Can work be a game?

by Mari Luz Garcia


What do I expect from a job? How can I reconcile passion and work? Can I be happy on Mondays? Actually, can work be a game?

Open talq: philosophical coffee
Can work be a game?


Have you asked yourselves these questions? Have you ever found the answer?
Have you even noticed that over the past years and even decades, working, finding a job and our relation to work has changed drastically for us, human. Well, we from ProHireMe did notice and we are curious to here your thoughts on this…

My inspiration to write this post was based on my participation to a philosophical discussion.


As I am not afraid to try something new, think differently and leave my comfort zone every now and than, I was happy to attend the Open TalQ: Philosopical Coffee, organized by Caroline Ladousse in charge of the development of the Chair of Entrepreneurship in ESCP EUROPE business school Madrid, together with Equánima, a philosophical laboratory linking philosophy and society.

So you can get an idea on this Open TalQ, I will share you my experience. We started with some scepticism waiting to hear what was being said, but it quickly grabbed our attention and we dived in… All together, during a 2 hour dialogue we talked, thought and debated about our relationship with work.  Luckily this talk was moderated by María Angeles Quesada, founder of Equánima, who helped us greatly in finding possible answers to these questions.Here is a sneak peek into our  dialogue. I am sure it gives you just as much food for thought as it was for me.


Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 16.02.15


More comments that came across the OpenTalQ



  • Creating a job out of necessity
  • With work we solve part of the real world (world problems), necessities or perceived necessities
  • You have to work, it is a obligation
  • Working for realization as human being, animals don´t work
  • Work, an activity that keeps you busy for a third part of your life
  • You have responsibility in teamwork
  • Work is not play, it is something important
  • It is up to a person to take work serious, depending on the attitude



  • The first stages of life you are playing then you adapt to a different environment and new rules
  • When we play we have fun, we respect the rules and we know it is not real.
  • During a game we follow norms but it is not a reality
  • Play gives you the opportunity to imagine, think differently, anticipate on how another person thinks.
  • Kids play to grow, self-fulfillment
  • Games can be negative as well – when you cheat, manipulate
  • Can you choose your responsibility in a game?
  • Are there consequences or responsibilities in a game?
  • During a game you have to know how to lose, learn to do things, socialize.
  • Play can be without competition, e.g. a child playing with a doll (simulation)
  • For a game you need rules, roles and a context
  • All games have risks, risks on different levels


Comparison work and play

  • Work is different from playing/games. In certain ways it can be a game but in the essence it is not
  • Some jobs prevent to see work as a game or something playful, e.g a surgeon who has the responsibility of someone´s life
  • Some jobs e.g. like a surgeon, traffic controller, soldier to cope better their responsibilities they have to take work less serious.
  • Traders who “played” (Financial Crisis) – taking away the morality and the value/importance of working
  • There is no justice in work nor playing
  • Society does not see work as a game
  • Why do we work? Why do we play? How to link justice with play?



  • To learn, we simulate things, we create worlds
  • When we don´t take risks we don´t learn
  • You want to progress in life


We could have kept on talking for hours, but we had to close the dialogue and concluded that work can be sometimes seen as a game depending on the conditions and situation. Remember the movie La Vita e Bella…

After this OpenTalQ, I can say I have discovered my inner Socrates.

Any other Socrates out here, who would like to share his/her ideas on this topic, so can work be a game?


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