Profound life lessons from Pokémon Go?

While those of you that know me will be aware that that this is a very predictable topic for me to write about, I can assure you I am probably the least likely person to attempt to play Pokémon Go, for the following reasons:

  • I have never downloaded a game before.
  • I have been known to be rather cynical.
  • I was too old to understand what Pokémon was the first time round.
  • I still don’t entirely know how to work my iPhone.
  • I am terrified of looking like a numpty in public.

Nonetheless, last Thursday I made the decision to find out what all the fuss was about.  To be honest, there are so many vitriolic posts, or rather, lazy re-posts, by people on social media that are far too cool/inexplicably angry/busy styling their beards and eating artisanal crisps for such pointless pastimes as Pokémon Go, that I wanted to not just distance myself from them – I actually wanted to join the uncool club, and play the game.  Besides, I can’t help thinking that something that gets people out of the house rather than sitting in front of the telly can’t be all that bad.

So today, after taking some advice from my boss’s kids, I ventured out on my lunch hour to catch some Pokémon in town.  I was a little self-conscious at first until I noticed that the lady walking a few metres in front of me was looking down at her phone too, and when we got to the lights there were two other ladies around the same age as me doing the same thing.  We all looked at each other and had a rather embarrassed giggle together as we crossed the road.  It was a genuinely funny moment.

As I walked into town I noticed quite a few people dressed in business attire that were also clearly playing Pokémon Go, with varying degrees of discreetness – there was a smartly dressed 30-something lad that put his phone into his pocket when he saw me, but then took it out again as soon as I had walked past.  There were a crowd of people in the car park at Matalan all crowded around a Volvo, phones in hand.  I managed to catch a few Pokémon and made my way back to the office.  I felt strangely happy.

Usually at this point I would stick a title on this blog like ‘Five things the recruitment industry could learn from Pokémon Go’ or similar, and start dishing out advice about getting out of one’s comfort zone etc. But I think all of that is fairly obvious, and not terribly interesting. Besides, I wasn’t really looking for profound life lessons, to be honest I just wanted to escape from the office for a little while, have a laugh, and get some exercise in the sunshine, since we don’t see it very often.

Job done.

In fact, if you google ‘life lessons from Pokémon’, you’ll find an abundance of articles from pre-broadband days, the last time Pokémon was popular, so if you are that way inclined, there is plenty of wisdom out there for you.  But here’s what I learned about myself.

  • I have never downloaded a game before. So what?  It’s never too late to try something new.
  • I have been known to be rather cynical. If being cynical means scoffing at people that are having fun, I’m not as cynical as I thought.
  • I was too old to understand what Pokémon was the first time round. Who cares?  It’s not rocket science.
  • I don’t entirely know how to work my iPhone. I still don’t, although one of my cats recently sat on it and activated Siri, who attempted to call my ex.  I may not know much about my iPhone, but at least I have lightning quick reflexes.
  • I am terrified of looking like a numpty in public. Actually, it’s not that bad.

Strangely, when I posted on my Facebook account that I was playing Pokémon Go, a lot of friends that I might have expected to be similarly cynical came out of the woodwork and confessed they had been playing it too.  Which I thought was fantastic.

So.  Lighten up.  Have fun.  Erm, don’t put it on your cv though.