8/07/2008

Out of my Head

Due to some interesting business related hurdles I've had to jump through, I've decided to postpone the follow up to the last post in favor of talking about the nature of business, specifically, the nature of any highly production oriented business, like the game industry.

In my short stint in the industry since my college graduation at the beginning of this year, I've learned quite a few lessons. Though some pertain specifically to this industry, in general they are axioms of the business world. These merely reflect my experience combined with my common sense, treat them as you will.

A lot of companies say they value demonstrations of ability over previous experience. Very few actually mean this.

Yelling at people never accomplishes anything, but it can sometimes make you feel better.

Everybody waits to the last minute.

Anything that has to be "processed" rather than "dealt with" automatically takes an extra week.

No one cares why you can't deliver.

Even fewer people care what you had to go through in order to deliver.

Timely completion automatically boosts you into the 90th percentile of competence.

"Green light" is a verb.

E-mail is the final authority in confirmation.

"Managing a process", while non-sensical sounding, can be surprisingly labor intensive.

Everybody CCs everybody on everything.

Cyrus the Great is credited as one of the first great thinkers on the subject of Human Rights. (Believe it or not, I did learn this on the job)

It's not really who you know, so much as who knows you.

Checks get signed when the person who does the signing feels like it.

There is no single trait that is more necessary to success in business than doing what you are asked to do, the first time you are asked to do it.

All humorous quipping aside, the most valuable lesson I've learned since entering the work force is that there's no key set of qualifications requried for success, particularly in the video game industry. Many places list jobs that require certain amounts of experience, and getting that first job with no experience can be very difficult, but for those who are interested, there's nothing for it other than to just put enough bird shot into the air that you're sure to hit something.

I think this really taps into a fundamental difference between an immature and a mature way of thinking. I, for one, certainly figured that something would happen in college that would prepare me for the working world. Strictly speaking, something did, I suppose, but there certainly wasn't the magic switch flipping that we all kind of half expect as kids. I'm reminded of Calvin's dad saying, "I would have been in much less of a rush to become an adult if I knew that everything was ad-libbed." It seems that most of the time in life, there's no magic quality that you can possess that makes you exceptionally ready for adulthood, working in the entertainment industry, or anything of the sort.

It's the same kind of harsh, kind of reassuring lesson as the fact that when under a deadline, no one cares what you have to do to make the deadline: the bleak, existential wasteland of the search for employment in the game industry. Want to get into casual games? Make one. Can't find anybody to program it? Do it yourself. Don't know how? Learn. The fact that nobody's handing it to you is counterpointed by the fact that nothing (nobody?) is keeping you from it.

Would I say I'm an "adult" now? That seems a bit presumptuous of me, but I've certainly enjoyed learning that last lesson there. What have you learned recently?

2 comments:

Brian Rubinow said...

I, for one, certainly figured that something would happen in college that would prepare me for the working world. Strictly speaking, something did, I suppose, but there certainly wasn't the magic switch flipping that we all kind of half expect as kids.

I learned something pretty similar to this soon after graduating from college. I thought that, despite what the naysayers proclaim about English majors, that a college degree would be a golden ticket to Magical Fairyland where I get offered my dream job and I'm happy forever. Yeah... I definitely had some learning to do.

Carol said...

Knowing this is what puts you into the 90th percentile. Finding a person who takes responsibility is like finding the golden ticket.