Lowtotem.com >> Risk vs. Reward and the Game Industry

August 30, 2008

(This is a pretty serious post from me, and since LowTotem.com isn’t being indexed yet, I’m cross-posting it here as well.)

I’ve got a couple of posts planned for the future, but I’ve all of a sudden gotten real busy at work.  For the first time, I really feel like I’m doing what I want to be doing, and that’s a good feeling.

Some pretty big changes have gone down the last few days at work.  Its unavoidable, I guess, especially in the world of startup companies.  That’s the real trade-off.  Risk vs. reward and all that.  I spent 2 and a half years working for 3 of the biggest names in the game industry.  Things were stable (in theory, when you are a temp, you never have job security).  But I knew my chances at moving up were limited.

I took a real risk when I left my last company to move into production for an unknown, untested, casual game startup.  As someone who’s taken a non-traditional career path, I knew the only way I was going to advance is by taking a huge risk.  I jumped right into it.

It seems crass to say this when people you’ve known and worked with have just been let go, but frankly, I’m not worried.  I don’t want to lose my job.  But if I do, I’m in a lot better place to deal with the situation than I was 2 and a half years ago.  Everything I do, I’m learning.  Every new day, I’m learning.  Success or failure, I’m learning.

Our CEO said something today that affected me deeply.  He said, “Be your own CEO.”  Think like a CEO.  Solve problems like a CEO.  And that’s exactly what I intend to do.  I’m not worried about failure, or making a bad decision.  Its all about risk vs. reward.  As a young person, you have to be willing to take risks, even at the expense of losing everything.

And that’s the advice I give to my friends still toiling away in the QA dungeons of the Game Industry.  You have to be willing to give it up at a moments notice.  Take risks.  Think like a CEO.

I know too many bright, intelligent people who are wasting away in QA.  They grow bitter, wondering why they can’t advance in an industry they love.  They grow complacent, willing to accept mediocrity because they aren’t willing to take a chance.  At some point, you have to be willing to risk it all.

So, I’m sitting here, still trying to process today’s events.  I wish everyone good luck and hope they quickly land on their feet.  But its time for me to start taking advantage of the opportunities each new day brings.

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