Monday, April 29, 2024

What's happened, where have I been, and what's going on

Man, it's been a rough 3 months. On Jan 15th, WIMO Games brought us all into a Teams call and dropped the bomb. The company couldn't secure funding and that was that. We were to get a month's severance pay and then WIMO would be no more. KABOOM!!!

It's too bad, really. The third VR game we were working on was super cool. I don't even know if I'm allowed to say anything about it, but let's say I was busy learning the ropes on how to build randomized multiplayer VR dungeons. C'est Le Vie. Unfortunately, anxiety and panic set in pretty quickly for me once I interviewed for a senior designer job at KingsIsle, and I was their second choice. Ahh well.

In retrospect, part of the problem I had with finding a job is how the rules of the game have changed. Resumes have changed. Companies put fake jobs up to bolster their image. Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software picks through your resume and auto-kicks you out if you don't match the job description's keywords, and let's not forget . . . I haven't even interviewed for a job in 26 years.

To make matters EVEN WORSE, the game industry imploded on itself. It's really no fun competing against designers with Blizzard experience in their resumes

I was pretty lost and nothing seemed to be working. I was having sleepless nights, pacing the floor at 3am, and suddenly friends and family I hadn't talked to in a year were now on my weekly call list. Survival mode is what it was all about, my friends. I got my first taste of collecting an unemployment check, and let me tell you, I am grateful for that money, but it wasn't anything like what I was used to. SURVIVAL MODE ENGAGE! 

For me, I turned to my faith and my church. I didn't know what else to do. I was stressed, lost weight, stopped enjoying the things I typically loved (like playing games), and stopped doing anything extracurricular that wasn't searching for a job or going on long walks. Basically, I was destroyed and needed help putting myself back together again. They picked up the tab on groceries every other week for me and provided job-hunting advice and training. It was a life-saver. I've spent more time on my knees the past 3 months than I have in the past . . . I dunno . . . year or two? Maybe three? 

(side note: THANK YOU to everyone I knew who was there for me networking, help, talk, and support.  Y'all have been wonderful friends.)

The end of the unemployment story is this . . . I got a job at my old company back in Utah. Now the hard part is coming back into something that is a semblance of living well. I've been in survival mode, and until everyone in my family is safe and has new jobs, things are a bit different for me. I need to sell my old house and buy a new house. As you probably know, moving is really really hard. I wish I didn't have to do this, but here we are.

Despite my buddies at the Ruff Talk VR podcast talking me up (23:18-24:38 -- Discussion on WIMO's closure, and a shoutout to me for attempting to stay positive despite it!), I'm not a superhero that was unaffected by all this. It was incredibly tough, but I've done what I had to do. The closest I got to staying in the gaming industry was interviewing for a Marketing Producer role at Zynga. They took a pass on me because I was overqualified. It's ok, the salary in my new job will be more than that role was going to pay anyway. 

 . . . so anyway . . . it's not for lack of trying, but for now, I'm out . . .

Does this mean I'm done with the gaming industry and this blog is a thing of the past? Nah. I don't know if I'll ever ditch the blog. It's super therapeutic, I love to write, and once a state of "normal" is achieved again, I might be able to post more often. As for the gaming industry, I'm not sure. I have dreams of having a side hustle indie game company of my own. There's a VR game I want to release on side-quest. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it just yet, but . . . I have dreams! 

Happy Dueling!