue logo represented what boys and girls? That's right, it was the Alliance symbol. (I would like to add this has never happened to me before, I have never met a random person who I know with 100% certainty plays WoW, unless you count the time where I was having coffee with my mother and some incredible loudmouth on the next table was bragging about his (less than successful) raid to, uh, I can't remember exactly where now, and my mother said, in her very carrying voice, 'Darling do you think you'll still be playing that ridiculous game when you're as old as him or do you think you may have grown out of it by then?' (I was possibly 31 at the time. He was on the wrong side of 45.) If looks could kill I wouldn't be writing this post, that's for sure.)

Back to today though. I say, in my best snarky tone, 'Nice t-shirt Ross, bet you like playing your death knight.' Ross nearly falls off his chair. Then, of course, we gabble at each other about race, class, spec and server. Turns out he plays on an RP server as well - Moonglade in fact. He's amazingly knowledgable about lore and RP and very encouraging of the baby steps I have taken so far. Then, don't you know it, we have to pay attention to the training and inevitably it involves role play. I'm not going to go into the cringe inducing details. Ross and I are inevitably paired up and we fail miserably to do what we should do. Later on, again, I'm not making this up, we do an exercise around 'effective listening'. In a nutshell we have to listen to the trainer facilitator read us a fairy story. We are not told why, but told we can take notes. We spend the time scribbling the WoW version... and trying not to giggle helplessly. Then we have to state 'true' or 'false' to twelve statements. And of course, it's all bollocks: 'True or false, Griselda was a wicked witch?' 'True or false, the victorious stranger was a knight?' etc etc. And inevitably we (along with most of the group) get all the answers wrong, because it was designed to prove how much we assume rather than listen. When he asked why we made all these assumptions I made a remark about fairy-tales being oppressive studies in gender politics (because I was pissed off with idiotic exercises) and the facilitator said, in a fairly defensive manner, that I was missing the point. Ross muttered, 'You play a priest. Hit your Fade button and dump the aggro onto the mage.' I corpsed so badly I had to leave the room. I'm actually worried that I'm going to have to explain this situation to my manager when she receives feedback from the facilitators that I wasn't my usual angelic self. Can you even begin to imagine how I'll explain it?? Oh and I have another day to get through tomorrow. It's slightly scary actually, how much (more) trouble we could potentially land ourselves in...


  1. I actually giggled a bit reading this, I love those kind of situations! Not the training courses.. they can diaf, and yes, there are usually a tiny handful of people worth talking to. Think I kept in touch with one of them after the last one I did. He used to play WoW in vanilla and constantly mocks me about me playing it :P

  2. I was writing this saying to myself 'You couldn't make this up. And it would only happen on these types of courses.'

    It took me a while to write as I had to re-corpse again (and for a third time when I was recounting it to the Other Half). I'm going to have to spend tomorrow thinking about mean druids moonfiring baby bunnies or something so I don't die on my ass again...

  3. Awww, that sounds fantastic. I've never actually met anyone at large in the world who I know for certain plays WoW either - especially because I conceal it like a crack habit.

  4. Tam, I still think that you should wear your Authenticator around your neck regardless of any issues this might cause vis a vis potential romantic entanglements...!

  5. Ah, you've stumbled across one of the hidden benefits of roleplaying: it gives you a huge advantage in management courses & interviews. Once you've got used to talking in character, you can just "be" the person they're looking for for 15 minutes and "hey presto!".