Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

You’re Fired! Losing your job in the game industry…
Part 4

So I was transferred to a new company instead of fired. Not so bad a situation if the new company proved to be more competent than the last. I mean, how could it not be? The last place was a monument to mismanagement of talent and promotion of the stupid. I was pretty certain that an industry veteran like myself was going to find some compelling work to do at this new place.

My first job was to copy and paste text.

To COPY AND PASTE TEXT!

This is not an exaggeration… I was to copy text from one place, and put it in another document. I soon learned that this would be pretty much the ENTIRETY of my job. To copy and paste text… Clearly the mismanagement of talented resources was not confined to just the original company I had been at. This was a veritable disease that had spread through every limb of the conglomeration of companies and was festering in every corner, waiting to spring on talented people and chain them to a desk where they would be forced to waste their time on tasks that any trained monkey could do. What possible business model to success could they have been following?

Yet, the leads did seem more competent and capable at this new place. Though they were not amazing, they certainly had some sense of what they were doing. Unfortunately, there was a power struggle amongst them and they had three leads for one body of work. I couldn’t help but think it would negatively impact the game they were working on, and sure enough it had. It was a mish-mash of disconnected ideas, mini-games and plot-lines. You honestly could not follow the logic from one objective to the next or any of the story. Sadly it was another movie game adaption, but fortunately for me I wasn’t going to be doing any work that required me to think. Unfortunately for them that makes me not want to be there, so I stepped up my job search.

Over the next few months I copied and pasted text like a good little monkey, but because my job was so mind-numbingly boring, I wouldn’t stay late unless there was some sick deadline (of which there were several as they needed my work to be completed in order to record dialogue). Then I kept coming in a little bit later each day. My heart just wasn’t in it. Nothing will destroy the soul of a game industry veteran faster than making them do mind-numbingly stupid work over and over. That’s why the running joke is that EA is where the pros go to die. Yet despite getting the work done, I was still getting the evil eye for not staying late and for coming in late. Did they really expect me to work overtime for no extra pay on what could possibly have been the most idiotic job in the world?

Just when I had given up all hope, I got a hit on my job search. An old friend needed someone with my talent set to come work on new intellectual properties! Finally, I would be working on something I would enjoy. Nothing beats the freedom of being able to create worlds in any way that you choose. But I felt bad about ditching the current company when they were so close to certain deadlines. I (stupidly) delayed the new job for a couple months so that I could wrap up the final few bits of copying and pasting and thus not screw my current employer. Apparently I had a conscience, but it did not serve me well.

When the receptionist who never talks to you on a normal basis comes by your desk and whispers that they need to see you in the HR ladies office, you know you’re about to be fired. I mean, let’s be honest here, no one is that dumb. If you REALLY want to trick someone, tell them that there’s a problem with their 401k and they need to sign some paperwork in the HR office. Then they can be all shocked and awed when they get there to find out they’re being fired. Of course, management is practically mentally retarded at this particular group of companies, so knowing I was about to be fired, I copied some personal files I needed to my flash drive, deleted pretty much everything else that wasn’t work related and decided not to send out an e-mail because I really didn’t care enough to write one.

When I walked into the HR office, one of the three leads for my position was there along with the HR lady and a couple of others. This was going to be fun… I had trouble containing my smile as I asked where I had to sign to get out of this hellhole. They then had the nerve to start talking about how I wasn’t staying late and I was reducing morale for the team. I told them that if they wanted to reduce morale, they should try copying and pasting text for several months and see what that does for them. I also pointed out that my work was getting done but more importantly, they were absolutely stupid for putting an industry veteran like myself on such a simian task. I was given some paper to sign which I scribbled on, and the HR lady wrote my name under the scribbling (not legally binding when you write someone’s name for them). I then pointed out how idiotic they were to fire me before I was done and that given their policy of shutting down computers when firing people, they had probably just lost an entire day of work that I had been doing. I picked up my “you’re fired” packets and was escorted out by HR to my car.

I’m not one to take things out on HR, it’s really not their fault or decision. So I was actually smiling and laughing once we got outside. I felt… Free. I would not be copying and pasting text anymore as a job ever again. I was horribly overpaid considering, and now I had to try to move up the start date of the new job I had lined up (which it turned out I couldn’t) but I scrounged together enough to make ends meet until I did start at the new place.

The difference between the two companies is night and day, which is probably why I’m able to reflect on the past right now without feeling any real bitterness about it. However, people still work at those companies, so maybe they’ll learn a few things from this. Tomorrow I’ll tell you about some other people who experienced similar events, and then I’ll try to summarize what you should do when working at such companies… It’ll be fun.

posted by CommanderHate at 3:50 pm  

1 Comment »

  1. I didn’t even know you when I sat across from you at first. I’d only worked as a QA monkey before, so that was my first ‘real’ industry job. When I finally found out what you were actually doing after talking to you for a month, I was absolutely incredulous.

    What the hell was your job title, anyways?

    Comment by Technohazard — January 31, 2008 @ 5:49 pm

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