Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You're...Fill In The Blank

Edited Once

Well I got some pretty lame news.  Remember the internship that I got three months ago?  Well today, I was politely informed that my brief tenure with the company has come to a sudden conclusion.  Basically it means I was fired.


Let me explain.  The exchange today went well.  I left on a good note.  But, from the questions I asked, it wasn't because I did a poor job or I was a slacker.  It was because they basically ran out of stuff for me to do.  At least I think so--if I sucked then I wouldn't know since they didn't tell me.  I don't think I said or did anything offensive as well (at least to my knowledge).  I'm awfully disappointed, yes, but I really can't hold it against those guys since they're struggling now.  At least I learned a lot of new things, like how to use a Mac computer.  Yes sir.  It was really a good experience.

About this place that I worked at.  Well, I kept my place of employment a secret at first.  I won't tell you them now but I'll go ahead and say that it had nothing to do with racing games.  It was a startup Facebook/IOS studio with a few EA veterans in it.  That's all I can say since I don't want to inadvertently slander these guys in any way.

This studio had one semi-popular Facebook game up for at least a year before I got there.  What game it is--I'm not telling.  As soon as I showed up, my main job was to bug fix the hell out of that thing.  This meant digging into an existing ActionScript and PHP code base.  That's not bad cause at least I'm working on games and it's still interesting to me (at first).  Me and one other senior guy worked on stuff--he was the pilot and I was the co-pilot.  We were doing lots of bug tracking and QA stuff.

Well, a month later, my "pilot" was fired for seemingly no reason.  That's great--my pilot goes AWOL and now I have to fly the plane on my own.  So I had to take initiative and find bugs on my own.  I was more proficient at the Mac Terminal, Source Tree, Flash Builder (yes, we used Macs, deal with it), then it became readily apparent that the company wanted to "sunset" this game (a fancy term which means disconnect the game in 3-12 months) because the game wasn't making any more money.  Basically Zynga would stop advertising the game and hope that any existing players would lose interest so when the servers are shut down, no one would care.  And I got distraught because this game was my "baby" and I spent so much time fixing it up and now all is for naught.  I actually sort of "liked" the game too--it wasn't something I detest like Farmville, World of Warcraft, or Burnout.

Eventually for the last three weeks, I was absorbed into the "analytics" team which is basically 5-6 guys working on business software.  They took me aside and say "hey, you're a smart kid, sit in our long-ass meetings and help us out."  This included lots of PHP and Objective-C.  I didn't really have much choice since it was the only place a programmer like me could find something to do.  Eventually my task was to be a pioneer and make some unit tests or port Actionscript code to Objective-C and I basically did that...right up until now when I was fired.

Also on that same day, and apparently I must've missed the memo, one of the analytics team guys quit as well so the company was kind of f***ed at that moment.  But really, up until that moment, the whole thing was a drag on myself and the company.  I wasn't making games.  I didn't have a whole lot to do.  30 hours a week was a stretch for me and I didn't want to hang out in the office playing Facebook games as a lame excuse to say "look at these hours, I worked so hard."  And even I thought my hourly wage wasn't worth the work I was doing so whatever...away I went.

I felt so bad over the last two or three weeks.  Like my morale threw out the window.  My dream is to make racing games.  And I'm just sitting here making business software.  As for the other guys in the company, they're prototyping board games, hoping to get that blockbuster hit like Words with Friends.  I can't blame 'em but that wasn't for me and I'm sort of glad I was laid off.  Just really sucked since I was friends with a few people from my school from previous cohorts (they went there a year before me) and today, we walked downtown to Five Guys.  Ate a burger.  Talked about Reddit.  I didn't expect to be fired that day but whatever.  Bad things just happen.  Watch the news.  Enjoy every moment of every opportunity you have.

Money-wise I am fine so don't worry about it.  I'll return back to gaming school, look for more opportunities, and so forth.  Instructors there are very helpful and will do anything to help with the job search.  Right now, my main goal is Sumo Digital in the UK (of course).  Second would be Firebrand Games in Florida (no brainer).  After that, I really don't know where I want to go.  I could've stayed there in 2013 if I had nowhere else to go but I think leaving was inevitable.  Just really sucks cause some people right out of game school went straight to "great" studios like Bungie and DICE and where am I?  Back to working on Super Sprint and updating my resume...

I think I got lucky I got the job there.  After reading 30+ resumes and interviewing 10+ people, I was the only one hired and that was about a month after my interview.  I think they were reluctant to hire anybody so they just got one person--me.  And since I was on borrowed time from the get-go, I'm not surprised about what went down today.

Hey, there's one good thing about being fired like that.  As long as I didn't "suck," it's a good alibi on my resume.  Employers tend to frown on short jobs (6 months or less) because you aren't "loyal" to the company but at least I can say "I worked hard but they were downsizing and it was inevitable so you can't hold my loyalty into question."  A win for our side!

Now to eat an entire gallon of Blue Bell Cookies and Ice Cream, play Civ 5 for 12 hours, and cry myself to sleep!

Okay, a day later and I still cannot get over being fired.  Like Ricky Bobby, I saw the fear...I know I can get s***canned from my job at any moment.  Yet I can't stop joking about it.  It's like getting hit by a car--it sucks but everyone thinks you're a total BA cause you survived.  Or something...


I don't even really work here (I'm an intern being payed close to minimum wage).  That's what makes this so difficult.

I like Valve, I can work for Valve.  I can make Half-Life 3.  GABEN GABEN GABEN, APERTURE SCIENCE, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS MAKE LIFE TAKE THE LEMONS BACK, HAY GAIS DAE REMEMBER DIS GEM???  Also ponies, Rainbow Dash is my favorite.  Well that's really not fair.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to hear about your departure, man. :( I hear similar accounts here in CO where there's hardly any game studios, and the ones that are here are either struggling to stay alive or are focused solely on small web games. One of my instructors who worked on LEGO Universe (the only one with actual industry experience) found himself out of a job when NetDevil went under, and when the founders of the studio quit weeks before, they knew what was coming.

    But on the upside, like you said you've got something to slap on a resume, the experience and whatnot. :) Just keep fighting, I say. I know some talented people who want to get into the industry here, but won't because of an unwillingness to relocate, family, or something in their personal lives that hold them back. And you've still got your whole life ahead of you to pursue what you want.