January 19, 2009

Reflections on My First Day

Mmmm...another blog posting vacuum. I swear I'll get back to one post a day one of these days...

Anyway, today was very exciting as it was my first official day of work as a professional game developer. Admittedly, my day only really consisted of four things: 1) touring the studio, 2) filling out paperwork, 3) meeting the team, and 4) reading. As you can see I haven't actually done anything yet, but tomorrow I am getting meeting with my lead to start developing my task list, so I'm just trying to get up to speed for it.

That being said, it was still a very cool experience. By and large, I felt more nervous in the days leading up to today then I actually did today. As I talked to the team and made my way through all the scripting and design reference materials, I felt pretty confident (and excited) about my ability to do the work. Up until now, with the Guildhall and even Gearbox, working on games still didn't feel like a job. Like it was something I did and spent (a lot of) time on, but it didn't feel like I was actually what I was going to do for a living. Today, I think things finally became real, and that was a very cool feeling.

The other thing that was really exciting was realizing that my job was something I was proficient in and excited about doing. I heard once that one of the primary differences between men and women is that women define themselves by their relationships: mother, sister, friend, etc. and men define themselves by what they do: lawyer, doctor, game developer, etc. I'd never really though to closely about it, but it was something that always stuck with me for some reason and today I felt like I kind of understood it for the first time.

For a long time, maybe my entire life, I think I've been looking for some definition of who I am, I imagine a lot of people are the same way. For a while I defined myself by a relationship and who I was within the context of that relationship, and I was happy with that...until it ended. When it ended I think I kind of ended up being lost because I had defined myself through this over person, and now I didn't know who I was, so I started searching. I tried to continue on the path I was on, to be a mechanical engineer, but it wasn't long before I realized that that wasn't for me. Maybe it never was, maybe if I'd been searching for identity when I chose that path I would have realized it, but that didn't change the fact that I knew I wanted something else.

I considered game development at that point, but only in sort of a "wouldn't it be cool if" style of idealism and no real plan for reaching it. I knew I didn't want to be a mechanical engineer so I started looking elsewhere and that's how I ended up at Capital One. I have no real complaints about Capital One as a company. The people I worked with were smart, hard-working, nice, wonderful people, the hours were good, the compensation was great, and the perks/benefits were fantastic. But it was clear to me I wasn't an "Operations Analyst," and so I began searching, which is how I found the Guildhall.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time on my experiences at the Guildhall as that has been discussed at length in the last 300+ posts, but I don't remember ever being so challenged in my life. I also don't ever remember being so driven, and that was when I first started to feel that I might finally be on the right path. I don't mean to overstate this as I realize it was only my first day, and I am sure the next year will be plagued with plenty of doubts and complications. I just want to say how powerful I think it can be to find what you were meant to do.

Sorry for the long reflective story, not sure if its actually interesting to read, but it was interesting for me to type, and it helped me think and reflect on things so too bad. Besides there's not a whole lot I can say about work anyway. My first day was very exciting, I got to meet a lot of nice, interesting people on my team and I even got to sit down with Ted Price for a little bit and talk about the company. The best thing I can say is I am really looking forward to seeing where this all goes, it should be one hell of a ride...


  1. Congrats Tom! Hopefully from this day forward when you hear Ratchet you will think of the Lombax and not that blasphemous city in WoW.

  2. Heh, I still remember you explaining to me repeatedly that Ratchet was a Lombax (though I have completely forgotten the context at this point). How have you been? Staying out of trouble?