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"Do I bite the bullet?"
a Creative Director. Several years ago I joined a startup game company.
The company did well; I did good work and earned good money. Then the
game company merged into a big software company that mainly does retail
and business software, not games. I run the art department of the business,
and still earn a good salary, but no longer have a say in overall company
management. The art department moved to its usual place inside big companies,
toward the bottom of the corporate ladder, and I get no support from
my direct supervisor (it\'s always easy to beat up on the artists).
Now I’ve been asked to assign my employees to the respective departments
that they work for, instead of reporting to me…so basically my
management role goes away. I have a wife, ex-wife, kids, and several
bartenders that rely on me for support, and I’m not real young
anymore. Do I bite the bullet and hope to survive the downsizing of
my authority, or seriously look for another position, which would probably
entail a big salary cut?
Dear AD Got Game,
Thanks for your ethics question. We're changing the format of OFFICE-POLITICS 101. In addition to Dr. John Burton, who teaches Ethics at Schulich, we'll also be calling upon industry experts to answer questions. As a co-founder of a game company, and an advertising firm, this one is right up my alley, so I'll take a shot at it.
It's a tough balancing act between paying the mortgage, etc. and being happy and challenged in your work. Your company has clearly wandered away from what attracted you to it in the first place, so it's no wonder you aren't feeling fulfilled (in fact it sounds dreary). My response is that the game business in some areas (e.g. Vancouver) is booming, and they are actively searching for talent. See article below: Game firms get creative to lure talent
Let me know how it goes.
Article excerpt from The Globe and Mail:
Game firms get creative to lure talent
By PETER KENNEDY
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2004
VANCOUVER — Organic cheese, bamboo trees, and even punk poetry readings are turning out to be the weapons of choice in Vancouver as rivals in an increasingly competitive video game industry try to hang on to their prized creative talent.
Veteran players in the fast-growing sector say the scarcity of technical artists and experienced computer programmers is becoming so acute that some companies are going to extreme lengths to attract workers and keep them happy.
For instance, after rejecting the idea of exotic butterflies to spruce up the workplace, Electronic Arts Canada hired a helicopter last year to lower a 12-metre-high bamboo tree through the roof of its new video game development centre in downtown Vancouver.
To create the exotic ambience it was seeking, the company built a glass-enclosed stairwell so that the tree is visible to 200 employees working on four floors of an office tower overlooking the city's scenic North Shore mountains.
Electronic Arts is not alone in attempting to retain staff through the creation of eclectic and sometimes exotic working environments.
Radical Entertainment Co., a small independent firm that prides itself on its art school culture, recently moved into spacious new studios that are a regular venue for some of the leading figures from Vancouver's entertainment world....
"It is hard to find talent that is looking for work," said Iain Ross, a producer at Radical, which is best known for action adventure video games such as The Hulk and Simpsons Road Rage....
"Everyone here takes advantage of the natural environment,'' said Mr. Ross, a 38-year-old former CBC producer, who spent a recent afternoon taping power boat sounds for the company's latest video game. "It's just part of our culture."
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