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  • Applying for Your First Game Industry Job

    [09.01.06]
    - Samuel Crowe

  • Feature!Benefits and Insurance

    Benefits and insurance are really company specific and should require research on the candidate’s part. The norm now is: if insurance is paid it is normally just for the employee or just a percentage or a certain dollar amount. Keep in mind that insurance premiums go up and you need to make sure that your employer is willing to help out with that increase.

    401K. 401K is a mutual fund that is set up through your company to directly deposit it into an account for you. No, the company doesn't have to match it. The norm in today’s market is not to match it. To find a company that has a 401K with matching % or $ is a rarity and probably a decent company to work for because they are investing in their employees. 401K is normally an elected option for the employee to choose if they want to "contribute" 0-10% of their income.

    Relocation. Some employers have a set rule of thumb using distance and size of family. A person moving from Maine to Washington with a 5-bedroom house would be allotted more than a single person moving from San Diego to Los Angeles. A candidate should make sure that a moving allowance is part of their offer. It should be written not oral and the guidelines as to what would be paid should be clear.

    If you are given 5K for moving, you need to know whether or not hotel stay, gas, food, truck, and towing are reimbursable. And yes, it is normally reimbursable so break out the credit cards. You also need to know what the turnaround time is for reimbursement on these expenses. If you put all of this on your credit card, you need to know when you can pay that off. It is important that you keep all receipts and a log of your travel just so you do not leave out or forget anything. Most credit card companies will keep a log of your spending and where it was spent as statement that can be mailed out monthly or printed out any time from online.

    Start date. Unless it can’t be helped, give yourself at least 5 days to get used to the area you are moving into. Locate hospitals, shopping centers, and so one. General rule is 2 weeks once you agree to work for a company. These two weeks should include finding somewhere to live, setting up all your utilities, and finding a route to and from work. If you are single, 2 weeks is plenty of time. If you’re not single and you have children, you better ask for more time.

    Cost calculation. In order to decide on what amount you can live with, you need to know what your bills are and how much it will cost to live in “said” area. Be as methodical as you can. List every single item that you have to pay for and always round up, for example:

    1. Rent: 700
    2. Phone: 60
    3. Cell phone: 45
    4. Lights: 80 (you’ll be running your computer a lot and that drains electricity)
    5. Food: 100 a week (only if you eat out a lot, and if you cook, half that)
    6. Car payment: 300
    7. Student loans: 1500
    8. Gas: 30 a week

    You get the idea. Basically, once you get this information, you will have a very accurate estimate on what the bare minimum is that you can live off of. And this is important to know. As this will dictate weather or not you can accept a “low ball” offer, which I explain further on.

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