Being a captain of my own
#gamedev ship is sometimes frigging hard. Sometimes I have to make tough decisions.
Over last couple of months we grew from just me doing all the stuff to team of 5 people( me + 2 coders + 2 artists ). We closed several smaller contracts and we are currently involved in 2 large projects. However to scope and minor obstacles (like finding proper artists to do the job) occupied my attention much more that I have estimated it to last.
Several days ago I made a decision not to grow the company even larger and not to take additional long term projects.
That means less work & less money for the company but it also means we can focus more on delivering current ongoing projects. Quality over quantity.
I’ve ran the numbers and unfortunately the cost of having 8h a day of sleep and peace meant we could not afford to support a full time coder.
If we wanted to stay afloat I had to make the most painful decision in my short yet dynamic experience as a company owner. I had to let one person go.
Letting someone go from team in this scenario is way more difficult than simply firing a person who was not a good team member.
Our coder Patryk, who came to us for his university apprenticeships is really talented. He is one of those people who gets the job done, no questions asked. Just like that. Ultra high working ethics.
We hired him for 3 months after apprenticeships and since the company keeps getting more and more new contracts it is critical for me to build a stable team that will last for years.
Before I told Patryk we had to part our ways I could not sleep well for 2 days.
The core of my company values is transparency & honesty. No beating around the bush. No bull@%@t
Being in game industry since 2015 I’ve seen some weird “firing” practices. I’ve seen people being let go with no proper warning. People getting hired and promised heaps of gold just to be let go as soon as they became of no value to the company. Companies which bulked their team size by 50 people to deliver the projects and letting them go without no warning the next day the project goes live.
I strongly reject those kind of practices. Human people are not just resources or “assets”.
Being over 15 years on a job market, including 10 years in IT, I’ve seen also some good examples. Not all CEOs and HR reps are evil. I’ve met some wicked psychopaths but in general they care about people.
If you hire the person you are partly responsible for them and sometimes their families.
I remember working for a large corporation which in the times of it’s glory hired over 7000 people just in one Polish location. After its golden days were over, the company had to let go over 5000 people just to become lean again and survive on the tough market. It didn’t happen instantly. The process took almost 2 years. As an IT I’ve seen it from the inside. Closed a tons of NT accounts in that period.
It was shocking for me in that period but later (after I’ve seen some cases in Gamedev like THIS )I came to an impression that my previous company wasn’t that bad after all.
I remember they even made a deal with some of their market competition, provided job transition courses and offered some nice financial packages for people being fired.
When was the last time you saw something like this in GameDev ?
So … even though I had to let go only 1 person It was critical for me not to act like those fellows mentioned above.
Instead pretending as if nothing happend I’ve decided to find Patryk another job.
I knew that Patryk is moving to Tricity so I posted on local Tricity gamedev group.
Guess what – Patryk is staying in the industry.
I’m really happy for him.