Professionalism and it's impact on your team.
It has been quite a while since I have written anything in the journals here but stumbling across something today spurred up the great ranting machine inside my head. Professionalism and the lack of it in today's gaming world. I was browsing through a few of the career opportunities here on Game Dev today and stumbled across this listing that I just had to comment on. Lets go ahead and jump right into it here with a few little excerpts that I gathered from said posting. In the interests of not being that guy that openly and publicly bashes someone else's short comings I will mask the companies name. The purpose of this entry is not to insult the intelligence of this company but to use their lack of it to educate everyone a bit on professionalism.
COMPANY is looking for a few brave individuals to help us change the world. The person should dream in game mechanics, shout stories from the rooftops, eat ideas, and poop prototypes
At a glance of this above statement we see the reference to "poop prototypes". Now I have a sense of humor and what not, actually I don't even particularly look down on them for this attempt of an interesting yet meaningful joke. However this is their opening tag line, this is the sentence they are using to try to get people to apply for a career with their company. I would invite all professionals to comment here on my journal about this. Personally what I see is immaturity what would attract only immature bidders and applicants if you will.
If you can't not make things, don't not consider not passing up this call to arms! If you can't not draw (even crappy little doodles), don't not call. If you take serious gaming seriously enough to want to actually go farther than cutting ropes and tending crops, if you can take classic game design skills beyond the traditional gaming medium, if you want to work over there on the next mountain, the one that is trillions of devices high and billions of parsecs wide (rather than the sad little mountain of mobile apps and cloud bursts, and trivial little doomed sunsets of web crap everyone is trapped on today) than maybe you should talk to us.
This was the next portion of their posting. First and foremost, deplorable English! This is a company based in Pittsburgh PA. Now I am no English major nor will I attempt to correct every one of the numerous problems with this above statement but I would like to just have you all take a little look at this. I must also note at this point, this is really a serious job posting! This company truly believes that these two statements which in my book can barely be considered English (American, British or otherwise) will actually attract someone to apply for a position!
Questions? No we don't want you to even apply if you don't have a relevant degree (BFA, BS, MFA, MS) or experience or if you aren't fun to play with. No we don't care if you can use all the fancy new tools and platforms and software but we do care if you can learn any tool you need to make your idea.
Are you serious? This company that doesn't even have an elementary school level of communicative skills will refuse me the time of day because I myself do not have a college degree? This was what really sent me into an uproar and the reason I came to journal land to vent a bit on this subject. Although this is by far the most unprofessional and outrageous job posting I have ever seen in my life it is not uncommon. Far to many times we see teams and companies that come here to GameDev to solicit help for their projects. I believe it's high time someone breaks the silence and gives some cold facts about this lack of professionalism and how it does and will continue to effect the teams and companies that post utter crap like what we see above.
I want to urge everyone to start looking into successful game projects, teams and companies. Contact them, read their web sites, flip through game manuals and read reviews about them. You will notice that every single one of them speak, write and otherwise communicate professionally. Complete sentences, good proper grammar and punctuation politeness and so on. This is no coincidence people, basic communicative, speaking and writing skills are one of the single most important concepts required by any team that wishes to ever make it out of even the earliest design phases.
"I have a dream!", ok not exactly but you know what I mean here. This is the basic phrase (not in so many words) we see in every single posting of the Help Wanted boards here on GameDev. Approximately 90% of the time this is followed with some basic comparisons to existing games and more comments along the lines of "We want to change the world" "We have no experience" "We are going to make the next best selling game in video game history!". Quite frankly no, your not. I will try my best to not refer to myself as a professional as I don't wish to start that argument here but I do hold 14 certifications in programming and other various computer technology fields. Someone with the skill, experience and certifications that I have are the type of people that actually get work done and drive games to market.
So why do these teams never get people like me (or even someone more talented then I) to join? We know better then to waste our time with unprofessional proposals and ill conceived designs. Which is finally bringing us to the point of this complaint ridden entry, professionalism and it's impact on your team. We've all heard of that one in a million team that strikes it rich on their first game release and strive to be just like them. However it's important to do a little research and understand what the difference was, why did that particular team make it where hundreds perhaps even thousands of others have failed? We can all speculate many different reasons, talent, dedication, technology, communication breakdowns and what not. However at the core of all these comes your professionalism. The self proclaimed project managers and team leaders, these are the people responsible for driving their team into greatness.
So how and or why am I trying to make this connection between professionalism and all other aspects related to the success or failure of a team? Basically it's like that old phrase "You get what you pay for", although we're going to look at it in a more broad sense. More so you get what you put in. When at the very beginning of a project the so called leader starts off with immature, unprofessional or incomplete designs and ideas you are already destined to fail. As I mentioned a bit earlier and I would imagine that I speak for the majority of the professional grade developers and designers out there, we wont give YOU the time of day.
Well finally, to recap I really just want everyone to take a look at these quotes. Examine and maybe even get a good laugh out of them, but ask yourself truthfully... "Would I apply to this company?" I would venture to answer this question for everyone in advance with a firm "Nope". Although this entry has highlighted an extreme case, possibly even the worst possible job posting I've ever seen in my life we can all learn a little something here. I'm sure to the submitter of this particular post this was gold. This adequately depicted their teams goals and personalities while attempting to find candidates that where for lack of a better term on the same page as them. This is what we all do when posting any requests here on GameDev. We think and speak from the heart in hopes of finding like individuals to join us in our quest for greatness. Unfortunately this in a lot of cases is the recipe for disaster. I do not wish that you take my message as "Don't be yourself, be a politician" but think about what you say and or post before releasing it to the masses. There are many ways to get the same message across without it looking as if it was written by a 5 year old with down syndrome. Taking the time to formulate complete ideas and concepts, clearly listing what you are looking for and what you can offer are paramount to a successful venture in this industry.
I'll leave you all with just a few more words of incite. Think about the ramifications of what you are saying in a post, a thread or a request. Although you have written what seems to be great to you take a moment and think "Does this adequately attract who I am looking for"? Do some research on the technologies you want to use, the types of concepts and features you are looking to implement. The main flaw I am pointing out in this example is as such. This company we are speaking about here is looking for someone with a college degree, a professional. What college graduate have you ever heard that speaks or writes in such a poor manner? Also you will notice that they make mention of "We don't care if you know how to use fancy technology.", a complete contradiction in my eyes. If you are looking for a professional, a college graduate or what have you would it not also make sense they would have experience with fancy technologies? Ok, I'm rambling again so my final thoughts. Always think before you speak especially in a public forum. Do some research, have your cards aligned and your ducks in a row, be ready to speak professionally and answer all the questions a potential team mate may have. If you don't you will never succeed you will simply attract failure after failure.
Comments are welcome, I would like to see what other people have to say about this matter.