Saturday, July 22, 2006  



posted by Erwin | 3:48 AM

Friday, July 21, 2006  


The HR manager sent out today the company-wide announcement about my impending depature. In the year or so I've been at the company I've read plenty of these e-mails. Even though I expected mine to come, it was still a bit of a shock to read it.

I had to read it over twice today. I couldn't actually believe the message was about me. Did I really give my notice a week ago? Wait, did I actually quit my current job to go to EA? It was a very sobering reminder that I indeed chose to end my tenure at the company.

As with most things, it's the people that I will miss the most. This was clear to me after the e-mail got sent out. Though some people got the news days before, a lot of people didn't find out until today. One such person came to my desk with this sad and slightly shocked look on his face.

"You're leaving?"

I explained to him it was a difficult decision but it was something I felt I had to try.

"Well, I'm going to miss you... you were my first real 'friend' at the company, if I could use that word."

Hearing that just made me feel crappy inside.

"Of course you can use that word, I'm proud to be your friend."

Another person came up to me later and asked me where I was going. We chatted about the details for a few minutes. I think some people are just curious.

This isn't the first job I've quit but this is certainly the most weird I've felt about quitting. One job I was absolutely ecstatic about leaving. When I quit my testing job, I was really excited about going to grad school. This time around, it ain't so fun.

One other guy told me he didn't even blink twice when other people left but he said when I leave, I'll be missed. Yeah, hearing stuff like that doesn't exactly make my heart sing with joy.

I hope next week it gets a bit easier.


posted by Erwin | 12:26 AM

Thursday, July 20, 2006  


Over a month ago, a new producer joined the Sonic project. Zoe has been a great addition to the team. She's helped smooth out the crazy process of trying to get a video game done on time. Plus, being in a video game company, it's always nice to have another female around to help fix the gender ratio.

A few days ago, while we were unpacking the Thai food that the team had ordered for dinner, Zoe mentioned our team had the least nerdy programmers she had ever seen. I asked her how many programmers she had seen before coming to the company. She said lots since she had worked at a school where programming had been taught.

Apparently, until taking her current job, she'd never met any programmers that worked out during their lunch hours. About half the Sonic programmers go to the gym regularly during their lunch hour. Some of them are actually quite buff.

In general, I've been quite surprised by how non-stereotypical most of the programmers are in the company. Some have girlfriends and a lucky few have even managed to marry a woman. A lot of programmer participate in sports and have interests outside of the computer.

And you learned something today...


posted by Erwin | 12:42 AM

Wednesday, July 19, 2006  


Further to my previous post about my change in jobs, I've discovered an interesting development. I've only been at two jobs where business cards have been made up for me. The first was when I was working as a mechanical engineer in 1999. The company I was with had business cards done up for all the employees. About a month later, I quit my job and was left with a stack of useless business cards. I hated that job so I'm pretty sure I tossed all those cards into the trash after I took them home. I wish I had kept at least one of them.

So, when I was given a whole of box of business cards in late May of this year, I did actually think about what happened the last time I got cards. I shrugged it off and thought it was just silly thinking. Here we are though, less than two months after getting those cards and I'm about to head off to EA.

Out of the three real, full-time jobs I've had, business cards have spelled the demise of two of the jobs!

If I make it to the point where EA wants to give me business cards, I might actually tell them to not bother.


posted by Erwin | 12:40 AM

Tuesday, July 18, 2006  


Do you know the story behind why I decided to become a software engineer? Some of you know this already but I'll give the rest of my readers a short version. After abandoning my career as a mechanical engineer after only one year at one crappy job, I decided to become a video game tester at Electronic Arts Canada.

I started this crazy adventure in the summer of 2000. Being at EA was nothing like I had seen before. The whole business was to make video games. It was a lot of fun and the job was rewarding in many ways, except for the financial compensation part. Over a year into my testing career, I realized that two raises in, I was still only making $12.50 an hour. As I was 27 years old at the time, I began to worry perhaps this wasn't the best way to earn a suitable living.

I also wasn't using my brain as much as I wanted. Being educated as an engineer, I liked using math and it really bothered me none of my hard-earned knowledge was going to good use. One day, I was upstairs helping a software engineer recreate a bug at his desk. He stepped away for several minutes and I couldn't help but spy a pay stub next to his monitor. Using my powers of multiplication, I realized the dude was making $60K a year!

Soon after that day, I decided that I wanted to give it a try as a software engineer in the video game industry. I also realized that I had to leave my job as a tester if this dream was ever going to come true. The QA department is wasteland when it comes to promotion and I surely did not have right education to do the job as a software engineer. So, I quit my job and got myself into grad school.

Now, I hadn't planned on the whole SJC thing being such an important and life-changing experience but hey, I'm not complaining. Three years later, I exited UBC with a Master's degree in hand and my dream still burning inside of me.

I tried fulfilling my dream soon after graduation when I applied to EA in May of 2005. That didn't go so well. I made it as far as the in-person interview but that was about it. It wasn't so bad however, since I soon found employment with Backbone Entertainment. They took a chance on me and I'll be forever indebted to them for that. As you know, I've been with Backbone for over a year now.

I have to announce though, I'll be leaving my job at Backbone in early August for a software engineering position at Electronic Arts. It was a very difficult decision and something I hope I don't have to go through again. There were many things that I would have stayed for at Backbone but EA made me an offer that I couldn't refuse, to reuse a tired cliche. There's no doubt in my mind that my new job at EA will be an extremely challenging one. I'll be honest and admit that sometimes I'm not much of a risk taker. This opportunity, though, was one I had to take. There's no guarantee of success but I'm hoping I'll rise to the challenge.

The odd thing is that I won't be working in Burnaby where I used to do testing. EA maintains a studio downtown in Vancouver and that's where I'll be. All my remaining EA friends are back in the studio in Burnaby which is unfortunate. We'll all be co-workers now but I'll see them as much as I did when I worked elsewhere. Garrett, Tim, Chris, Cam, Petey, and Jeff Mac, we'll have to think of something else.

I want to make it very clear that I have nothing but good things to say about Backbone. More than any company I know, they are willing to take chances on people. Sometimes, that's all you can ask for in company, a chance to show what you know and what you can do. They did that for me and allowed me to learn. I wouldn't have been able to be where I am today without that chance.

So, in some weird way, I've fulfilled my dream of returning to EA. It's amazing to think I started this whole journey with a wage of $10.50 an hour. Where will this adventure lead me next? I don't know but let's hope some good times are ahead.


posted by Erwin | 12:46 AM

Monday, July 17, 2006  


All through the day, I was trying to think of what I'd be writing tonight. I had a very big post in mind but I think I'll save that for later in the week. I also thought of a rant I'd like to write but then again, I went to the Atlantic Trap and Gill last night which was also interesting. So I'm gonna mash those topics into one poorly written post.

I've decided that my former and beloved graduate residence, St. John's College is a lot less fun that it used to be. This is only my opinion but all the interesting characters that used to be drawn to that place have been replaced by boring morons. Where's my evidence? I ask you to find a single person that plays croquet at SJC. Yep, I'm basing it on the fact that no one at SJC even uses the two croquet sets that are sitting in the pool room closet. Back when I used to walk to school uphill both ways, croquet was the sport to play in the courtyard. From the likes of Dana, Bryan, and Kent, newbie residents were taught the finer points of ball striking and mallet handling.

Croquet was a social sport that brought together residents and initiated friendships. As the finest residents that SJC had ever seen began to move out, they were replaced with asshats who didn't care for croquet. Not only did they not care for croquet, they did not care for tradition, SJC tradition to be exact. They went about their own business, not even realizing for a moment that the place they stayed in had a history that pre-dated even their own egotistical undergrad days.

Ok, it's getting late so I have no time to talk about the Trap and Gill. Suffice to say, the place is a lot more interesting when you're the only non-white person there except for Tim and Ron.


posted by Erwin | 1:12 AM
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