How being a gamer led me to earn a 6 figure salary as a 25 year old – part 1

Gaming has been a large part of my life and apart of who I am today. For as long as I can remember I have been gaming. I remember when I was 4 years old, on my tip toes and my arms fully extended and crossed trying to look above the table top behind my brother as he grinded Old School Runescape. I wasn’t old enough to play. As I grew older, I remember getting beat in every single game we played because he was older, wiser and had the ‘big brother’ plot armour buff. I also remember the day I finally beat him. It was the day everything began possible (I’m joking but its not too far from the truth). As I grew into my 20s and entered the workforce, the life lessons I learnt from gaming has led me to earn a six figure salary at 25 and I hope to share these with you today.

You can level up if you’re willing to grind for it.

When starting out in your ‘career’ or any job really, you don’t have any skills. I remember my primary school years, these were the years of Runescape. There are a lot of memories of PKing (Player vs Player combat) in the wilderness enough that my IGN (in game name) was ‘Pker74’. I remember seeing greenhide armour when first starting out and I thought it was the coolest looking armour. I researched how to get there and it required 40 range. That was all I needed, I bought a bow and bronze arrows and off I went to lumbridge cows to farm cows for ranged experience but also for their cow hides to sell at the GE (grand exchange – marketplace to sell goods) later. It took me forever but that sense of grinding was rewarding at the time. When I hit 40, I took the hundreds of cowhides and I sold for enough gold to buy the green dragon hide. That’s a feeling I will remember for a long time. Now, contrasting this to the beginning of my career.

I started by washing dishes and remembering vividly washing 700-1000 dishes per day. I hated it. The owners were paying people in cash @$10/hour and I remember seeing $25/hour on my PAYG. They were clearly doing something dodgy but I didn’t realise it at the time. Ironically, the work ethic I developed from doing a job I hate led me to my next position, a JB Hi-Fi inventory manager. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was on the hunt for a job but didn’t know how to get one. I found myself in JB Hi-Fi in Parramatta asking to talk to the store manager. One of the sales people said he was at lunch and would be back in 30 minutes. I walked around and came back and asked again. The manager, Brad, called me to the back and gave me a “pseudo-interview” on the spot. I told him what I did, how many dishes I washed a day and surprisingly he offered me a position. I went from making $10/hour to $17 – $20 (depending on weekend rates).

Takeaway: When you have no skills when first starting out, work ethic is the only thing that differentiates you as you build those skills. Other people might be more experienced than you and know more people but theres nothing stopping you from putting in the hours. I remember at JB I would work my rostered hours and put in 1 ‘pro-bono’ hour dedicated to ‘getting better’ whatever I thought I could improve at the time. Mathematically, if you spend 1 additional hour every day vs everyone else, that’s 5 hours a week, 20 hours a month and 240 hours or 20 DAYS each year. It adds up in the end.

This is me at Intel Extreme Masters ESL in Sydney, 2018.

When first starting out, don’t focus on your reputation, focus on the quality of your output.

During high school, I was big into MMO’s (Maplestory and WoW). These games have a guild system where people join a faction or a larger group of people that you can partner with for quests or bigger, more difficult boss battles that lead to better gear and more prestigious achievements. Whether you’re the new person in the guild or a new person starting a job at a company, your reputation is developed through the actions you perform every day and what influence you have in making others lives easier. I remember in Maplestory when we were in a boss fight against Zakuum, I was worried about how much damage I would put out during the fight and couldn’t string together skills as well as I could when playing alone. I was worried about what others thought about me. The more I played, the more I realised everyone was doing exactly the same as me and they didn’t have time to focus on others play. Once I started to focus on my damage output and correctly casting my spells my damage output jumped considerably and ironically, thats when people started to notice.

When starting at Blackwoods (this was a big organisation with around 2000 people) it was a bit overwhelming at first because you receive requests from people you don’t know or never heard of and there’s so many different quests going on and you’re wondering what are the main quests and which one are side quests. It is a bit overwhelming at first but as I started getting familiar with people’s names, what they did, how everyone worked together, it started to make sense, I just had to persevere. Contrasting this to my Maplestory example, it was the same thing. Everyone was focused on what they were doing and no one cared what I did or wasn’t doing but when the quality of work that I was producing started to make their life easier then they start to notice and THEN my reputation for being a high-performer that delivers high quality work was developed.

Twitch streamer – Battle Royale games mainly (Fortnite, PUBG)

VOD Link (2018) – https://www.twitch.tv/videos/262980788

You can’t rush the process, go through the process first THEN optimise, don’t prematurely optimise your spell rotation

In league of legends there are so many champions. Each champion has a different set of 3 basic spells and 1 ultimate. You can use these spells in any order you want and whenever you wanted, given you had the mana for it. I remember when first starting out, I would cast all my spells at once in any order just to do the damage. This didn’t seem like a problem to me at the time. It wasn’t until I was playing with of my close friends, Nathan when I realised that not only is timing important but ORDER MATTERS. In league, you had spells that buff certain stats that make your spells stronger so hitting them does MORE than if you had did the other way around. I started to think about which order I should be doing things, should I auto first then cast me spell, then do the next thing or should I do the last thing first, then cast a spell then auto. The point here is the order in which you do things to maximise damage MATTERS. How does this apply to work?

I recently started at one of the biggest tech companies in the world that creates software that is used daily by millions When starting, there was so much information to digest, how things worked by themselves, the algorithms that sit in the background, how these things worked together with other components of the business, the thousands of people in this business (100,000+ employees), again, it was all a lot to take in. I wanted a system where I could be effective at my job as quickly as possible. What I quickly realised is that I tried to skip steps during the learning process and it created gaps in my knowledge because I had discounted that information because I didn’t see a use for it at the time.

Takeaway: You can’t skip steps in the learning process, all you can do it put in the hours every day and things will start to make sense, for me it was at the 2-3 month mark. Once they start making sense, then optimise. If you optimise too early, you will miss out information you thought wasn’t important at the time but was.

Thanks for reading – Part 2 coming soon!

Cheers,

Richard

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