It was a cold winter back in 1985 when … just kidding, I won’t go there. When growing up, I played a lot of games. Anything from puzzle, to fighting, to RPGs—I loved them all. I was pretty active as a kid too so if my brother decided to snag the controller, I would pout, kick, and scream of course, but then quickly find myself enjoying running or biking around the neighborhood.
When I grew older, I went through many of the standard not-so-odd-jobs, mainly staying close to something that resembled administrative work the majority of the time. I explored different jobs about as much as I changed shirts. I really couldn’t seem to find the right fit and it took a while to pin down what it was that I really wanted to do.
I went to college and looked at various majors ranging from Philosophy to Mechanical Engineering, but couldn’t see myself enjoying or doing those types of careers for a prolonged period of time. After a while and a little relocating, I started researching games and seeing what it took to make them. I looked at the various disciplines that were required to build one and started to see myself in one of those roles. I could see myself doing this; I could picture myself being a part of something great. After that, the rest was history.
Getting Your Start with EA
Before coming to work at EA Salt Lake, I was working as a sushi chef and line cook in one of the local restaurants. I was getting a bit tired of the daily grind and looking to change it up so I started looking for work. After checking the local postings on Craigslist, I found a job as a QA Tester which I applied to within a heartbeat. I had always dreamed about working in the industry, but figured I would need to have the talent of a modeler or animator in order to get my foot in the door. The recruiter must’ve liked something he read, because I was in for an interview the very next week. I finally had the opportunity to put years of gaming and a watchful eye to the test.
Working at EA
My experience working for EA has been a great one. This is the first place where I feel like everyone really appreciates my contributions to the project and the team. Challenges arise on a daily basis and can range from anything between the next type of clothing we will be creating for Sims to the Production Team needing to scope down on things because our capacities are maxed out. It can be pretty difficult at times, but when you have the support of an entire team backing you, everything seems possible.
One of my largest personal successes was moving from QA over to Producer. As a QA Tester, I had worked diligently in order to ensure the designs were supported and that we would be shipping a great game. In the end, the complications with outsourcing and the rapidly approaching deadlines got the best of the team and the project was cancelled. However, I was recognized for my efforts and was hired back a few months later to be a Producer on the upcoming The Sims 3 expansion pack. I was honored and grateful, but I didn’t let it go to my head. I continue to work hard and gain recognition from my peers because I feel it is best to lead by example.
EA has opened my eyes to what a workplace can be. Before working here, I felt underappreciated. At previous places when I would raise issues and ideas, they would fall on deaf ears; even if there was a viable solution that could be easily implemented to increase efficiency. Here, those ideas and issues matter. They help steer the course and if problems arise, we solve them as a team. I no longer feel like I’m talking to a wall all the time when I’m talking to my coworkers or managers. I feel like these people listen and care about what I have to say.
In working for EA, I have found that I push myself harder than before. I find myself taking more pride in my work because there is respect that is earned by others in doing so. I will sometimes find myself blazing through a normal workday without once looking up at the clock, where in other jobs a minute would seem like an eternity. At times, I’ll work straight into the evening and then remember, “Oh yeah, food, that’s important stuff. I should eat!”
Any Thoughts to Those Seeking a Career at EA?
If you are seeking a job in the games industry, you should be prepared to work hard. It IS all fun and games, but there is a lot more that goes into the mix. If you are dedicated and hardworking, this is a place where you can truly thrive.