What if your real-life career was a JRPG job?

Reimagine your life as something far more adventurous

On Friday, the highly anticipated Octopath Traveler for Nintendo Switch finally launched, capping off what has been a long and exhaustive road from reveal to release. The game has a lot going for it, much of which ties it to the JRPGs of our youth. Its HD-2D presentation is absolutely stunning, and the focus on the different jobs of the playable characters is one of the reasons I keep coming back to this genre. I love a good job system and we touched on the topic late last year when I ask the staff to name their favorite RPG class.

Because of Octopath, classes and jobs have been on my mind all week and I thought it’d be fun to approach the subject once more from a different angle. Most of us who write for Destructoid don’t do it full time. We have other jobs, some have careers, which bring home the bacon and allow us to dabble in this charade we call games journalism. I myself work in state government. I don’t particularly care for it, but it’s better than being flat broke all the time.

Perhaps I would enjoy it more if my job was more like something I’d find in one of those JRPGs. After all, if my career were more like the jobs and classes of Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, I wouldn’t be stuck in an office all day replying to emails, pushing papers, and placing orders for more Wite-Out. I’d be out on an adventure, playing second fiddle to whatever warrior-class barbarian is leading my team. That’s where my head has been, so I asked the rest of the Destructoid staff to get there as well for this week’s question.

CJ Andriessen
Actual Job: Office Technician
JRPG Job: Parchment Pusher
Role: Assist/Support

Office Technician is a non-sexist way of saying secretary. I’m a secretary, but not one of those cool secretaries from Mad Men who wear tight skirts, read magazines all day, and get impregnated by Pete Campbell only to give up the child and have it mentioned like two more times in the series.

Oh Peggy…

As an Office Technician, I am the support staff for my entire department. I order supplies, send faxes, make copies, mail reports, compile expenses, and other simplistic duties that really put that Bachelor’s Degree to good use. As such, if my job were one in a JRPG, I would be a support character. When a tank, warrior, rogue, or any other class gets hurt in battle, I’ll be there with an STT-146 form to order some healing supplies for them. When morale gets low during a boss battle, I’d be there to send an email reminding everyone of the vegan-friendly barbecue we’re having on Friday between the hours of 12:00 and 2:00. If another character has a sleep spell cast on them, I can smack them awake the same way I do the copier each morning. I can even do summons. When the party is on the verge of death, you can rely on me to summon the Alhambra Water lady to replenish the party and keep on fighting.

I get that playing secretary, or what I’ll be referring to as Parchment Pusher from now on, isn’t sexy. But you need us. Because once everyone else in the party falls, it’ll be up to me to bring them back to life with a proper stamped and notarized equipment refurbishment form. Just don’t ask me to fight as I’m incredibly frail due to severe vitamin D deficiency having spent the last 10 years working in an office with no direct contact to sunlight.

Darren Nakamura
Actual Job: Analytical Chemist
JRPG Job: Royal Taster
Role: Support/Status Effects

On a day-to-day basis, I’m wearing a lab coat, handling boiling acids, and playing with complex instruments to let you know just how much toxic lead is in your children’s playground soil (spoiler: it’s in there, but not much, don’t worry about it).

While the obvious JRPG job for a Chemist would be, well, a Chemist, as an Analytical Chemist I’m more often looking for bad stuff in places you don’t want it than synthesizing and administering good stuff to heal the party. In that way, I’m more like a modern-day Royal Taster, taking a sample of your food and making sure it’s safe for you to eat. Except I do it with science instead of by ingesting poison.

Of course, I do still have access to all sorts of nasty reagents, so if you need me to set the battlefield on fire, throw some corrosive solution on a renegade automaton, or even slyly poison your enemies, I can do that too. Just don’t put me on the front lines; most of my weapons are made of glass, so while they can do some decent piercing damage, they’re generally one-time use for that.

Occams Electric Toothbrush
Actual Job: Archivist
JRPG Job: Sage
Role: Assist/Caster

An Archivist is like a specialty class for a librarian. I’m still technically considered a librarian, but I deal almost exclusively with the old stuff. As an Archivist, my job is to catalog, preserve, maintain and make available the historical repository of an institution. I basically hang out in a room surrounded by manuscripts, books, papers and stuff that ranges from days old to hundreds of years old and make sure it sticks around for a while. It’s awesome.

A very important aspect of my job beyond preservation is making the materials accessible to people. That can mean providing in-house access within the institution or making materials available digitally to folks across the globe. Digital archives are arguably going to be the way of the future, with more and more archives digitizing their collections to make them available in ways only dreamed of in the past. I help provide a window in the past and keep the history of a place alive and well in the present.

Along those lines, in a JRPG, I am a Sage. I have the knowledge and we all know that knowledge is power. Need to know which magic is most effective against the Emerald Dragon of the Great Forest? Maybe you’re looking for the Six Secret Names of the Void Watcher? I got you covered, boo. And while knowledge is power, it helps that I have all kinds of nifty tricks up my sleeve. Having the right scroll or ring could mean the difference between life and death after all!

Actual Job: Ph.D. Researcher
JRPG Job: Pretend Scholar
Role: Buffs/Debuffs

You’d think that floating somewhere in between being a student and having an actual job would be the cushiest position imaginable. You set your own hours, don’t have a boss, do everything in your own way, and yet you get paid at the end of the month. To a certain extent that’s entirely true. Although on the flipside there is also a lot of insecurity that comes with that: “Am I smart enough for this?”, “How do I stay motivated?”, “Am I doing it right?”, “Is this chapter good enough; have I overlooked something?”, “What if I can’t meet everyone’s expectations of me?”

While spending four years learning everything there is to know about something that intrigues you is a blast, those insecurities are a very real and integral part of doing a Ph.D. My JRPG self takes all the good parts of doing a Ph.D to buff the party, while turning the doubts and uncertainties around on our enemies as debuffs.

I can use ‘Wall of Text’ to up our defense for a few turns while using ‘Citation Needed’ to make enemies waste a turn double-checking something they wrote last year (and have already double-checked twice since then). The ‘Eureka!’ skill ups our speed by 50% due to a sudden flash of inspiration. Meanwhile, ‘Impostor Syndrome’ prevents enemies from using magic because they’re convinced they’re probably not that great of a mage anyway; they’re just waiting for the moment people will finally call them out on faking it this whole time.

If all goes well I’ll eventually reach level 99 when I’ll learn ‘All Worth It.’ I’ll let you know what it does when I get there.   

Chris Hovermale
Actual Job: Underemployed
JRPG Job: Freelancer
Role: Jack-of-all-trades

Job searching fresh out of college is rough, especially if you make the same mistake I did and assume you can easily get into a new career just because you have a degree. That’s like grinding on a bunch of weirdly balanced mobs that drop a lot of money to upgrade your gear, but not enough EXP to be on par with the recommended level. And you’re playing an MMO that refuses to let you play a quest until you meet that level. I learned this the hard way through the past two years, and it’s hard to get anywhere like that. Yet because I was only tethered to a part-time supermarket gig, I had the freedom and opportunity to learn new things and mix and match my skills. Much like the classic Freelancer, the lack of a job can be both a blessing and a curse.

Having the time to do whatever you want is an excellent way to get a feeling for how you want to proceed and how you don’t. Being able to try out different weapons and learn all low-level spells without restrictions breathing down your neck can be liberating. It even led me here to Destructoid! But unfortunately, most lives aren’t that simple. We have bigger challenges ahead of us. Debts to repay. Retirement savings to build. Dark lords to slay.

Even if they impose new limitations on us, we often need real jobs to give us the strength to accomplish those goals. It’s a trade-off for developing more specific skills. Theoretically, you can get a happy ending without ever changing to a proper job, but it’ll take a lot more grinding than otherwise. More time than most people enjoy wasting on overly simplistic roles, anyway.

Still, if used properly (and with luck), one’s time without a true job can open up many doors for the future. I tried out new skills, I experimented with my options, I searched all over for opportunities, I practiced and practiced and practiced, and eventually…

JOB CHANGE! (Going into effect July 23rd)

Actual Job: Web Developer
JRPG Job: Technomancer
Role: Magic (electric) damage, lesser support magic

… I gained that new job I’ve been looking for. It is not easy being a “noob” job such as a student or an underemployed job seeker. But it’s always a necessary step towards whatever you really want to do for the rest of your playthrough. The important (and sometimes hard) thing is training to meet those prerequisites.

Rich Meister
Actual Job: Automotive Service Writer
JRPG Job: Mediator/Thief
Role: Support

Much like everyone else this whole games journalism thing doesn’t quite pay my bills yet. During the day I work as a Service Writer at an auto shop that I won’t name drop here. My job is simple. I serve as the middleman between folks having their cars repaired and the mechanics doing the work (really putting my audio engineer schooling to good use).

It’s my job to inform people about the condition their vehicle is in and encourage them to have the repairs recommended by our technicians performed, but in a JRPG I’d part people from their coin in other ways.

As the groups smooth talking Thief/Mediator, I’d convince guards to let us come and go as we pleased, and I’d have enemies parting with their coin without even having to pick their pockets.

Josh Tolentino
Actual Job: HR Analyst
JRPG Job: The little fairy that updates your quest log
Role: User interface element

I  actually work in outsourcing, so if CJ is something of a secretary, I’m one of the people who is paid so someone like CJ doesn’t have to get up early in the morning to fill out a spreadsheet before the weekly meeting.

Most of my job involves managing schedules and sending reminders, and if there’s anything in JRPGs that handles that sort of task, it’s the UI. In a game like Zelda I’d be a text version of Navi (maybe the Sheikah Slate?), and in a Persona game, I’m your phone (but much less stylish).

Patrick Hancock
Actual Job: History Teacher
JRPG Job: Scholar
Role: Buff/Debuff

There’s actually a Scholar role in a few RPGs, Octopath Traveler included! Naturally, I picked him right away. I found it weird that he could like, you know, use magic like Lightning and Fireball. Geopolitical professor by day, black mage by night? I guess he reads the books and knows how to cast them? Even in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn there’s a Scholar class who…summons fairies to heal the team. Ok, let me tell you how Scholars should work.

Now if I was a math teacher, I’d be a Calculator from Final Fantasy Tactics and call it a day. But I teach History. So I’m thinking a buff and debuff character. Things like ‘Lecture’ that put the enemy to sleep. ‘Inspire’ could encourage party members when they’re down on their luck. The skill ‘Extra Credit’ could allow someone to take a second turn. ‘The Teacher Look’ could lower the attack of the enemy. That’s how a “Scholar” role should play out — using things that are actually used in the classroom!

To get a bit magical, I could summon in figures from the past as powerful attacks. Imagine a summon with all the pomp and circumstance of Final Fantasy summons, and then seeing Alexander the Great and a huge phalanx come rushing in for a major damage attack. So freaking cool!

Pixie The Fairy
Actual Job: Warehouse minion that packs medicine and vaccines
JRPG Job: Apothecary Supplier
Role: Supporter of Healers

People might want to be medics or chemists, but where do you think they get that stuff? NPCs don’t just make it from thin air, it’s not just found on the floor of a dungeon. Someone made it and then realized to make money they needed a good distribution channel and that is where I come in. 

I’m a few steps ahead of where a pharmacist or doctor comes in and gives you the goods. The key stat for this job is endurance, though, because the hours are long and tiring and people are sick or injured everywhere all the time. Adding to this, some medicine is perishable, so I have to pack it with that in mind and sometimes use ice. 

So endurance is key. You also need a high Mind stat because the job is monotonous. You also must have dexterity because you have to ship things out consistently and accurately. A meticulous personality is required as well so those medical goods are packed with care because you have seen what those FedEx people will do and you know that box with glass vials or syringes in it might be thrown at some point. Things must be packed with paper, bubble wrap or foam to ensure safety. 

The Apothecary Supplier will not rez you, they will not directly tend to every minor scrape a cyborg ninja may experience, but in the end, they know every invoice has a pharmacist or doctor’s patient on the other end of it and what they need must arrive safely regardless of who touches that box along the way. It is a serious role that totally doesn’t sometimes pick the hardest names to pronounce off the invoice when they’re placed on the shipping label. 

CJ Andriessen
Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games.