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You may think that Dungeons and Dragons is a game played by high schoolers and unsociable losers, but this week, on the of the recent release of version five of the classic game, I am here to tell you that D&D is a powerful tool accessible to every corporate warrior in Des Moines. I've been adventuring for almost three years now, so allow me to share with you the lessons I've learned from the fantastical realms that I've visited and conquered.

Have a strategy.

Whether it's orcs and goblins or legal and human resources, you don't run into battle without a plan. Savvy heroes weigh their skills against their obstacles and plan each move before making their first strike.

Work to your strengths.

A great archer doesn't run headfirst into a sword fight. Assess your skills, and play them up. Are you most effective in a one-on-one conversation? Avoid the boardroom and approach your colleagues one by one. Public speaking your forte? Bring that conference to its knees with your amazing rhetoric. Best in hand-to-hand combat? You know what to do, you cunning gamer, you.

Know your allies.

All adventurers worth their salt know that finding a suitable set of allies is crucial. Supplement your skill set with a posse of equally awesome co-workers and rock that fellowship. So you're a dwarf, excellent at up-close-and-personal brawling? Ally yourself with a healer and a sneaky rogue, and you're golden. In the corporate world? Shy workhorses need to find themselves a persuasive smooth talker. Creative innovators are well-served to temper their passion with dependable organizers. United we stand, comrades!

No shame in quitting.

Sometimes, the odds are not in your favor. Maybe you're down for the count, and around the next turn is a dragon. Run, friend. Live to fight another day. Similarly, choose your battles in the office. Stacey in the marketing department thinks that MySpace is the way to go? Withdraw your support and soldier on. No need to be embarrassed, knowing when to fold them is half the battle.

Failure means there's room for improvement.

I'm not going to lie to you, in my game, I'm known for dying. I've lost three characters in the last year. My current hero? Unbreakable. Why? Because I learned.

Maybe your last freelance gig ended poorly. Do an inventory, check your gut, and go on to the next. Now you know what NOT to do, and sometimes, that's more valuable than all of the foresight in the world.

In conclusion, nerds, scrape up those hit points, polish up that resume, and go forth to vanquish that annual review! You've marshaled your resources, practiced your talents, and mapped out your victory. Slay that dragon, save that town, get that promotion! You've earned it.

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