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  • Applying for Your First Game Industry Job

    [09.01.06]
    - Samuel Crowe

  • Feature!Workload

    Ask about overtime and late nights. The fact is that this industry requires some late nights in order to meet milestones. It’s a team effort and it affects the whole company. Be sure to ask when these happen the most and what things does the company provide to make late nights more comfortable and not so hellish. Things like paid food, drinks, and additional paid holidays accrue for hours worked over. In some cases, late nights are not scheduled and they are the result of something going wrong or something that was never planned for and improper planning by upper management. They could happen from a virus infecting the servers, technical issues, or the publishers wanting to add more features at the last minute, commonly known as feature creep. If you work during the day and don’t play games, you’ll most likely not have to pull all-nighters.

    Be sure to ask if the company uses flex hours. Meaning that you are only required to be at work during core hours and that you meet your quota of either 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.

    It is widely known that if you are doing a great deal of late nights something is wrong with both leadership responsibility, as well as communication. The leads and directors are responsible for you not having to work late. They are the ones who schedule out the work and, using their experience from past projects, estimate a stable yet flexible work structure that will allow you to complete your work on time and with the highest amount of quality.

    Turnover

    Turnover is an employee leaving a company. To evaluate turnover, look at the number of people in a company and research the number of people who left the company in a set amount of time. Let's look at a real company. From 2-1-02 to 1-31-03 (one year), a total of 41 were employed. 21 employees left employment. That turnover is 51%. Yeah, that’s high.

    There are several possible reasons: The company was not hiring to replace the employees as they left, the employees were being hired and leaving shortly after employment, or a project ended and a lot of employees were laid off. However, it is clear that with 51% turnover there are issues. I would say that 0-15% turnover is a fair number. Anything over 25% should raise questions.

    Non-Disclosure Agreements


    A company takes its responsibility for ensuring that its information, such as Intellectual Property (IP), business dealings, projects, and proposals, are treated with confidentiality without conflict of interest very seriously.

    Tip: Be assured that the NDA is to protect the company, not the employee.

    What to look for in an NDA. Protect your ownership of the work that you do outside and off-premises of work. Ensure that you can resource assets that you worked on while employed for future use (i.e. website, samples of work, etc). NDAs are so common and are taken with a grain of salt; just understand thoroughly what you are signing and ask questions for clarity when needed. Watch out for work agreements and ask yourself: “Why would a company ask me to sign a contract stating that I will not leave within a certain amount of time?” That should be a red flag. The work environment should make you want to stay without a signed agreement

    Many companies will have packets detailing all of this information for you to read and browse over. Take the time to read each paper and make sure you understand what it means. If you are not sure ask the person who gave you the packets to explain some of the details. If you are still unsure, do not sign anything and pay to have a professional lawyer read the information and offer it to you in simple terms. This will cost you, but in the long run it could save you a great of pain or money.

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