Tales from The Trenches Archive

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On the Rainslick Precipice of the Trenches

My tale isn’t so much “from the trenches” as much as it is about how close I became to being deep inside the foxhole.

It was November, 2004 and my graduation from undergrad was rapidly approaching. I had already received a job offer I was seriously considering, but before I could accept that offer, EA contacted me and said they’d like to interview me. “Great,” I thought, “it’s every developers dream! Working for a game studio!” We set a date and time for a phone interview and I began eagerly counting down the days, until…

...remember, this was November of 2004. For those of you who forget, or who wish not to remember, or who were simply not around at the time, let me remind you: this was the month the story of EA_Spouse broke. I can’t do the story justice, so instead I will simply post a link to the original: http://ea-spouse.livejournal.com/274.html

I e-mailed ea_spouse never expecting to receive a response, but lo and behold, she responded, asking which office I was interviewing with. When I mentioned the office, she basically told me to avoid in no
uncertain terms. This sealed the deal for me. I had no intention of doing my time at a company that abuses its workers in so cavalier a fashion.

The day of my interview came. After exchanging pleasantries and talking about my experience, I had my chance to ask questions. Since I knew I had no intention of joining EA at this point, I decided to confront. “So, I recently read an article published by the spouse of someone who works at EA. I was wondering if you’d heard of it and what you thought about it?” A pause. A clearing of a throat. A roaring, awkward silence that I could feel through the phone.

“Ah. Er. Well… you know, certainly when deadlines come, hours increase, but, er… that usually tapers off pretty quickly, once the product ships. Really. It’s, ah, usually only for… a couple of weeks.” I debated pushing. I wanted them to admit that the long hours were the status quo and not the result of pushing to meet a deadline. I wanted to reduce them to tears. I wanted blood. For the proletariat! For the people! Vive la revolucion!

Except I didn’t. I didn’t push. Because I’m a computer geek and computer geeks tend not to be the confrontational type. In the end, they didn’t offer me a 2nd round interview (big shocker), and I went to go work as a programmer for a faceless investment bank where I work worse hours than I would have at EA.

Vive la revolucion, I guess?