Work and what could be

January 15, 2008

The Current

I know I should be thankful for my job. How many other people would want to roll out of bed in whatever they passed out in the night before, touch a key on their keyboard and – Wa la – be at work? Not only that, but I have the potential to make more at the job than any I’ve had before. That being said, it’s a job…and like any other job in my mind, whatever it is you like to do, if you have to do it, then it’s no longer that much fun.

I read an article a couple issues back in Writer’s Digest by some one-hit wonder writer and he expressed the difference between the guy he was before having written a partially successful novel and now. Much like rock bands who form in high school and spend years honing their playlists to the songs that actually get a response from the crowds, make an album and then suck on the second album they release a year later, this guy said the same for writing. He spent a few years developing his characters, fleshing out the world in which they lived, etc. His agent loved it, his publisher put it in print and before it hit the shelves, he was being harassed/harangued by his editor for the next book. The guy went crazy, checked himself into a ward and scribbled notes to himself all day long for a year.

That’s what goes on in my head…but all within one day. I got my degree in computers because I’ve always liked being around them, tinkering, using the latest greatest software, playing the hottest game…but tell me I’m getting paid to be around one and that I need to have it working by end of business and here comes the straight jacket.

There was a posting on Craigslist last night for someone young fresh out of college to be a deck hand on some wooden yacht in Cape Cod for the summer. As soon as I read it, I was fascinated. So what if I’m not fresh out of college…fresh is so subjective. The ad stated, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to sail, we’ll teach you.” Oh, how wonderful that would be? Spend the summer with people who have way too much money and learn how to sail, all while fantasizing that you’re now the pirate guy on the cover of your mom’s old romance novels – don’t act like you don’t know what I mean. But then, wait. They’re paying you…to do something that you want to do…making it almost like a…oh god, a job. (Pulling out the paper and the chewed-up stub of a pencil and rocking in the corner of the white room)

The Possible

Now that I have aired all of that nonsense, I’ve been thinking seriously about a career change. I like to use that term but I’ve never been in one field long enough to actually consider it a career. Just don’t worry about that so much. I want to be in the video game industry. I really do. I’ve loved playing these things that the older generation and most females that I know find as the biggest waste mankind has ever stumbled upon (lest I remind them of Tele-Tubbies) since I was 5. Pong, Pitfall, Mario Brothers, Frogger, Metroid, Sonic, Ninja Gaiden, Street Fighter 2, the holographic Sega game at the arcades with the cowboy…all of it. Even today, I’m playing World of Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed (well, I would be if my PS3 wasn’t broken). I’ve always loved them and I will always love them because, just like books and movies, video games take you to a different place for a little while (or a long while if you play like I do when I just don’t care).

So, I’ve started really looking for a job in the realm. Lo and behold, I’m not the only one. Apparently, there are a ton of other people just like me (albeit, they have degrees in computer engineering and yet, are willing to work for scraps) that want to break into this industry. It’s proved itself as a recession-proof industry (of course, with the housing market, we’ll see if it’s depression-proof…hard to play a game without a roof over your head) and as a freakin’ difficult one to enter. I look at all I’ve done in my life so far and I think, “Wow, you’ve got a lot of interesting skills and combined, they make a pretty neat person” but that doesn’t really fit the white paper titled Drew’s Resume. The age-old conundrum of the employer wanting someone with experience while the prospective employee pulls his hair out trying to get a job so as to obtain experience.

But, in a round about way, it’s why I started this blog. I figured – and this figuring happened so far in the back of my head that I’m just now realizing it…so, essentially, you’re reading live-coverage of my thinking process – if I want to write for a living, especially for video games…then I should probably start writing a bit more than the occasional Saturday morning when I wake up early and feel inspired and energetic (don’t be fooled; by occasional, I mean the whole “blue moon” sort of thing). So, here I am. You’re literally reading my effort. Hopefully, with constructive feedback, I obtain a level of writing proficiency, or at least a tone (that’s what writer’s say when they don’t know how/are too scared to write any other way) that others will take note of and that I can share with a future employer and say, “See, Mr./Ms. Person-who-holds-everything-near-and-dear-to-my-heart? I can write and my writing would be good for your company.” And end it with a mental pelvic thrust for emphasis.

But, would this simply result in a cure for my gaming habit? “Hey Drew, here’s some money to do what you want to do…but have it done by end of business.” Aggggghhhh!

Alright, I’m out.

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