« We Fought the Law... | Main | MSN Search »

November 11, 2004

Coding Slave

Here's a sad saga of woe from the spouse of an EA employee (discussed on The Mighty Dot). 9 am to 10 pm, seven days a week? That is a pretty insane schedule. I play hockey with a guy who worked as an artist on Halo 2, and although they had a good solid 6-month crunch, they had nothing like what was described in that article. And they certainly got some time off when they were done.

(Which reminds me: people talk about 100-hour weeks. Do you realize that 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, isn't even 100 hours?)

It's easy to say that you can quit instead of working crazy hours, but that messes up your resume, plus you do want the product to succeed...at least he doesn't have kids (I infer from them not being mentioned in the article). For me the big break came not when I got married, but when our first child was born. Yes, I enjoyed spending time with my wife, and it's pretty geeky/analytical to say that she's a functioning adult and can do fine without my presence. But it's still way different when you are tired from parenting and you've got diapers to change AND then your lovely husband is sitting in his nice quiet climate-controlled office geeking out with other adults.

Anyway, I can't feel too too bad for this guy and his wife when I compare that to the people you meet in books like Nickel and Dimed. At least working at EA is an interesting job with a cool work environment and a tangible result at the end -- there's just too much of it. Now imagine working 3 menial jobs, day after day, year after year, just to put bread on the table.

Posted by AdamBa at November 11, 2004 04:21 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


I've worked in game development, and I don't recall anyone ever being told that they had to work specific hours like that. We DID, but it was our choice, because we loved what we were doing, and it was important to us. If these guys are being forced to work those sorts of hours, that's just unacceptable. But I have a feeling that this guy was working these hours partly because he WANTED to.

Posted by: Rob Stevens at November 12, 2004 01:33 PM

It's true it is his spouse talking, not him. But if he is coming home with a headache every night...and I don't think people like the aspect of being FORCED to work like that.

I actually had a hockey game last night and was discussing this article with the guy who worked on Halo 2 (not surprisingly it had made the rounds on the team). He said he had one day off in four months. But he pointed out that a) there was no official mandate that people work that, and b) the Bungie executives were there working just as long as everybody else.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at November 12, 2004 04:08 PM