The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Those of you who have known me for any length of time will
hopefully know how difficult this blog is to write. The truth is I don't even
want to write it but the news will come out eventually and I'd rather you all
hear it from me than somewhere else and think I didn't thank the many who
helped me achieve this dream. I have often thanked and will always thank the GIO
community for the support they have shown me in the three or four years I've
been hanging around Game Informer.
I'm a private person and don't share a lot of the personal
details about my life publicly. I'm very proud of my family, who I am and what
I've done with my life so far, but I also try to live a humble and simple life.
I believe we all have choices to make and that everything that happens to us
does so for a reason.
It wasn't all that long ago I had a choice to make. I had a
very successful career in the military and could've stayed in longer. I was
making really good money and had a bright future. I was in line for a
promotion, and could've easily stayed in another five to seven years. But I was
getting burned out and not having much fun anymore. After decades of
deployments, years of witnessing significant policy changes and perhaps the
final straw - sequestration...I decided to retire and pursue my dream (or at
least one of them) of working in the video game industry. I felt like I did my
part serving this great country of ours and it was okay to do this.
I put my house on the market and uprooted my whole family to
move from the East Coast (Virginia) to the West Coast (Washington). That's
quite a move. I didn't know anybody in Washington and have never even been here
before. The sole purpose of this journey was to land a job in the video game
industry and Seattle seemed like the place to do it, since it is home to so
many different video game studios.
What I learned (or already knew) was breaking into the video
game industry is not easy. There are hundreds if not thousands of jobs listed
on job boards across the various companies, but that doesn't mean you're
qualified for them. And even if you are, it doesn't mean you will get a call
back. I applied for all sorts of jobs, from community management to tech
support. In most instances, I never even heard back...but occasionally I'd get
the form letter email stating something to the effect, "We're sorry to inform
you we selected somebody more qualified" or more simply, "No."
I was amazed how someone with my training and experience
couldn't get any of the jobs I was applying for - from entry level all the way
up to executive level. I had a degree. I had real world experience. I had
performance reports saying I was the best of the best. Yet, I couldn't even get
anyone to at least give me a chance. I managed a Network Operations Center in
the middle of Iraq providing communications and network connectivity for the
entire theater, but couldn't get a job doing something very similar with far
fewer customers for a video game company.
Time was running out and I needed a job - any job...all the
while praying this wasn't the single biggest mistake I had ever made.
I had faith though. I never gave up. And I finally followed
the advice of an acquaintance who gave me some great pointers. And then it
happened. I saw a job listing I was very interested in. It didn't have the
company or title it would be supporting - only the position. I wanted this job.
I needed this job.
So I completely rewrote my resume. I took all of my work
experience and military accomplishments for the past 20+ years off and added
all of my gaming accomplishments. I've supported a buddy's fansite for over 10
years and highlighted some of that in my resume. But truly the noteworthy
achievements were the things I've done here at Game Informer. Things I've done
because the community made it fun to do...fun to be a part of.
It was fairly late when I submitted my resume. I looked it
over and was starting to have doubts and feel skeptical about my plan. Without
a single entry for real employment and limited to a handful of volunteer and
freelance items, I thought, "Whoever reads this is probably going to think this
is a joke...at least maybe they'll get a laugh out of it." I was thinking, "Lord,
I moved all the way here for this job, please let this be the one."
The next day my family and I were at the mall. I had just
sat down to eat lunch and my phone rang. The voice on the other end inquired
about my resume...asked me if I have ever heard of a particular game.
My mouth dropped. It was a PC game. A classic PC game. An
iconic PC game. An iconic PC game from a big name developer...albeit an older
game and not as popular anymore. I didn't care, I was ecstatic.
I don't want to bore you with all the details about the
interview and hiring process. I had a couple of phone interviews, a couple of
in-person interviews. A few paperwork hiccups and delays (which I'm told were
normal and nothing to worry about) but finally...after a few weeks of waiting and
wondering if this was real or a dream, I started a couple days ago.
Now, I don't know for sure yet how this is going to impact
my support of the Game Informer community. I plan to keep blogging but it very likely
won't be as often as I sometimes do (daily is doubtful, but hopefully a few
times a week). We'll see how it goes. I'm talking with the staff about Blog Herding
and will author it for at least the next two weeks. I had publicly mentioned
before I would step down if I ever took a job that could pose a conflict of
interest, but I don't know that the staff feels that way. Once I know, I'll
certainly let you all know. The good news is we're two weeks away from the 100th
consecutive blog herding post, which means it's almost times for a new
Anyway, I'm not going to say much about the job - for one I
signed a non-disclosure agreement that was much longer than anything I ever
signed in the military (and I had a fairly high security clearance) and two,
that's not really my style...it could come across as bragging, which I certainly
don't want to do.
The company is Microsoft and there are a couple of games I'm
supporting including the Age of Empires series and the Flight Simulator / Flight
I honestly believe the support of the staff and everyone who viewed one of my blogs
and/or left a comment over the years helped me achieve this dream. It was you
who made this fun and inspired me to keep after it.
For this, I thank each and every one of you. Truly.
All the best!