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Getting Ahead at the Office
A Sim's career is an important part of his or her virtual life. No matter what the career may be - military, music, medical, and so on - a Sim's career is the primary source of income during a Sim's life. A career is also a place where a Sim can meet new people (co-workers) and obtain lifetime fulfillment, should a Sim's lifetime goal be obtaining the top tier of a specific career.
While there is no way to have direct control over a Sims career performance (they disappear from view when at work), there are numerous factors which determine how well a Sim will do. This brief guide explains how to ensure that a Sim will do well in their chosen field.
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In the Pursuit of Happiness
Happiness is an important part of a Sim's career performance. As the game makes very clear, happy Sims will perform better at their job than sad Sims, and over time this will result in quicker promotions and a speedier fulfillment of the Sim's career goals. For the player, happiness is important because it is a consistent element that the player can control.
Knowing that a Sim needs to be happy to do well is one thing - making them happy is another. The most important thing to keep in mind concerning happiness and job performance is that happiness only effects job performance while a Sim is actually on the job. This seems obvious enough, but it can be easy to overlook if a Sim is consistently happy while at home (and in the player's sight) but not so happy while at work (and out of the player's sight).
Keeping a Sim happy at work is not difficult, however. All the player needs to do is keep careful track of the Sim's needs. A Sim that is going to work hungry or tired will be miserable, so make sure that these basic needs are taken care of before the Sim takes the carpool to work. Speaking of the carpool, don't be afraid to make them wait while finishing up a shower. The carpool will wait for nearly an hour before leaving a Sim behind, so go ahead and finish whatever is needed to make sure the Sim will be happy at work.
If they do take off without you, get to work on your own: late is better than never applies.
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Besides happiness, keeping high marks in the skills which are important to a Sim's job performance is another consistent and controllable way to ensure that a Sim will have an edge in their career. All careers have certain skills associated with them, but the skills which are important vary from career to career. They are readily visible in the career tab in the game.
The main problem that can arise from trying to become proficient in these skills is finding time to pursue them and keep a Sim happy. A military Sim will need to be good at athletics, but having the Sim do sit-ups for four hours after work every day isn't going to work well. That said, there are usually ways to keep a Sim happy and obtain ranks in skills important to a Sim's career. Playing chess, for example, will make most Sims quite happy - and it will rank up logic as well! Selecting traits or rewards that help develop skills you need at work can also help, like Athletic or Greenthumb for a Sim that needs good Athlete or Gardening skills.
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Selecting "Work Hard" is a good way to make a Sim do better at their career. It will make the Sim more stressed out, but if the Sim goes to work quite happy then they should still be happy even with a negative moodlet active. Sims 3 is a time management game, and if career success is the Sim's lifetime goal then it is possible to simply sacrifice time spent happy at home for time spent productive at work. This can be done by making sure a Sim goes to work well fed, showered, and rested every day. They'll come home stressed out, but there should be enough time to make them happy when they clock back in the next day.It can be difficult to work hard if you are also trying to lern skills or grow a family though.
Don't forget about the skill-enhancing work options, either. If it is possible to increase skill in a career-important area while at work, then do so often. There is no penalty for working on a skill while at work, and in the long term the returns on this use of on-the-job time can be excellent. Also, sucking up to the Boss is a good way to get Career Oppotunites you can complete for performance bonuses and faster promotions.
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A Lifetime Wish
These tips are all that are needed to keep a Sim's career going smoothly in The Sims 3. The game is not terribly hard on Sims at work, and so long as a Sim goes to work happy, keeps related skills at high levels, and occasionally works hard, then a Sim should be able to max out their career well before they kick the bucket. You can actually collect a pretty sizable pension if you retire at the top of your Career, so you can have plenty of time outisde of work over a Sims lifetime and still get the wish done. The most important thing to remember is not to get too distracted. If a Sim's Lifetime Woal is to become the best at their career then they will need to focus on their career.
The Lifetime Wishes associated with mastering a career are some of the most time consuming to achieve and they can only be completed by a Sim that goes to work happy, works hard, and excels in the Skills which make him or her good at their job. There is only so much time in a Sim's day, and for a Sim to truly conquer their profession they'll need to devote much of their life, preferably starting early, to their career.