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The cruel existence of game design

The cruel existence of game design

I grew up in the 80s and 90s, in a golden age of console gaming. I didn’t know many boys who didn’t consider game design with awe. Our youthful naivete had us thinking that a game started out at 80% complete, and it was our job to play-test it until the end.

The curse of being a veterinarian

Vets have shockingly low job satisfaction. It’s mostly because of customers. They make life hell. Many don’t want to pay to fix animals and just euthanize the pet or let them suffer.

Others are annoyed with the animal and don’t want to give it to someone else so they put it down needlessly. Some people think veterinarians are squeezing them on pricing. In reality, vets don’t make nearly as much money as people think.

When I’m there, I can’t find anyone because everyone is always on different sides of “the farm”, working on things. I usually wake up to an empty house.

There are constant supply runs. On the weekend, the property is full of customers and parties. The guest house has essentially turned into a restaurant supply depot. Multiple refrigerator gods rule within.

The C-Suite (CEO, CFO, COO, etc)

I do a lot of ghostwriting for executives. My job is to help tell their story, either in book or article form. The more I learn, the more I feel bad for them.

Not one of the CEOs I’ve written for looks back fondly on the actual day-to-day CEO experience. They loved being CEO. But they hated the job. Their phone was ringing at all hours. Every problem rolled up to them.

They had to decide the fate of many people’s careers. There was immense pressure on them from stakeholders and owners. Granted, most are now very wealthy — but they were undoubtedly aged by the job. It changed them.

When I was in finance, I worked alongside a senior VP and sat in on many of the executive meetings, taking notes for my boss. This was not a room full of happy people. When you start making $200K, $300K, and up, you can expect to pay a steep price. It is constantly worrying and emails and people problems.

Owning a vineyard

One might think it involves lots of wine tasting, socializing, and beautiful sunsets across the landscape. It does. However, owning a vineyard is also, hands down, one of the most grueling professions.

What people think owning a vineyard is like:

My parents own and operate Bleufrog Vineyards . I spend a lot of time visiting them and will attest that it is a seven-day-a-week job. There’s always something going on. They need to spray the vines or call a vendor or get labels fixed. They manage people. Machinery is always breaking down. Every vine is growing and needs monitoring. If there’s a cold front they have to start fires and cover the vines in netting. I could fill a 300 bullet point list of recurring tasks.

What people think owning a vineyard is like:

<p>I’m sure there are grave di...

I’m sure there are grave diggers who enjoy their job. Maybe they like working with shovels. Their customers certainly aren’t pushy and talkative.

Morbid analogies aside, some careers are obviously less likely to produce happy employees. I’ve never heard of anyone aspiring to be a telemarketer, though I suppose kids enjoy playing telephone.

Deadlines constantly shift and are unrealistic. Managers ignore you. The jobs are very limited. The degree doesn’t transfer to many areas outside of game design. Many designers are looking for a way out. The industry will serve you well if you are truly passionate about game design. But you’ll probably wish you’d just gone down the computer science route.

I do get perks. I can raid the snack store with my special discount.

Most people that start a vineyard don’t last. My parents are the 43rd vineyard in their area. Most that came before and after are either gone or a dying star.

Stick to visiting vineyards, not starting them. On the plane ride home, my girlfriend randomly said, “Man. I still can’t believe how hard your parents work.”

There are many poorly treated and abused animals that come into the office. The optics are very depressing and vets have a high rate of suicide. Their love for animals exposes them to the worst of humanity.

Even further, becoming a vet is as selective as med school, sometimes more so. Becoming credentialed requires sacrifice, intelligence, work ethic, and debt. Yet quite often, vets don’t get the respect they deserve.

Also, they get bit and scratched.

Meanwhile, other careers are hyped up, made to seem great — but fail to deliver on that expectation.

The idea of the CEO who kicks back, smoking cigars, and yelling “mush” couldn’t be further from the actual job. It’s an extremely demanding job title.

To those of you who have an aforementioned difficult job, I salute you. I hope you have found value and happiness in those fields.

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<p>What people think owning a ...

What people think owning a vineyard is like.

Perhaps game design, more than any other profession, embodies the dichotomy between what people see and “what goes into it”. The industry is chaotic . You work long hours and are underpaid. It’s a damn shame because more than $40 billion is spent annually on games in the US alone. I’d be sitting there wondering where my money was too.

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