Keep your chin up and maintain your radiance, even as the job market Crits you

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (2005)

We’re at that time again, fellow lemmings, time that I left my job to get a new one. For a start, I can tell you that I’ve never subscribed to this whole theory of never leaving a job unless you’ve something else lined up. I suppose there’s that mature fear where you’ll turn out to be a wee bit less of a tantalising employment prospect than you had thought, which is always a hefty blow. Not to mention it makes the mortgage payment look about ten times bigger.

But you can’t tell me that you just become immediately unemployable on the Friday afternoon that you finish up. The last job I left, no sooner had I given a fairly rubbish speech than I was out the door and in a car, booting to the airport for a drunken weekend in one of my favourite cities, Liverpool. When I got home on the Sunday, I was able to sleep through the Monday while the other plankton had to go to work. It was great – I felt like Ferris Bueller.

I did have to begin the job hunt soon enough, of course, even though we’ve got a hell of a generous dole. And of course I did eventually rejoin adulthood and get another job. But what it meant was a nice two months off for me in some seriously sunny weather, borderline scorchio. So that was me leaving a bad job, having a bit of time to meself, before going into a much better one, having had bundles of time to sunbathe.

It doesn’t get much better than that does it? Well of course it does, I could be part of the idle rich ranks, another eccentric longneck from the landed gentry, and spend all my time writing rubbish like this. Well, maybe I’ve got the best of both worlds. Either way, I highly recommend leaving a nice luxurious gap like this between all your employment stints. After all, we tend to leave a job only when we truly can’t stick it anymore. Who wouldn’t need a bit of time to recuperate?

Can you imagine leaving an awful working scenario Friday, and walking into an even worse fire on the Monday? My mental health ain’t built for that, baby, and I don’t need to take any mental health days on the job – I take ’em in between, very American. Of course, you don’t always have to be leaving a concentration camp day job. It may simply be that you could get a lot more money elsewhere, and here we get to the nub of it.

Listen, it doesn’t matter if we’re manning soup kitchens, selling beige office supplies or drilling for oil in mink coats, ethics and personal principles shouldn’t enter it. The major denominator in any job is how much cashola you’ll be getting. I don’t want to hear any moral bleating, that’s always the way it is. But sometimes we can’t say that.

Seriously, you try doing a job interview and waiting for that old chestnut question “why do you want to come to work for Tedium Inc”. Give them an honest answer here, tell them that the salary on offer would change your life until you become too quickly adjusted to your means, and not realise until your deathbed that actually, that was enough and you didn’t need to chase more money and responsibility.

Tell the interviewer that it’s some serious bread, or in nicer terms that the remuneration is very generous going forward, or even that your primary motivation is that you’ll be able to eat better food than chewing gum and mould that month, and watch what happens. Watch this spotty cohort prat of an interviewer scribbling furiously in his clipboard instead. Wrong answer sunbeam, and that’s another interview and ergo another afternoon’s wear out of your suit gone. But at least you can exhale and release your gut now.

It’s ridiculous really. Companies can be brazen about how they’re trying to win as much cheddar as possible, so why can’t the employees? It’s even become frowned upon to discuss one’s salary with your own team, but ask yourself: who loses out on that deal? Actually, if I learned that useless people I work with made more than me, I couldn’t be held responsible for my actions, so perhaps that’s a good thing after all.

So I ask you – what’s wrong with being a money chasing mercenary? Not an awful lot, so long as you’re good at what you do, I profess. But I need to go to that eternal font of knowledge, the Nintendo GameCube, to truly find out. Mind you, the life coach in question I’m gonna turn to, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, costs quite a pretty penny. Well, these life coaches often do, so we must ask: what are you really getting for your money here?

Well, in this game you follow a ragtag gang of mercenaries, who will go on to be lead by an oik called Ike, later of Smash Bros fame. It’s a very GameCubey type of game this, if that makes any sense. Wario World and Luigi’s Mansion are other examples. Now you may not be a Fire Emblem fan, but what might help is that this one is actually fairly easy to understand and get into, with nice tutorials and generally a forgiving difficulty curve.

Some call it too easy, but like going for as much money as possible, what’s wrong with choosing an easy life? There are a few difficulty levels in any case, which really just determine how often you’ll be resetting the game when one of your Stooges falls victim to the old dreaded permadeath. 

I do think you’ll like Ike, the main character of the game, or the Lord as they’re known as. He’s got a bit of an attitude, and I don’t mean in that duff Sonic (or, shudder, Shadow) sense. He doesn’t mind telling people to shut up and putting enemy gurriers to death. A lot better than your mealy-mouthed milquetoast Nintendo characters who are all nice and good and wetty, and ten million times better than the ones who simply don’t talk at all. He’d be great in job interviews.

Job interviews, what a lark. And you know, I’m uncomfortably aware that the moment I update my LinkedIn to be looking for a job, I shall have hundreds of vulture “recruiters” dropping in on me to try and involve me in their monthly targets. You’ll know the type, besuited twenty-something know-nothings who reckon they’re elite sharks but never seem to realise that they’re minnows who don’t know their proverbial arse from their elbow. I’ve even had recruiters try to place me in jobs I’ve just left.

I’d rather be a mercenary any day of the week, hooring myself out to the highest bidder. And I’ll need the money: as I’ve alluded to already, this mercenary job isn’t one that comes cheap. A copy of Path of Radiance could cost you over 250 clams, certainly it does in Europe where GameCube games struggled for shelf space against the PS2 almost right from the very beginning. That’s not chump change, though if you’re a GameCube connoisseur then I’d say it’s absolutely worth it – plus, if you’re collecting GameCube you’ve probably got a few quid spare anyway.

One thing I really enjoy about Path of Radiance is the art style, right down to the box-art of this game. It just looks expensive, a premium product, but quite irrespective of the price I still reckon this to the be the best of the Fire Emblem games so far. It’s definitely got a top-notch soundtrack as well, probably the best in the series. This really is the high watermark of Fire Emblem games, in my opinion, and if you wanted to emulate it to find out for yourself, then we can keep it our little secret. I won’t even make you sign an NDA, either.

26 July 2022

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