Career Dilemmas Present in ‘The Sims 4’

by Nicole Weaver

Different types of Sims players have different types of goals: The Architect wants to build beautiful homes. The Murderer likes to create Sims only to watch them die slow, painful deaths by trapping them inside their homes and watching them starve. Then there is the type that I fall under: the Careerist whose goal is to get to the top of whatever career their Sim is in.

I’ve been this way ever since I played the first generation of The Sims. I usually play as a woman, which makes things a little more complicated — just like in my real life. Things in the new Sims 4 are simpler and more progressive, but even in a simulation game the following finance and career dilemmas still pop up:

Struggling for a work-life balance
In previous generations of the game, you might have to work to increase your skill set, and maybe schmooze with some people outside of work to get a promotion. Now every position has a daily task to do once you get home. Were you looking forward to your Sim hanging out after work? Well if you want a promotion anytime soon then that’s too bad; get on that computer and start filing reports for several hours until it says you’ve completed them!

Finding a right time to start a family
I love playing as a female Sim, but once they hit young adulthood I start to feel anxious. I would like for her to get to the top of her career as fast as she can, but I also want her to get married and have kids so I have another Sim to play with once she dies. Sims have a limited amount of days as a young adult and then as an adult in the game. You can adjust this or make them ageless, but I don’t, because where’s the challenge in that?

I usually try to get my Sim married as fast as I can, and then I wait until halfway through her adult stage to start having children. Either way, kids throws things off track in real life and in The Sims so I put it off.

Maternity leave is available and improved (kind of)
One of my biggest pet peeves in the previous generations of the game was that once a female Sim had her baby she was forced to stay home until the baby became a toddler. It’s cruel and hellish to me, a woman who knows stay-at-home life in any capacity isn’t for her.

Now you can go back to work the very next day if you wish to, but the catch is you better have vacation days saved! That’s right. Vacation days are given to you the longer you work and you can cash them in any time you don’t want to go in and still get paid. It’s nice but then it made me wonder…

Should I actually use all of my vacation days if I don’t “need” them?
I just started my first job with benefits in real life so I haven’t had much experience with this, but once I discovered that there were vacations days available in the game it became a dilemma. I started using the days as maternity leave when my Sim wasn’t really ready to go back to work yet, but what about actually using the days for a real vacation? I know that not taking vacation days is like leaving money on the table, but if I wanted my Sim to be at the top of her career in such a limited time, it’s kind of hard to justify taking off.

Needing a side gig
There is no other dilemma I understand as a young writer more than this! For careers like writer, painter, and tech guru you can hop on the computer or take to an easel and make some extra cash. Of course, you don’t have to apply for these jobs like you would do in real life, but it’s nice to have one less thing to think about if you’re running low on funds.

Choosing how to get your art out to the world
Another interesting choice in the making of this game was showing more about how things are done in some of the more artistic career paths. At the start of the writer career you are asked to write a book, but you have to self-publish. It’s not until later that you can go through a publishing house and earn more money. Once you make it there, you still have the option to self-publish, but there isn’t much reason to once you notice the difference in pay. For painters, there is a similar path with selling art to an art collector or gallery.

Avoiding rocking the boat at work
Believe it not, this is also part of the game. This probably has to do with compensating for the fact that your Sim is away for eight hours in the day. Although you don’t follow them to work, sometimes certain scenarios pop up at her job and the game asks you to make a decision. I used to ignore these situations because I was a coward and didn’t want to make a mistake and get penalized. In this version of the game you’re forced to make tough calls.

Some examples: You notice that all your coworkers or employees are laughing about something, so do you ask about it or will you come off as paranoid? You happen to be alone on the elevator with the CEO of your company; do you acknowledge him? The most common answer to these situations is to lay low in order to not rock the boat. Is this really a good lesson to learn? I’m not so sure.

Of course the solution to almost all of these things is to just plug in a cheat code to become rich and never have to work again because it’s only a game! But what can I say? I love doing things the hard way.

Nicole Weaver writes regularly for Hollywood and YourTango. You can keep track of more of her work onTwitter and Tumblr.

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