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Would You Leave A Responsible Job to Play Video Games Professionally?

wizards district gaming
Austin Painter left his resonsible job with the State Department to take a leap of faith and see if he could make it in the world of video games. Would you?

wizards district gaming

There are times when I think about my extremely boring and stable job.  What would I be doing if I didn’t take the conservative (small c) path in life?  What would I be doing had I made some riskier decisions?  On the other hand, I also think about what I could be doing instead of this particular job. Is there something fun and creative for me to do, that would leave me feeling happier with my life?  Or is that even possible?  I love to read stories about people who quit their job and start a new business which is everything that they ever wanted to do in life.  And that’s what this story is about.  I have to say that I’m extremely jealous of this guy.  You’ll feel the same way once you’re done reading this.

24 year old, Austin “Boo” Painter graduated from Old Dominion last spring.  After that, he accepted a job with the State Department.  From there, he did two months of training, got his security clearance and then walked away from it all to play video games full time.  I said you’d be jealous, and if you aren’t, you are dead on the inside!  I kid, but I mean, isn’t that the dream job? When asked why he left the State Department, this is what he said:

“I get housing, everything’s paid for and I get a good salary.  I mean, I’m playing video games every day. So the decision was: stand up and walk around the State Department all day or play video games?”

austin painter

And clearly, his decision was the latter.  What would you do in his position?  The more conservative part of me said I would have stayed with the State Department because that’s the responsible and adult thing to do.  But there’s also a part of me that thinks everyone should play video games all day and get paid for it.  Here’s what might be the best part of this whole thing. He has what is essentially a 9-to-5 job, reporting each day to the Wizards District Gaming facility in Chinatown, where he sits side-by-side with teammates and plays one NBA 2K game after another, prepping for the weekend competition in New York.

Painter says that he’ll never forget telling when he told his family.  Of course, like any parent, they were worried about what this could be.  I mean, if I told my parents that I was leaving my secure, responsible adult job to play video games they would probably tie me to a chair until I agreed not to.  And that’s not to say that this job isn’t an adult job, but the perception is that it’s not.

In February, Painter became one of 72,000 gamers to participate in a combine.  In April, he attended the league’s draft in New York City where the Wizards made him a second-round pick.

austin painter

eSports is becoming almost as big as sports, maybe even bigger.  So this is huge for Painter. Painter also says that he loved working at the State Department, but it’s a stressful environment.  His attitude is – why not take this chance and see where it goes?  He’s not wrong, but at the same time, he left a lot of money on the table when he left the State Department.  Yes, there’s potential to make more playing for the Wizards, but again, it’s hard not to factor that into the equation.

Painter took a leap of faith, and while I am not sure I could do that at my age or at this stage of my career, it’s something that I dream about often.  Even if this isn’t something that everyone could do, I do think that more people dream about its possibility.  What would your life be like if you could take your dream job?  And I don’t mean your corporate dream job. I mean the one where you wake up every day and are excited to go to work or get your day started because you know what’s waiting for you. If I sound disgruntled with my own job, I want you to know that’s not really the case.  I just know that there are people out there who are doing what they love, and I wish that I could say that was me.

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