But He’s Been Here Forever

In my guild, we have a long-time mem­ber, I’ll call him Mark. He’s a good and friend­ly per­son, but he’s def­i­nite­ly not offi­cer mate­r­i­al. Pas­sive-aggres­sive, flaky, self-cen­tered. Mark’s been pin­ing for offi­cer­ship for years.

I haven’t been in offi­cer­ship for a while (because I’ve been raid­ing more dia­pers than instances), but I was sur­prised to learn of Mark’s recent pro­mo­tion to offi­cer.

An offi­cer friend chat­ted me up:

“Hey, how you doing?”

“Good. So what hap­pened with Mark?”

<pause>

“What do you mean?”

“I could­n’t help but notice that he’s an offi­cer now.”

“Yeah.”

“So, what hap­pened?”

<pause>

“Well, he’s been here for­ev­er…”

Oh… crap.

You might think that say­ing that some­one is flaky and self-cen­tered is harsh. It isn’t. We’re not talk­ing about how he is in guild chat, how fun he is to play with, or how much he loves his moth­er. We’re talk­ing about his lead­er­ship abil­i­ties.

Does this make me a jerk? Eh, prob­a­bly. It’d be nicer to just focus on why we like hav­ing him around and why every­one greets him when he logs on.

But lead­ing a guild isn’t hang­ing out with some­one, or rem­i­nisc­ing over the good times. It’s very much like run­ning a business–it’s just that your guild’s busi­ness is Fun. You have to make sure that the lead­ers of the orga­ni­za­tion are active­ly ped­al­ing the orga­ni­za­tion in the direc­tion of that goal. If your goal was to make mon­ey, would you hire some­one who caused you to lose mon­ey? If your goal was to hand out toys to kids, would you hire some­one who broke half the toys?

What­ev­er the goal of your guild, whether it’s raid­ing, pvping, lev­el­ing, role­play­ing, or any­thing else, being an offi­cer is shar­ing the mechan­i­cal and social bur­den of run­ning the guild. Noth­ing else. Being an offi­cer is not a reward and it is not a way to retain guild mem­bers. Offi­cers exist for no rea­son oth­er than to help run the guild. Strong friend­ships often do grow from peo­ple shar­ing offi­cer duties, but you can’t con­fuse this with the work that needs to be done. Two offi­cers might end up being good friends, but two friends might not end up being good offi­cers.

But what’s the down­side? Sure, Mark might not real­ly help that much, but what does it hurt to have him there?

If some­one is an offi­cer and does not reduce the amount of work, or worse, adds to the amount of work, then the even­tu­al reac­tion of every­one actu­al­ly doing the work is, and I quote:

“What the $#%@?”

Hav­ing Mark there means that the oth­er offi­cers are doing every­thing they had to do before while car­ry­ing Mark’s dead weight, and he hap­pens to be run­ning around with the same title that they are. Mark gets all of the pride of “being part” of run­ning a suc­cess­ful guild and isn’t doing any of the work! This low­ers morale for the work­ing offi­cers, whether they’re aware of this fact or not.

It might feel good or noble to ignore Mark’s down­side as you pro­mote him, but it’s choic­es like this that sub­tly weak­en a guild and make it less resilient to the entropy and dra­ma that is a long-term guild’s con­stant com­pan­ion.

So when you think of adding to the guild lead­er­ship, ask the oth­er offi­cers: “What exact­ly will this per­son help us with? How is hav­ing this per­son pro­mot­ed going to make us stronger as a group?” List those rea­sons. Be fair, be impar­tial, but be hon­est. Make sure that your prospec­tive offi­cer brings enough sub­stance to the role.

Being in the guild for­ev­er?

Not even close.

More Words!

2 thoughts on “But He’s Been Here Forever”

  1. This comes at an inter­est­ing time.

    My hus­band just resigned his offi­cer­ship in our guild and I’m think­ing of fol­low­ing suit. We’re get­ting no job sat­is­fac­tion from offi­cer­ship any­more, all the work, none of the ben­e­fits, all of the ulcers (in the case of Boon), and for me, a blow-up a few months back has me abstain­ing from all offi­cer-relat­ed duties and respon­si­bil­i­ties. Which makes me won­der if I’m not dead-weight in the offi­cer chan­nel myself. I’ve basi­cal­ly scaled back all my par­tic­i­pa­tion to: ‘some­one needs a guild invite? okay, name?’ And that hard­ly seems fair.

    And it’s interefer­ing with our friend­ship with our guild leader, who we’re good friends with… unless we’re dis­cussing guild pol­i­cy, then we seem to be at odds with all the time.

    It just does­n’t seem worth it any­more.

  2. Hey Kiki­das! Most of the time, a per­son­’s instincts on these mat­ters is cor­rect. I always coun­sel con­flict­ed offi­cers to try to com­mu­ni­cate the prob­lems with the GM first. It sounds like you already have, though. If it’s already got­ten in the way of your friend­ship, maybe a grace­ful descent is the right move? There’s no need to have a cloud hang­ing over you.

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