The past few weeks have been absolutely exhausting for me. Between traveling for work, Blizzcon and a major content patch, I feel like I’ve been running at high speed for a month straight, without a moment to stop and catch my breath. In short, I’m absolutely exhausted. Now, I’m sure that I’m not the only person that is feeling overwhelmed and swamped. Actually, I’m positive of that. So I’m not going to sit here and whine about how, omg, I’m so busy and act as if my busy is more important/different than your busy. Because that would be preposterous…and, well, I recognize that’s just not true!
But what I did want to talk about was how those super busy moments can have a direct effect on your guild/raid. And to do that, I’m going to use some examples from my own failings the past few weeks – learn by other’s mistakes and all that, right?
Watch Your Temper/Make Sure Your Brain to Mouth Filter is Switched to ON!
If you are like me when you are tired, you tend to become irritable and cranky. You are probably going to have less tolerance for mistakes and poor play. And you are also likely to be less inhibited and diplomatic in what you say. Which, in and of itself, is fine…unless you offend somebody with your foul mood.
If you know that you are exhausted, cranky, or had a terrible day at the office that may spill over into your game play, just flat out come out and tell people. Now, I haven’t always done this – people would just whisper about how I must be in a bad mood because I am being an ass. They would joke about where my “defcon” level was, to the point that if I came home super pissed I would just add to the guild message of the day that my mood was “defcon level 5”, and largely people just expected me to blow up in vent at the point that the raid wasn’t performing well.
But you know what? It’s a pretty poor excuse. At least that’s how I felt. Even if I am in the worst possible mood ever, it’s pretty unfair of me to use that as an excuse to be a total crank, especially if I am supposed to be facilitating fun for a team of 25 people. And so I actively tried to fix that. How you wonder? Well, I try to do the following:
1) If I know that I’m particularly foul – before I log in I try to find a calm for myself. Have a cup of tea, play with the puppy a bit, get a good yell out…to nobody. But I try to separate my bad mood so that it doesn’t spill into the raid. After all it’s not their fault if I had a rough day.
2) In the event that finding your happy spot is ineffective, just straight up let your raid know that you are in a foul mood. I even go as far as pre-emptively apologizing if I am short during the evening and let people know that if I’m snappy they shouldn’t take it personally.
3) If you find yourself hugely annoyed/angry at the raid and have the urge to yell – get it out before hitting that push to talk button in vent. It’s a bit of a joke that sometimes people can hear me ranting in the background about something if Brade inadvertently hits his PTT while I’m venting. Besides, sometimes a good holler is therapeutic.
4) If you cross a line at some point – be the bigger person and admit that you’ve crossed that line and apologize for it. Don’t use your “bad day” as an excuse for the behavior, but it is OK to acknowledge that it was a contributing factor.
Now, I’m not going to guarantee that these things will always work, and that you won’t end up being a total grouch for an evening here and there, but they should help numb up the results of said grouchiness.
Let People Know That You Are Tired/Ill
Last night I was completely exhausted, and admittedly wasn’t performing in my best role as a raid leader. Now, to be fair, we are at the point that we are farming content, and most people could probably do it with a blindfold and one arm tied around their back. But we are still asking, and expecting, people to show up to raid ready to perform their best.
Once we finished with Festergut and Rotface someone asked “is there a reason we aren’t bloodlusting anymore?”. And I’m going to admit here that my first reaction was – why are we complaining about this when we clearly don’t need bloodlust for success. In fact, not only do we not need it for success, but we are mowing through content so quickly that often times we have to choose which bosses we want use our BL on, and purposefully not BL on other bosses to ensure that lust is still available.
My second reaction was – why didn’t you just ask for Bloodlust if it wasn’t called? I mean, honestly, why do I have to remember it 100% of the time? Which of course is hugely unfair…because hi, raid leader! It’s sort of your job to remember it.
Except I was tired, and it was most certainly effecting my ability to multifunction during the raid. I realized that I was spending more time worried about my own performance and less time worried about the actual raid’s performance because I was so damn tired that I just didn’t have the energy to do both as I normally would.
This isn’t the raid’s fault, and it certainly isn’t fair for me to get peeved about it when I am usually the person that handles things like bloodlust calls. And while, sure, we obviously don’t need bloodlust if we are expecting people to perform their best – it’s only fair that they have the expectation they will be provided with all of the tools to perform.
Of course being tired does more than affect your ability to help drive your raid – you could also do things like start the gunship encounter with half your raid not on the boat while attempting to acquire your rocket pack, not that I would know anything about that. *whistles*
If you find yourself in a position where you feel/know that you aren’t going to be 100% let people know!
1) Tell your leadership team “Guys, I’m exhausted tonight, any help you can give during the raid would be appreciated”.
2) Tell your raid team that you are not 100% and let them know that it’s OK to offer up things like “BL?” if you miss it.
Keeping people informed that you might not be at your peak will help make things smoother for everyone. Because hey, you’re only human too!
You Aren’t Immune from Pre-Expansion Malaise – But You Shouldn’t Forget Your Responsibilities!
This is almost a point that I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I’ve fallen into the “naughty” category on. You see last night as I was working through a lifebloom power aura issue in vent, one of our new recruits was listening in and offering commentary here and there as we were chatting. As the conversation went less power aura and more things in general (like pondering WHY Canadians seemed perpetually cranky!), he pipes in and asks “speaking of performance…how am I doing? I haven’t really heard anything, and I don’t know if that is good or bad”.
Now I’m going to be frank here with you all – this was a huge failure on my part. Generally when we have new recruits join us I follow up with them at least once a week during their trial period to see if they have any questions, ask how they are doing, ask if they have concerns, etc. Taking a personal interest in each of our recruits and making them feel like Monolith is a home for them is something that I pride myself in.
And with everything that has been going on, and the malaise that has been starting to cover everything, I haven’t spent as much time online as I usually do. But not only that, I didn’t do one of the key things in our recruitment that I think is imperative. Nor did I delegate the responsibility of following up with recruits to our new recruitment officer.
Regardless of Malaise or exhaustion or burnout – it’s important that key things like recruitment not get nudged to the back burner! If you are unable to handle them yourself, for whatever reason, delegate the responsibility to someone else and ask them to help you with it! And – if you find that because of the pre-expansion blues you aren’t spending much time online, perhaps re-evaluate that. I’m certainly not saying you should force yourself to play, but you absolutely should make yourself available for discussions at least once a day.
For me – I picked up another alt so that I had something to occupy my time, while keeping an open presence in the guild to deal with issues or answer questions. And oddly enough, it’s invigorated the game for me a little bit here at the end of the expansion.
Our recruit? Well, we were honest with him. We flat out told him that it was a failure of the leadership and apologized to him for not having given him some feedback (but also assured him that had there been a problem, he would have heard something from us!). And oddly enough all but one of the officers was in vent last night and everyone took a little bit of the blame for our oversight. It doesn’t make it right, but I think he understood.
Those not in Leadership Need to Remember that your Leaders Have Off Days Too!
This one is more a point for all of those that aren’t in serving in a leadership capacity – hey! We aren’t superman! We have bad days and off days too! We make mistakes! Accept that sometimes the people in charge also get tired, burnt out, or have a bad day. Hey, sometimes they’ll forget to call for that bloodlust, or forget to tell you that you’re doing a great job.
The best thing for you to do is to offer help when asked and to be understanding. Being part of guild leadership is a thankless task – and I don’t really expect that to change. But you can help make it easier on those that work hard for you to have fun!
Are you in a leadership position – if so what do you do when you are having a bad day? How has the upcoming expansion affected how you interact with your guild? Have you made mistakes and/or gotten lazy with some of your day to day responsibilities? If you aren’t in a leadership position – how have you reacted to a member of your leadership being off of their game? Do you wish that there were things that they had/would do differently?