How I Used D&D To Win At Work

A long-time RPT reader, Forrest Elam, sent me this neat story below from one of his players. It tells how she used her GM skills to conquer her day job in fine fashion. Congrats on the coup, T. And thanks for sending me this, Forrest.

How I Used D&D To Win At Work

By T.

Here is a story about how being a GM became a useful skill at work.

At work, I have changed positions and departments. I am no longer a buyer/planner in production control.  I am now QA, focusing on End Item Data Packages. EIDP is the volume of paperwork that is required to ship with space qualified product.

All documentation for space product must be perfect: all blanks must be filled, all operational steps signed and dated, all data at all temperatures compliant, all test conditions set-up correctly, all epoxy samples accounted for, etc. into finite detail.

A small EIDP is about 20 pages. A large EIDP is currently on its 14th three inch binder. Average EIDP is 300-600 pages for each unit. My position is a newly created position. Nobody was handling and organizing this stuff before. Because of that lack of oversight, it has made us look unprofessional to our customers, sloppy paperwork and all.

So, my story begins Dec. 23, 2010 when I get the 500 page books for three qualification units. I look through the books, verifying accuracy, making sure everything is pretty, perfect, and complete. Sadly, the books are not. There are so many errors and incomplete information, it is not funny and I start swearing to myself while I compose a three page email to the test group supervisor, production supervisor, and copy my boss. I detailed out everything that was not acceptable and would be rejected by the customer source inspector. I left it at that point as I was preparing for Christmas eve and I didn’t want the weekend marred by these frustrations.

Monday the 27th, I get the next six books for the flight units of the same model, approx 350 pages each.The frustration and the swearing builds as I detail everything that is incomplete with each of these books. At the end of the day, I send out another email telling people how ugly the flight books are and that they are no better than the books for the qual units. I went home feeling the pressure of how the hell I was going to ship this $500K by the end of the year with source inspection on Wednesday.

Tuesday morning, I express my frustration to my boss. This week was supposed to be end of year factory shut down so there was only a skeleton crew working. I made a decision that I can’t fix all of this by myself and asked my boss to call in the test group from their time off. He managed to get a hold of the entire group. (except the supervisor who was on a cruise.)

I made copies of my emails and had them with the books. The first couple of people to come in set-up camp in the cafeteria where there was plenty of room to fold out the large books.  By 1pm, I had a four ring circus going in the cafeteria. All nine books were laid out, the details were laid out, the rules and expectations were laid out.  There I was in the center of it all, answering questions, giving directions, conducting all these people to get these books cleaned and perfect under a time crunch.

I was directing the VP of QA, the Director of Operations, the Director of Program Management, the program manager for this order, the Production Manager, the production floor supervisor, and at least five technicians, and occasionally two other QA people and an engineer.  Every now and then, I would look up and see other techs and assemblers (once or twice my boss and the president of the company) standing on the fringes of the cafeteria watching the spectacle play out.  (If I wasn’t in the middle of it, it probably would have seemed scary funny.)

Five hours later, the books were greatly improved and the technicians were sent home.  It took myself and a couple other people with signing authority another two hours to finish the books, but the books were done before the customer inspector showed on Wednesday and we shipped a half mill.

If it wasn’t for the practice I got as a GM and working cooperatively with a large group, I would not have been able to handle the circus that Tuesday. I got so many compliments about how that day went, how everything was organized and the level of cooperation from all participants. I couldn’t have done it without D&D. I wouldn’t have had the practice of twelve people throwing questions and information at me at the same time. GM, a good skill to have, too bad it doesn’t work on most resumes.

Got any work stories of your own?

I use my GM skills at work all the time. Especially thinking on my feet and staying organized. How about you? Got any work war stories where your skills from GMing saved the day?

Comments

  1. says

    I have a friend who is training to be a teacher, and through the course of both his placements, and his teaching course, I have often helped him find his way by reminding him to use his GM skills and apply them to the task at hand.

    After all, when you are an experienced GM, there’s not much that you cannot apply your GM skills to in the modern working environment. Teaching is a primary example.

  2. Porshadoxus says

    I’ve played RPGs for years. As a teacher, I put my DM experience to work with a small class of 5th graders. I set up and we played a small Medieval campaign to explore the Middle Ages. All the students had a great time hunting the evil Baron. Although I was surprised to find that the girls in the class seemed to enjoy slaying bad guys far more than the boys in the class.

  3. Cyrus says

    I’ve been working in Corporate Human Resources for a while now.

    My years spent playing D&D helped with everything I do; employee relations, presentations, training, and project management. It has also made me a fairly good public speaker and awesome at figuring out how stuff works on the fly.

    The “Guy from HR” plays D&D too!