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Calling For A Truce


Calling For A Truce

New comics every Tuesday & Thursday

Tales from the Trenches

Hard Lessons

Upon graduating college close to a decade ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. My degree wasn’t one that tied itself closely to any particular (sustainable) career path.  I ended up spending about half of my twenties just sort of stumbling around, trying to find my professional footing.

About a year and a half after I graduated, I managed to find work as a game tester for a larger company in the Seattle area through a temp agency.  I worked assignments there off and on as they came, filling in what time I could with side assignments doing menial office work. Eventually, I took on assignments at some other area-based developers and publishers of various sizes.  Over the course of that time, I built some bridges and burned some others, mostly through my attempts at navigating a professional life I was forced to learn as I went.

After about three years of this cycle, the temp agency set me up with what I thought was a possible break.  One of the larger companies in the area was hiring testers on a temp-to-hire basis, so I went in and interviewed.  It turned out that my interview was with a QA manager and a VP of the company.  The interview was going well when I mentioned that for a time, I had served as a volunteer moderator on a video game forum.

The interview unexpectedly shifted gears at that point.  The VP said that they were going to hire a community manager in the near future and after answering some more questions, he asked me to return the next day with a reference from the site I had moderated at and a written review of one of their games, for which I was provided a download code.  I followed through, e-mailed the requested materials, and returned for a second day of interviews.  To my relief, I got the job.

Well, sort of.  Since they weren’t ready for me to start in the position yet, having some things that needed working out, I was asked to work in their test department for the time being, doing some basic certification work.  I had no problem with that, and started right away.  Things were looking up!

One week later, I was called into a meeting with a QA manager and told I was being let go.  The reason?  They weren’t supposed to hire for that community manager position yet.

How in the hell does something like that happen?

Suffering the indignity of the worst humiliation of my professional life, I staggered out of the office and called the temp agency to let them know what happened.  Of course, the rep that I had gotten me the interview was shocked.  But there was nothing that could be done, of course.

About two months later, I finally managed to get a full-time position as a tester for a small commercial software start-up, thanks largely to the game testing experience I had built up over the previous three years.  I’ve since been hired at another company and am currently making a healthy living for myself.

I haven’t worked in the game industry since and have no burning desire to go back.  Those three years were draining physically, emotionally, and financially, and the cherry on top was beyond embarrassing, but sometimes you have to learn things the hard way before better opportunities present themselves.