I went into game testing with a mindset of “It’s a job, you’re not going to be having much fun”. My first week was a bit intimidating, but I got to sit down, and it was easy to just talk to the person next to me while I play a laughably broken game.
Around a month in, I didn’t really recognize half of the people I was working with anymore. Worried for my job security, I confided in a regular tester more senior than myself and was told “As long as you drop bugs, you don’t really have anything to worry about”. I calmed down and got over the gruesomely competitive nature of minimum wage bug testing, as there was never a shortage of people who did nothing to make you look better.
Crunch time rolls in. “You can come in on saturday if you want” became “Come in on sunday” in our now 11 hour a day week schedules. We were at least making time and a half, but I very often would find myself going home to collapse immediately, and waking up to get ready for another day for an entire week. We were being asked some very rough things for minimum wage, yet newcomers were still joining in on to such a haphazard environment. You would see people come and go in the span of days in this circus.
I was inevitably let go for falling asleep on the job (largely because the only person who could make decent coffee was also let go), but some events stood out which numbed my reaction. I was talking to a salaried QA lead about how we were trading our souls for time and a half. He laughed and explained to me how you don’t get time and a half on salary. I was making more money than he was. Shortly following that was a weekly meeting. Weekly meetings would occur when we were far behind our bug count quote (which by the way, happened every week), and occasionally, we would be asked to raise our hands if we were around for over X amount of months. I found myself among a very small number of people in the 5 month marker, but I’m not sure why this would be motivating. The people who had only been there for a week could already name at least one person who had been there for less time than they had, yet were already gone.