I've been doing EVE online for some time now; about eight weeks I'd say. During that time I have chosen several EVE careers.
Solo or ..
At first I was content with flying solo, doing a bit of mining and shooting the incidental Serpentis belt rat. No real need to worry about skills and skill training, so I more or less neglected it, randomly choosing skills to train, without a real plan or goal. In hindsight, this was very shortsighted. After two shooting incidents I noticed I was too vulnerable, all alone in EVE's large universe, with only minimal protection and almost zero offensive capabilities; I needed to train skills to be able to fly a bigger, stronger ship, and I needed a corporation where I could learn and grow. I have been lucky to join TRACE, the Trade Association Corporation, which is a great corp - and not only for n00bs like me. I really learned a lot there, and the corp members are really nice.
Skills and changes
While working on skills for bigger ships, drones and guns, I needed to do missions too. They bring in money, train your combat skills and help you grow. These days, I don't even have a miner fitted on my ship anymore - what's the use? I'd rather fit an extra gun there! So without really noticing it, I switched from being a 'solo miner' to a 'mission runner within a corp'. Consequently, my skill training plan has changed too; I've been working on drone, cruiser and some weaponry related skills first, followed by skills needed to operate salvagers and tractor beams.
Mid Year Review
Today I had a mid year review at my current job. My manager and I discussed, amongst other things, my longer term prospects within the company: where do you want to be, two or five years from now? The answer to this question does have immediate consequences for the choices you make in everyday life - now! What training to choose, which people to link up with, what to read.. And then it struck me that reality doesn't differ that much from gaming in this perspective. The career path you choose has an impact on the skills you train, and this is true both in real life as well as in the gaming universe.
The lesson for me is, that I wasted valuable time when I first started out in EVE Online. I had no real goals, other than to enjoy myself a bit. Yes I trained some skills, but it was aimless, there was no structure, no comprehensive plan to it. I've wasted a lot of valuable skill training time this way! After todays Mid Year Review, I have decided I won't let this happen in real life too, as the time lost in real life is, obviously, infinitely more valuable than those skill training hours in EVE.
Do you know where you want to be five years from now? What's your five year plan?