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Strategem

04/04/13

Strategem

New comics every Tuesday & Thursday


Tales from the Trenches

Another Day in the Trenches

I was QA at an Indie Game Company that didn’t last long enough to put its foot in the industry door. Sadly it has also been my only experience in the Testing World to date, as I got a nice job in the local Barnes and Nobles where the conditions are nowhere near as bad. However during my time at the company I met three people that almost killed my love for testing all together.

The first candidate I like to call Vacant, because his presence was almost never noticed. That could be because IF he showed up, he was the least contributing member. The company was hiring very… Well, randomly. Anything from seasoned testers and developers to complete rookies to worked period. Vacant, was one of them. Of the days we spent crunching, he found ways to slip out for hours unnoticed, and when he was here, sleep or laze off to where he had to do little work. When confronted, he would claim it wasn’t a lack of work, but that his “team” was hindering him or wouldn’t let him help, and generally our boss would move him around. When he was moved to my team (We were multiplayer, and as of now there would be 5 of us) he decided to just sleep in the corner while we were busy bug-hunting. Even then, when there was little excuse for his lack of productivity, he would convince the boss that we wouldn’t let him play our reindeer games, which he believed since multiplayer for the game featured 4 slots, not 5. Somehow, the same excuse worked when one of us missed a day for a funeral, and Vacant had plenty of room to join in.

The second I call Biff, and he was our group’s Team Leader. He was alright for my first couple months of working, but then things started to get… Interesting, is a word. He used to just pat us on the back, and tell us what we needed to do. Come month 4 and he had evolved to light-arm punches, and a bit more of an intimidation factor to get us to do our job. When one of us tried to laze off, he put them into a head lock and pretty much said if he didn’t get his work done by the end of the day he was going to beat the snot out of him. What increased this was when we hired Anya, a lovely girl who was helping in another tester group. Anya and I would often spend our lunches together, and when this happened, Biff’s punches became more bruising and his threats to me more serious. When it became a rumor that Anya and I had began dating, it turned from bruise educing punches to shoves, and intimidation turned to him BREATHING down my neck and barking at me like a dog. Finally, the breaking point came when I couldn’t repro a bug in the game where hitting a certain enemy three times in a row with a certain attack would basically make the model of the creature bug out in ways I can’ find words for, he tackled me to the ground and just yelled at me. When I reported this to HR, the boss gave him a simple talking to, a three day suspension, and then didn’t pay me for the time I had to spend getting checked out at the doctor.

Speaking of, case 3: Da Boss: Why the fancy title? Because that’s ALL he was. A boss. And by that I mean, he was just there to claim everything was his, sign off of things, and then ignore all the problems unless it threatened him personally. There would be days we would miss work because our office was basically a rented apartment building which only he had the key for. So if he didn’t feel like coming in, then no one worked OR got paid for it because HE said none of us came to work that day. If any problems came up, he’d push it to whatever team lead was available, and if the problem was with a team lead, he’d just send them home for a couple days which rarely solved the problem.

One day our utilities were shut down, and not only did it cost us a weeks pay to get it all put back on, he then docked us another week of pay for not working that week (Save for team leads, whom by the way were all personal friends of his, even Biff.) The final straw came during the winter, when Da Boss told everyone he would be gone for a couple weeks as he was heading out of town for the winter. One of the other testers, in a stroke of genius, asked,

Tester: “So who are you giving the key to then?”
Boss: “What? No one.”
Tester: “Then how do you expect us to work when you have the only key?”
Boss: “You’re going to come in and do you job of course.”
Tester: “How!? The place will be locked and only you have a key.”
Boss: “That’s not my fucking problem!”

Not the accurate quote, but close enough. It went on until that tester was fired on the spot, then smart old me opened my mouth to ask him what’s funding this trip. You can guess his answer. I, Anya, and about 10 other testers walked out. The company closed a couple months later due to a lack of funding.

Now, as stated, I work a decent job at Barnes and Nobles, with a lovely fiancé named Anya who is still in QA with another Indie Company with intelligent Team leads and a boss that actually pays her.