Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Corporate Employee

Over the last week or so I have engaged several people in conversation about their corporations. Or, to be more exact, I have asked them why are they with the corporation they are with. This is not a question I pose to people randomly. My goal is not to place anyone on the defensive. Nor am I attempting to recruit anyone. But I listen, as is my nature, and eventually I ask, “Why are you where you are?” when they seem unhappy, restricted, and wanting.

Corporate loyalty is an interesting problem in Eve. I do not mean loyalty to the corporation. I am intensely loyal to my corporation. I will happily help Vov steal from a corporation he has infiltrated. I would never steal from my own. Nor, do I believe he would steal from his true home corporation.  But corporate loyalty, the point where someone stays with a corporation because of social connections to individuals or memories or responsibilities inside of the corporation even when the corporation has become the reason they are not playing, is a problem in Eve. It traps people into a cycle of responsibility, angst, and frustration. Many people solve it by no longer logging in instead of facing the situation.

When work is done it is done by the person assigned to do the work. In a real world corporation that person is an employee. In some real world corporations they use nice words such as team member and associate in an effort to uplift the employee from their status of employee and empower them to feel as if they are important and matter. In many ways these real world aspects trickle over into our pixel corporate empires in Eve. We are not guilds of losely associated individuals but we are corporations with entire complex structures to keep our game group up and running.

The value of a corporation member is a topic of much contention. Activity is important. People need to log in or if not log in be able to be contacted. The corporation as a whole needs to do things and have people around. After that it starts to filter down to the individual goals of a corporation as to what makes people valuable.

I am three things for 7-2.
  • I am the corporation diplomat. I volunteered when DP asked if anyone was interested/willing. In general I am easy to talk to, I log on pretty much daily, and I like responding to chat conversations and Eve mails. I also have a default behavioral pattern of being polite to people. DP picked me and I have the work lord of now and then telling someone that we don’t do blues.
  • I am a member of the corporate logistics team. It is not a role or title per say. It is a choice. 7-2 did acquire me with my market habits already. Due to my close association with them I had always loosely handled logistics for them. With my official entry into the corp it became more official but never an assigned duty or title. If I decided to stop running corporate logistics tomorrow that would be fine.
  • The third is what every member of 7-2 is; a combat pilot.
This is how I define myself inside of 7-2. For the past few weeks I have not been very active in combat. I have a litany of reasons for it. Work, my husband coming home after being on a trip for a month, work, my mom, work some more, and having a cold the past several days. PvP is exhausting and if I am not up to it mentally I avoid it instead of making myself a liability. Instead, I put my time into things that I enjoy and won’t grate at my overtaxed mind.

I feel a mild guilt for not PvPing more. But it is a personal guilt and not one given to me by anyone. To overcome my own feelings of guilt I need to do rational things such as look around me and realize that no one else is saying anything. My corporation members are not afraid to open their mouths and tell me what they think. My corporation is rational. My work day starts at 0500. I can’t stay up for late fleets on work nights. My corp members have the ability to say, “thank you” for things. The list goes on and on but it sums up the fact that I get back from my corporation. I don’t just put in.

Yet, it would be easy to become entangled and miserable in these self-assumed responsibilities. I might wind up in a position where I do not have the time to handle my responsibilities. I might stop enjoying them.  My corporation might die or change its plans and run off to Sov null (heaven forbid).

Corporations die and people find themselves locked in memories past. It is not unusual for tastes to change. A person may start feeling a wistful desire to plunge into a more reckless lifestyle and feel themselves fettered by responsibilities to others. “They need me. I can’t go without talking to them.” And then weeks pass. Months. A year. They are strained all the way to the edge of their connection but unwilling to let the last strands fray.

Sometimes it is just the need for a comfortable fallback. A place where the individual does not fit but fits well enough. And the decision has to be made about what is enough. A comfortable corporation may not be the best fit but it may be a good fit. Often times there are places where the fit may be better but the obligation to that fit may be worse.  Such as corporations with activity requirements. Killboard requirements. Such activity reports can both motivate and demotivate depending on the individual circumstance. In October I barely PvPed. I traveled to Eve Vegas and I participated in a timed, fiction writing contest. While I may hope that such activities would be understood by a corporation I have to be rational and remember that people still have their wants and needs. We scoff and ridicule 'serious' and 'elite' organizations to the point that people do not admit that is what they consider themselves. But, they still behave in that way. Commitments are made and promises can still be broken, even in a virtual society.

The other day I discussed my spaceship resume. It is what I bring to the corporation. While we fall over ourselves applying to a corporation and offering ourselves the reverse must, to some extent also happen. The corporation must have something to offer. Most can tick off a half dozen corporations that they would apply to because the corporation brings something to them. But for some, their loyalty traps them in a vamperic connection where they do and the corporation takes, leaving them an empty, unsatisfied husk.

My two friends are in different situations. One is young and untried, an eagle that has not flown on his own. He is stuck with familiarity and assumed responsibility when what he wants to do is hunt and soar. But there is worry there to. Worry about the unknown. Will someplace else be better/t is a question that cannot be answered and only experienced. My yes is your no and your no is my perhaps.

The other is a grizzled veteran who has been out into the world and returned. He seems to strain at the edges of his confines but when I ask him why he tolerates them he says that he is more comfortable where he is. I have to respect that. His choice is made truly. There may be no better place so he takes what works the best in the most ways.

Evaluating where one is and why one has chosen to be there happens quite often in the game. Our corporations (or lack of them) are major parts of the game that we play. They are one of the most basic conduits to the mulitplayer side of Eve. They mold our gaming experience for good or for bad. They do matter. But unlike NPC missions and the shape of a ship, they are not static things that we cannot change. And if someone is unhappy in their home they should at least look at the cost of moving. Maybe it will be worth the career change or maybe staying with the familiar place of employment is the better choice.

2 comments:

  1. This resonates if only on many levels...

    HBHI has lost Mikey who wanted moar experience in lower class holes, Mab who is off doing the Lone Industrialist thing again... Of our co-Directors, my son, is now Permanent Duty Station in Korea, placing his TZ directly opposite ours... my late night will be his early morning...

    Plus those Illustrious Bastards, SYJ, our Alliance has run off to (NPC) null... (yuch) to become the next RnK or PL... gameplay that, TBH, none of our guys are really interested in because we would simply be the tools used to take and hold moongoo wealth "for the Alliance"...

    I for one do not favor the concept of working my ass off to make someone 'else' rich no matter how much PvP is promised (keeping in mind that the vast majority of Null is still NAPed up and as Blue as ever, if not moar so...) I do enough of making others richer IRL...

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