Job Anxiety

How Final Fantasy V helped with career anxiety.

At the tail-end of my grueling four-year math/finance degree, I fell into a deep depression. I was really worried about starting my adult life with such a shattered mental state. How was I expected to make critical decisions for my career?

It was then that I started marathoning  GBA games as a form of escape. During lunch, during class. I would even play inside my empty university church – mistaken for a devout student, head hung low in prayer.

One of the games I remember the fondest is Final Fantasy V. This entry featured an evolved job system from the relatively simple mechanic introduced in the past. I liked the freedom with Bartz, Lenna, Faris, and Galuf’s capabilities, and that their classes were never built into their personalities. The game encouraged experimentation, paired up with a forgiving Ability Points system with a really satisfying skill progression.

I try to avoid long-winded JRPG runs via strategy guides. But something about FFV made me sink tens of hours just trying out different builds on my party members (even making a team of Blue Mages at one point) just to take on the toughest bosses in the game.

It seems silly, but this freedom influenced my perspective on a “career”. I thought my diploma sealed my fate. To this day, I can say I’ve looked at every opportunity with an open mind and a heart for adventure – and I’m all the happier for that. I’ve been a financial modeler, a salesperson, a copywriter, a project manager, a game designer, and so on.

Thanks to FFV, I do believe all of these professions inform – not define – my identity and the way I approach the world. I’m probably not done adding to that list. I still have a lifetime of experiences and job classes to go through. And that’s okay.

By Kenzie Du

One day, Kenzie received a laptop and a second childhood when she decided to marathon five generations of video game history in her free time. Today she works in the games industry and writes for VirtualSEA. Long live the Southeast Asian indie scene! You will always find her on Twitter @kenzie__du and you can read her stuff on

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