Two Years of Stress – Grass Pants Muses on guild leadership (Part One)

Ever since I started Grass Pants, there have been two posts I’ve dreaded writing: This post and the sadly-inevitable “Grass Pants Is Shutting Down.” Thankfully, I get to do the lesser of two evils today. Be warned, this is a pretty hard topic for me to go back to (for a number of reasons), so I may get a little bitter or rant-y. Also, language warning for those of you who don’t like that stuff. Let’s get started.

So, some background first. Last night, I was playing Guild Wars 2 as I often do (number two reason for why nothing gets done around here lately; number one is me procrastinating!) in the evening. I’m messing around when my guild leader shows up. Let me just say that this guy is the nicest dude ever and, after our conversation, I legitimately felt bad for him. That doesn’t happen often for people I’ve known for about two months.

He came to us with bad news: He wouldn’t be able to attend the event we’d had planned for weeks, but he still let us have it if we liked the idea. Understandable, though. Work’s more important than virtual shinies and stuff. He also explained how running the guild was just so utterly draining and then, as a side remark, that a lack of participation was part of it. Here’s this great guy, coming up with these cool roleplaying events with a fairly unique guild concept… and nobody shows up. He understands that people can’t be online forever, but these people were on. They were on, but representing other guilds, despite knowing that we’re doin’ stuff. Long story short, the next thirty-odd minutes was him venting about how stressful it is and how he feels like shit that nobody shows up, despite being online and showing interest a few days before.

Speaking as a former guild leader, he’s completely right. Back in World of Warcraft, I tried my hand at it, and it amounted to nothing but two years of stress. Sure, I met some great people from it, but in the end, I wish I’d stopped sooner. For all you non-guild leader-y people out there, imagine this. You, likely someone of average or sub-average skill/charisma/whatever, are trying to set up a group with a fair amount of strangers. A social group, really, dedicated to whatever the hell you guys want to do. Now imagine that you’re competing with every other group with similar goals. People who have been doing this longer, who have a more dedicate ‘core’ group, who have better management skills. Now imagine you set up an event, something cool and fairly unique that you thought of and everyone’s excited about. You give them weeks of advance notice, being totally okay that they might have work or family stuff to do, because you’re a good guy like that!

Then the day of the event comes. You’re ready, you’re excited, you’re counting down the seconds to the event. Fifteen minutes to go and people start to log on!… Onto other characters or representing other guilds. Alright, maybe they forgot. So you send them a friendly PM, just to let them know that stuff’s going down. They know. They’re not coming for whatever reason. Speaking as a guy who’s had this happen time and time again? That hurts. I mean, it sounds silly, but you put so many hours into making this the best damn whatever-it-is ever, but nobody cares enough to show up. This hurt is doubled if you, like me and my guild leader, have crazy social anxiety (although mine’s only for online socializing, which is weird) that you had to overcome. You feel good that you managed to get this far… then it all goes to hell.

I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but it’s been going on entirely too long. I think I’ll break it up into two posts and deal with some of the more leadership stuff later on. Just… if you’re in a group or guild or whatever, try to be there for the guy putting all this stuff together. It’s fine if you’ve got work or studying or whatever, but don’t log on and blow him off. Anyway, more stuff coming soon hopefully. My cold’s going away and my workload for class lessened. So, yeah, thanks for reading and have a good’un.

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