Superficially, the Employment Card doesn’t seem as challenging to social boundaries as other cards in the deck, but it asks an otherwise generic personal question in a very unique way. It’s also different from the other cards in that the predictions on the two ends are not reciprocal. Players are asked to predict how long the dealer has held their current position, and in turn, the dealer is challenged with guessing a prior occupation each player has held in their lifetime. This design was largely shaped by our early playtesting with dealers in the service industry.
The idea for this card came from our individual observations of the mannerisms of servers and bartenders at different restaurants and bars. There are noticeable differences between experienced and inexperienced service industry personnel, mostly in their menu familiarity, table-touching frequency, order memorization and customization, professionalism (or playfulness), and confidence. These cues can often provide insight into how long someone has been working in their current role, so we started to make a game of it.
We would first discuss our observations, then each of us would speculate how long we thought our host had been working there...not just in their current job, rather at their current place of employment. This is much trickier than it sounds because turnover is very common in hospitality and varies from location to location. A skilled server may change employment multiple times in search of a good fit, so our intuition was often unreliable. That unpredictability is what made the question so fun and a great conversation starter, and speculating people’s employment histories started us along the path to creating M@NDAYS.
When playing the prototype, we always enjoyed the first part of the Employment Card, but when the same question came back around, it lacked the same excitement because it no longer rewarded intuition. For the dealer, it was more or less a crapshoot, and the shift in enthusiasm was apparent. We soon made a change to the dealer’s end of the card to what it is today, which has greatly elevated the card’s value in the deck. By challenging the dealer to guess an occupation for each player, we gave them the ability to rely on appearance, attire, and mannerisms to make their prediction.
Be forewarned. Prompting someone to guess your occupation based on context clues can produce some hilarious results if you’re not easily offended. We’ve heard some oddly specific guesses. Our friend, James, has held a variety of jobs in his career, but when he was suspected of being a manager at a Lowe’s, we...cracked...up. Lowe’s has a very diverse workforce, so we’re still not sure what led to that prediction. It was just funny because it was completely unexpected.
Then, on multiple occasions by completely different people, I was told that I look like a lumberjack, and I haven’t been able to live that down since. I was flattered that they thought I’m capable of performing such a physically rigorous job, but again the response was so unexpected. Well, that guess prompted me to again fire up Photoshop to see myself through their eyes. Now, I am become lumberjack, destroyer of trees.Has anyone made a hilarious prediction about your work history? Share your story below.