- This topic has 12 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 14 years, 7 months ago by Anonymous.
April 19, 2008 at 12:10 pm #6691AnonymousInactive
Just looking for some advice as I’m very confused at the moment.
Basically, I’ve been through uni, got games technology qualifications, did QA for a while, and finally got my dream games programming job last month. Very first programming interview I did and they offered me the job next day, I was so happy it all worked out so well.
The problem is, now that I’m here I hate it. It’s not the work so much, I like the work for the most part, but I do feel a bit out of my depth at times as I’ve been thrown in at the deep end during crunch time with no guidance or training. My big problem is the atmosphere at the company which is awful, ridiculously long hours with no compensation, everyone stressed, noone has any pride in the game we’re working on.
On top of that, getting the job has involved moving to a new city where I really haven’t settled and I really don’t see myself settling.
The problem is that I know the games industry is a pretty small and close knit one. I want to quit right now, but this is my first ‘real’ job out of uni and I’m really worried that if I do that I’ll just kill my career because who wants to hire someone that walked out on their first job so soon.
On the other hand I’m beginning to think that wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe I just want to go home to Ireland and get a traditional programming job since there’s practically no games jobs there. The pay is better and it would probably be less stressful and I’d be back at home with my friends and family. But then I go looking up jobs and see nothing but companies looking for people who know web technologies and database stuff and a million other things I know nothing about and I start to feel like, for all my education, there’s no other jobs out there I’m qualified for.
Right now I’m clueless as to what to do. I’m probably going to just knuckle down and try to stick it out here for 6 months or so then start looking elsewhere. Advice would be welcome though :)
April 19, 2008 at 12:44 pm #40758AnonymousInactive
If you really don’t like the job you’re in, staying there for even another 6 months might really affect you, especially as dislike of a job will increase the stress even more of being in crunch time.
If you’ve been there for a short enough time, you could just not put the job on your CV when applying for another job if you’re worried about it looking bad. I’d suggest you shop around anyway, and see if you can find something else that looks like an improvement, as it’d be a lot easier to leave if you had somewhere to go.
April 19, 2008 at 10:17 pm #40763AnonymousInactive
I have some observations… but obviously take my advice with a grain of salt, as I haven’t been in the same position as you.
Very first programming interview I did and they offered me the job next day, I was so happy it all worked out so well. [/quote:c1e50c7995]
Congratulations – that’s a good achievement, regardless of what else happens.
The problem is, now that I’m here I hate it. It’s not the work so much, I like the work for the most part, but I do feel a bit out of my depth at times as I’ve been thrown in at the deep end during crunch time with no guidance or training.
From personal experience, starting new programming jobs can be very tough, especially if the company is under pressure. It can be a demanding environment at the start, because everyone else is familiar with the technologies used, and how the company works, and you’re always the most clueless person in the room… The codebase never makes any sense, and seems completely hacked, and simple tasks take longer than they should to do because you are new… and no one can take time to train you, because, like the man brooks says, the training time will only make the looming deadline harder to hit.
In situations like this, I make sure and tell myself that things will improve… even without any guidance I’ll learn the system, and in a month or two I’ll be up to speed and getting just as good as everyone else – what I’m trying to say, is you aren’t alone in this respect; when working in a new company, we can all feel a bit out of our depth, even in great companies, with great teams that are under pressure.
My big problem is the atmosphere at the company which is awful, ridiculously long hours with no compensation, everyone stressed, noone has any pride in the game we’re working on. [/quote:c1e50c7995]
Whatever about the other bits, that really rings alarm bells…
Environments where everyone thinks the project or the company is a disaster area, and where the team has lost overall morale are very very bad. (Especially if management isn’t on top of it, and trying to help – but if management is doing their job, this shouldn’t happen).
Personally, I would go to huge lengths to avoid any place where there’s a systemic lack of faith in what the team being worked on.
I would take these lengths, because working in companies like that can affect your morale, allow you to fall into bad ways of developing software, that can affect your future abilities as a developer, and even, as Kentaree points out, your well being.
You have to be very careful though that other circumstances (new city, new job, etc) aren’t colouring your perceptions. Won’t talk about this, as you’re in the best position to judge that.
The problem is that I know the games industry is a pretty small and close knit one. I want to quit right now, but this is my first ‘real’ job out of uni and I’m really worried that if I do that I’ll just kill my career because who wants to hire someone that walked out on their first job so soon. [/quote:c1e50c7995]
If I was interviewing someone for any programming job, their CV showing them join and leave a company in quick succession would indeed make me wonder ‘why?’
That said, if someone told me that the place they were working was a bad environment, affecting their ability to be productive (and if I believed them) I would see it as a positive thing that they are the sort of developer that refuses to work in a broken environment that they cannot fix.
It’s swings and roundabouts, but I’d rather work with someone who left early than with someone who did three years in a broken organisation.
It’s a tough position to be in – whatever you decide to do, best of luck… I certainly wouldn’t make any decision for a week or two.
April 20, 2008 at 4:32 pm #40767AnonymousInactive
In crunch time your colleagues are under huge pressure too…they will become negative due to the pressures their under. Its not the nicest time to join a team…some people thrive is such situations…some don’t…even worse if you are new to the craft. Depending on when the crunch time is due to end, use this to assist your decision making. If the project is at the start of crunch time and a developer release is 6 months to a year away, then your in for a rough ride (from the sounds of it) and you need to consider have you the resolve to get through that time. If its one to two months then things may improve and you might even get to know the team. From your post it would appear you feel isolated…you need to sort this…un-isolate yourself…you got through college; so you have the skills to do this already. They say the biggest stresses in life are changing job, moving house etc..you seem to have taken it all on. Look for the positives, know your limits. Your career is obviously important to you, otherwise you wouldn’t have taken on so much. Try to look forward to 2/3/4 months. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do.
April 20, 2008 at 5:57 pm #40768AnonymousInactive
Yea I think you’re right, isolated pretty much sums up how I feel at the moment, more so than anything else.
I was expecting crunch times and long hours, I was under no illusions about how the industry can work, but arriving in as a complete outsider in the middle of crunch is a different experience entirely I guess.
Thanks for the advice, I haven’t made a decision yet, it needs a lot of thought obviously.
April 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm #40769AnonymousInactive
my advice would be dont do anything at present.
you’ve move to a new job, new place etc. it takes time to settle into everything, believe me i did it. Often it takes 3-4 months really.
And soon (in the next month) im making a massive move for work again. my advice would be ride out the crunch and see what happens. all programming jobs are stressful during crunch (even out side games), ppl tend to be affected different ways during crunch. the best way to view your work environment is when the crunch is off (because this is more typical, crunch should only happen every now and then, if its more often then the PM need to sort themselves out).
Who do you work for?
incidently more news on SRS in the next day or so, its and interesting one, the mythical phoenix jumps to mind ;)
April 21, 2008 at 8:01 am #40770AnonymousInactive
my advice would be dont do anything at present.
you’ve move to a new job, new place etc. it takes time to settle into everything, believe me i did it. Often it takes 3-4 months really. [/quote:236c28b0ed]
I’d be inclined to agree with Peter. The longer you’re there the easier things will become for you; you’ll get to know your job better and become better accquainted with everyone else on the team. Saying that though, if after 6 months you find you still hate it then I think you’re better off moving on to somewhere else. There’s no point in sticking with a job that you hate if you can find something that you’ll enjoy better !
because this is more typical, crunch should only happen every now and then, if its more often then the PM need to sort themselves out[/quote:236c28b0ed]
Crunch should never happen- at all. If projects are properly planned and managed from day one then there should be no need for it.
April 21, 2008 at 9:41 am #40772AnonymousInactive
way to quote a software engineering book there darragh. It should never happen but its totally naive to believe that. You will always have crunch, for two reasons.
1: if you ahead of schedule your going to be asked for more features etc, and most PM cant say no to management request(its seen as negative). So you crunch to get these new features in ;)
2: If your behind schedule, you crunch. ;)
When you start your career you’ll eat those words.
As for the topica of this thread. Staying in your job, remember you have a start in the industry, they are pretty hard to come by. Quiting after 6months could prove difficult to find a job. 6 month on the c.v. equates to nothing to be honest, as you wont have learned very much. Typically, i’ve found in the industry you really only come into your own after about a year. Sure you can fix bugs, chase down things, but you really only start to see the full picture after a year or so, where you can recommend changes, see thing being done right\wrong. So i would personally stick it out longer.
April 21, 2008 at 10:18 am #40773AnonymousInactive
As for the topica of this thread. Staying in your job, remember you have a start in the industry, they are pretty hard to come by. Quiting after 6months could prove difficult to find a job. 6 month on the c.v. equates to nothing to be honest, as you wont have learned very much. Typically, i’ve found in the industry you really only come into your own after about a year. Sure you can fix bugs, chase down things, but you really only start to see the full picture after a year or so, where you can recommend changes, see thing being done right\wrong. So i would personally stick it out longer.[/quote:4c029e97b6]
I’d like to support this. I don’t think you’ll have had the opportunity yet to really know whether this is for you. I suggest you talk with your team lead and request a mentor be assigned to you – someone more senior in the team who’s responsible for helping you acclimatise. If the company refuses then that may help you make your decision…
It sounds to me like you’ve made a number of simultaneous big moves i.e. to industry, to a new location and to a crunching team. That’s a very big undertaking. I suggest allow yourself a little more time, and make sure to talk with your manager/lead and let them know what you’re thinking. It sounds like they want you (given the speedy hire) so they presumably will want you to be a successful addition to the team, so in a twisted version of the Gerry Maguire mantra: "help them help you".
April 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm #40774AnonymousInactive
way to quote a software engineering book there darragh. It should never happen but its totally naive to believe that.. [/quote:9f07dfbedc]
Indeed, I could have ripped that straight from a SE book but I don’t think anybody here could argue against it’s logic. I’m not naive, and I do know that for 99% of games companies crunch time is the norm. But just because it’s common practice doesn’t mean that it’s neccesarily best practice, nor does it mean that efforts shouldn’t be made to avoid it.
When you start your career you’ll eat those words.[/quote:9f07dfbedc]
No, I’ll still maintain those views. But crunch time or not, I’ll get on with my work like everyone else.
April 21, 2008 at 2:25 pm #40776AnonymousInactive
Reply to Peter_Bs comments on software engineering on another thread:
April 21, 2008 at 4:32 pm #40778AnonymousInactive
Try and hold out for a year then get the feck out ot Dodge, there are plenty of companies that you will like a lot more than your current place!
Stick with it then apply to some other places :)
Join The Chaos Engine industry forum to get the inside gossip on game companies. Apply to join now as there is quite a wait !
April 21, 2008 at 6:36 pm #40780AnonymousInactive
From soneone who has personal experience of a situation that is almost identical to your own, my advice would be to try and stick it out and also take more control of your own career.
You state that you feel a little out of your depth at the moment. First of all, your new to the games industry. It’s a very normal reaction and I’m sure many other people on these boards felt the same way when they got their first games job. You’ve gone from doing small projects for yourself to a full scale commercial project consisting of quite possibly hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Of course it’s going to be a little daunting.
Get to know the senior programmers on the job and don’t be afraid to ask them any questions that you may have. If they won’t help you, then they shouldn’t be in that position. I worked my way up to a senior programming position, but I was always had a bit of time to help more junior programmers especially around crunch time, as it gave me a little break from my own work and secondly, it’s in the company’s interests to get you up to speed as soon as possible. I would stongly reaffirm what stevec64 said, in that you should talk to your manager about how you feel with the view to assigning a senior programmer to yourself for mentoring purposes.
Also, you stated that there is a bad atmosphere as the company you work in. This can be very hard to get around and I would seriously have to question the competence of your manager for allowing a situation like this to develop. I have worked ridiculous hours myself in the past, but deep down we all knew just how important it is to have a good atmosphere in the place. My only solution here is try not to take it personally in this case. Remember, it’s still your career, and focus and developing yourself and advancing your own career. If there’s any negative people around you, try to not have too much contact with them. I’ve worked with people who were constant moaners and they had a brilliant knack of turning ordinary problems into a full-blown crisis. Hindsight has taught me that they were most likely, not competent enough at their jobs.
I’ll finish by recommending to you not to ‘fall into the gutter’ as it were. Above all, think positive. You have got your dream job and you like the work for the most part of it so that’s a big plus in itself. Try sticking it out and above all, focus on trying to enjoy your work and developing yourself as a fully fledged games programmer. If you encounter any work related problems then talk to your manager. If he/she is not prepared to discuss any work-related problems with you, then your decision is pretty much made.
Best of luck!!
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