The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
By now, you've probably heard about Valve's new employee
handbook making its rounds around the Internet. I heard it first on Twitter and
quickly snatched the file up, thinking it was either a disgruntled employee sharing
company secrets or more likely an inadvertent mistake by someone who meant to
send the link via a direct message and instead sent it to the general
population. After reading the handbook cover to cover, the disgruntled employee
scenario seems far less likely or even downright impossible. I mean, this is
Valve we're talking about and if this handbook is representative of what it's
really like working there, I can't imagine anybody being anything other than on
Cloud Nine all of the time.
Since it appears to have been intentionally released for
public consumption (and was also recently published, given it is sporting a
2012 copyright), one can only wonder whether this is more of Valve's
shenanigans, an elaborate hoax or something more sinister - which they are
notorious for...or if it is truly an authentic employee handbook, which is full
of interesting tidbits of sage advice, words of wisdom and even a pretty nifty
timeline of Valve's history.
NOTE: As quick as the
initial news spread, the latest report circulating on Twitter and various
websites is that Valve has confirmed the handbook is indeed real and made
public. Why, I don't know...but I'm not complaining.
Bottom line, whether it is more of Valve luring us in for a
PR stunt or not, there is still some value in skimming through it, especially
if you are a fan of the company; if nothing more than to look at the pretty
pictures and the timeline of key events. Give you something to dream of and
As several folks have pointed out - yes...there is a cartoon
drawing that shows a person wearing a Half Life 3 t-shirt, but I think it's
safe to say that (A) we already know Valve is capable of teasing us with the
old Half Life 3 t-shirt ruse, and (B) we already know Valve is working on a
Half Life 3. They just have to be. They might not be in any rush to publish
it...and it might still be nothing more than some rough sketches on the back of a
napkin, but there will be a Half Life 3...eventually. In Valve time.
I have long waved the Valve banner and have gone on record admitting
that I am fan boy. I've written quite a few blogs on the company and their
games and have always proclaimed their awesomeness. A few of you can testify to
this fact (not that they would necessarily do it under oath mind you). So, when
I read this handbook, it made me love and admire the company even more. Imagine
going to work every day for a company that operates like this:
That's why Valve is
flat. It's our shorthand way of saying that we don't have any management, and
nobody "reports to" anybody else. We do have a founder/president, but even he
isn't your manager. This company is yours to steer-toward opportunities and
away from risks. You have the power to green-light projects. You have the power
to ship products.
around the office can seem a little too good to be true. If you find yourself
walking down the hall one morning with a bowl of fresh fruit and
Stumptown-roasted espresso, dropping off your laundry to be washed, and heading
into one of the massage rooms, don't freak out. All these things are here for
you to actually use. And don't worry that somebody's going to judge you for
taking advantage of it-relax! And if you stop on the way back from your massage
to play darts or work out in the Valve gym or whatever, it's not a sign that
this place is going to come crumbling down like some 1999-era dot-com startup.
If we ever institute caviar-catered lunches, though, then maybe something's
wrong. Definitely panic if there's caviar.
That's just not the way most businesses run. You know
what it reminds me of? It reminds me of...well, if you've played the Portal
series, Valve kind of reminds me of Aperture Science. Now, I'm sure that's no
earth shattering revelation. I'm sure that comparison has been made before, but
this Valve Handbook for New Employees could easily read Aperture Science
Handbook for New Employees. Maybe, deep down, that's why I am so enamored with
Valve, because it "feels" like Aperture Science. I have this mental image that working at
Valve would somehow be like living in a video game.
Anyway, I'm not going to cover everything in the handbook
because you can read it for yourself. I do think it is interesting to note
though, the section of the handbook proclaiming what Valve doesn't do all that
well (how odd yet refreshing, a company that admits what they do wrong).
Oddly enough, there is a single review
at the website Glassdoor, a website that provides "an inside look at jobs and
companies", for Valve that was submitted back in August of 2008. Of course we
don't know if it's truly submitted by an actual employee or not, but if it is...it
provides a little feedback from someone within the organization who has mostly
good things to say about the company.
good quality of
life, and being surrounded by creative people. there are many reasons to work
at valve. the standards are pretty high, but they push you and really make you
strive for the newest, best thing. there is no formal management structure, and
responsibility is given on a competence level or if one asks for it. there is
lots of room to try new things, so you feel like you are learning all the time.
i have been at valve for many years and found it to be extremely rewarding,
both in a business sense and personal one.
internally (high standards).
Advice to Senior
more insight into
what's happening at the company, future plans.
That seems to coincide verbatim with the handbook, and
only slightly ironic...and humorous (especially the "making predictions longer
than a few months out" comment).
If you haven't read any of the news stories or checked
out the handbook for yourself, this will probably help you out - Valve's
Employee Handbook Is Online For All To See.
I guess really the main reason I was so happy to see this
New Employee Handbook is it makes me optimistic with the future. Today marks the
anniversary of my military service, which is winding down and coming to an end.
It's true. My days left on active duty are numbered. The exact number isn't
known but I do have a ballpark minimum and maximum number of days left. And so,
for the first time in a long time (like...in forever) I will be making a major
career change. I'd like to finally be able to do something that I have a lot of
passion for and that's somewhere in the video games industry. Sure, I have dream
jobs I think I'd enjoy...and yes Game Informer is at the top of that list. But
seeing this handbook and knowing that there are companies out there (Valve's
not the only one) where you're free to pursue your dream, follow your passion
and become a part of something that defines who you are...that gives me hope.
Besides, I'm pretty handy with a crowbar.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who
mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Seuss
Valve is flawless in my eyes haha. I love those guys, and they're always releasing something out of this world. I also loved the Dr. Seuss quote at the end. Great blog!
Well, I would like to say that I would be extremely happy if you got a job at Game Informer. I love to read your writing, and make sure to check out everything. Oh, and thank you for serving this country.
Man, I really hate Valve time... but I totally agree that they would be stellar to work for. They just seem to ooze creativity, and it's nice that there are still work environments out there that foster that kind of mindset.
I like that tag there, and I think it's a dream of most gamers to work at Valve, and hopefully get to work on Half-Life 3.
They do great work at Valve and while I sometimes wish that they would actually plan release dates and games, I know that a hierarchy wouldn't be conducive to Valve's vision and they would fall flat because of it.
I have a ton of respect for Valve. Not only do they make amazing games, they also do more to innovate than just about anybody else. Portal is a great example.
With that said, if I could pick any video game company to work for, I honestly don't know who I'd pick. Although, Naughty Dog, Valve, Bethesda, and Irrational Games would be at the top.
The handbook is a fascinating look at the different possibilities in how successful companies can be run. Just like the GI job posting, when I checked Valve's job postings I don't yet truly qualify to apply. I think working at either requires a level of self awareness that understands that self imposed pressure on a group of high achievers is more stress then under traditional management. When my boss first told me that I could leave work when I felt that I had achieved a full day of work, I stayed until 7 PM. Anyway, good look in your blog at the handbook and absolutely the best of luck with starting a new career path.
Our immense love for Valve is mutual. This just makes me adore that company even more. Great blog :)
My dream is work at Valve too. Good luck to you though, I have a strong feeling you'l get into the industry some day. Maybe years from now we'll work together and won't even know it. :)
so if you go to work for valve...will you stop blogging here? if so.... sad panda...i2.kym-cdn.com/.../2013_6beb.jpeg
also good luck with your future endeavors I'm sure you would be able to get a job in the industry quite easy....