Wageslaves and Runners: 4 Freelancing Lessons from Shadowrun

Wageslaves and Runners: 4 Freelancing Lessons from Shadowrun

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2. Communication

“It like Raymond used to say, ‘Trust and verify.’ They haven’t given me a reason not to trust them, so until they do, I’ll believe what they say and keep my eyes open.” – Duncan

As stressed in the last section, networking with others is super important. By working with other freelancers, your knowledge increases x-fold and your capabilities doubly so. But social fluidity–that is, the art of reading people, knowing how to approach them, and present yourself–is also essential.

Wageslaves and Runners: 4 Freelancing Lessons from Shadowrun

Also essential: knowing when *not* to talk to someone.

Now I’m not saying becoming some slithery snake in the grass, whispering lies and flattery to everyone you meet in an attempt to seem charming. Other people–as derp as they may sometimes seem–can be very keen at detecting that kind of bullshit. Instead, understand the person you’re talking to and listen intently to their passions and what repulses them, their dreams and their regrets.

If you haven’t noticed, we sadly seem to live in a world where people often listen solely to give their opinion in response. But by actually listening to understand the speaker? Nowadays, that’s a rare trait, though one that will nevertheless serve you well. People respond well to empathy. Think about it: how do you feel when you meet someone who tries to understand you (versus someone who just criticizes)?

All things equal, empathy and openness to others can push your career potential to new heights. Conversely, prejudices such as racism and xenophobia do little to help you. Aside from the ethical and moral issues discrimination raises, prejudice limits the flow of business. In Shadowrun (especially Dragonfall), discrimination against other metahumans not only divides populations (and their markets), but rallies people against you (for obvious reasons). In the waking world, take the example of conservative Christian bakers denying services to same-sex couples.

Regardless of your own beliefs or whether or not the law protects one group over the other, ponder this logic: why not find a baker who doesn’t push an agenda on its customers instead of demanding a right to spend money at a business which, in turn, supports bigotry? As someone who is gay, I never understood why anyone who knew anything about running a business would let their own prejudices limit their market potential. Last I checked, my money’s still just as good but now, I’ve been given a good reason to do business elsewhere.

Again, people don’t take kindly to bullshit and they don’t want to arm people they don’t agree with. Keep your own shitty world views (and that’s everyone, of all backgrounds, whatever those opinions) to yourself. It makes things so much easier.

Besides, Machiavellian-type interactions with people no longer works in this day and age. By talking down to others for whatever reason you care to name, or by trying to manipulate them or assert control, they’ll bow out sooner than bow down. With the accessibility granted by smartphones and the Internet, we can all be effectively replaced, whether as freelancers or friends.

You can’t rule with fear what can easily escape you. Fostering relationships where the person wants to be around you, however, and you’ll find they’ll try to show you off to everyone else they know. Let your friends be your biggest friends and give them ample reasons to. The good vibes you send out are great marketing all their own.

If you build your relationships well, you’ll learn from and understand those around you better, modesty and tolerance in your beliefs, and showing others respect. It really all boils down to treating others the way you want to be treated.

Unless you’re a masochist or something… then do the opposite.

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About author

Anthony Magestro

Anthony “Tony” Magestro–or known on the field of battle as Metzge–is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he’s not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success.

Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that’s fine too.