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People, by nature, have some interesting things to say. Here are some of my things. Some about acting. All about living ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Exit Strategies" ...

I'm a big-time gamer, and I do a lot of reading on the subject -- design, video game violence, business and development management methodologies, and so on -- and found an interesting post over at JC Barnett's "Japanmanship" blog (unnecessarily self-deprecatingly sub-titled "The unremarkable life of a videogames developer in Japan").

I am struck by JC's recent "Exit Strategies" post, which covers a topic bigger than just video games -- it's about satisfaction and balance, and applicable to acting and the toy jobs that (for most of us) support our acting.

While admittedly speaking from a demotivated perspective, he is still articulate about where his current balance is lacking, and for what specifics he's looking in order to fix it.

To be fair, I would say a lot of JC's (or my, or anyone else's) concerns about "the grind" -- long hours, other personally draining aspects of work -- will likely be everywhere (if I'm genuinely working passionately on anything). If I'm bought into my toy job (added to my arguably neurotic work ethic), I put in long hours (think 6-week stints of 90-120 hour weeks, or 5, 24-hour days to solve a production issue). Add to working hard for BigHugeCorp my acting, video game, and other passions, and my balance is consistently screwed up. And things I enjoy (home life, fly fishing, comic books, guitar, etc.) can go by the wayside.

So, I'd change JC's comment:
"Extremely rare is the developer person who at one or more points in his or her career hasn’t considered packing it in."
That said, he does a good job articulating things important to him if he were to choose to make a job change (be sure to read the full post to get the details for each):
  • Balance (work/life)
  • "Filthy Lucre" ("... being underpaid for so long has really made the need for a good salary priority number one for my next job ...")
  • Fun ("Not the job itself but the goal of the project")
  • Creativity
And implicit throughout this list is a desire to something important. Almost altruism -- edutainment projects for kids and the like.

What strikes me about this list is its universal nature.

Who doesn't want balance, money, fun, creativity, all while doing something impactful and meaningful?

So, how do we do that, if the current gig isn't providing for that?

Make the current gig do that.

For me, it's been bringing my outside passions (primarily acting and gaming) into the workplace.

It's also recognizing what I'm made for, versus what I do. I know I was made to lead people. And I was made to act. So I do those two things wherever I am.

And if the personal costs of doing that in the toy job context get too high, or whatever the current work environment is gets in the way of me building people to do big things in a creative, important, self-satisfying ways for me and for them (the "what I do" gets in the way of "what I am"), it'll be time to look for other stuff.

Because what I do is relatively transient. Who I am is the gold. Which is worthy of much filthy lucre.

And someone better damn well stand on a desk and shout "Oh Captain! My Captain!" when I'm gone.

Yikes, I'm introspective and preachy lately ...

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