Tales from The Trenches Archive

Submit your own Tale from The Trenches

Listen guys, I don’t want to have to tell you again…

After being laid off from an Internet start-up, I wanted to find a way to break into the games industry, so I took the advice of a friend who suggested that QA was a good foot in the door. I got a job at one of the largest publishers and was a little stunned to find that my working environment had gone from the typical hipster Internet thing to something resembling a dungeon.

I found my station and tried to make some small talk with the guy on the bench next to me, asking him what his favorite part of working there was. He seemed somewhat annoyed that I had the audacity to talk to him and after a minute, without looking up from his screen he stated, matter-of-factly “What I like best about working here is that I am empowered to fart freely.” “Fart freely?” I asked. “Yes,” he went on. “It’s so loud in here that nobody will hear the deed, and there are so many fat bastards in here that if the smell gets around nobody’s going to blame me.”

I assumed that was his way of telling me to fuck off and mind my own business, but I found a different seat, just in case, and started to dig into the task at hand - a PC port of a console game based on a moronic TV quiz show. The game was pretty simplistic to start with, but since they had only implemented 5 test questions at that stage, it was mind-numblingly boring. Later in the day, the Senior Manager called everybody into the center of the room for the weekly all-hands, and I was incredibly happy for the break.

As all the testers gathered around, he surveyed the crowd, and then started, somewhat severely. “I’ve got a lot of stuff to talk about today, but unfortunately I have to bring up the same thing that we talked about last week. Listen guys, I don’t want to have to tell you again - you’ve got to flush and wash your hands.”

I worked there almost a year, before moving on into another area of the industry. Once I got used to it, it was kind of a fun job and lot of the people there turned out to be pretty cool. However, starting with my second day on the job I carried a bottle of hand sanitizer with me wherever I went.