How to Get Your Dream Job

I'm a lucky guy.

I have a job that's definitely a dream job for many people: I write stories for games. I wrote and game designed for Magic: the Gathering, where I helped create fantasy worlds, designed characters and power sets, and wrote the stories of what happened to the main cast of heroes. Now I am a narrative designer for ArenaNet, where I'll help create the stories for Guild Wars 2, a video game played by millions around the world. 

Folks have asked how I got this job - or, more often, how they could get this job. I've always given the best answer I could depending on context, but it's hard to squeeze a thousand different thoughts, warnings, encouragements, and feelings into a pithy response. 

Whenever anyone asks me things in this vein, there's a litany of experiences and learnings I want to share. After stumbling through answers of varying degrees of coherency, a recurring pattern of certain topics and thoughts began to emerge. I'll be exploring each of these further in future posts, but for now, I hope the list itself inspires and intrigues. 

I am by no means an expert. But I'm happy to share for any who's curious the pitfalls and successes I've found so far along the way. 

1) Don't network. 
2) Defining a "career"
3) Wanting it is not enough.
4) Balance the three needs.
5) Skill up.
6) Be so good they can't ignore you.
7) Getting lucky / those "connections"
8) The nitty gritty crunchy bits.