Lifer vs. Job Hopper: Gaming Industry

I’m not going to lie.  I move jobs A LOT!  But I stayed in 1 career – marketing (some say brand management, product marketing, product management, etc.).  My parents, uncles, cousins, co-workers…all ask the same questions when we catch up: “What do you do again?” and “Where are you at now?”  It’s usually followed up with a smirk or a little nudge.

Let’s be honest…in gaming there are several paths to travel.  Which path you take depends on a ton of different variables.  Let’s focus on marketing within publishing specifically.

I’ve worked at 5 different AAA publishers.  But I’ve worked at 16 different companies.  I’ve been laid off twice.  Once because of a merge.  The other because…well…let’s just say it wasn’t a match.  The rest of the time I just left for another job.

Most of my early career was spent doing what most people do.  Find a job in brand management and work on cool f@$king games.  Publishers had the best perks.  I got some of the coolest swag from our vendors that included video game cabinets, classic figurines, hoodies, food, knives, a throwing ax, too many bags, and even a golf club (that I still use today).  I also gamed with all of my co-workers after hours in the office.

Basically…we lived there.  Catered food, showers, all the gaming we could ask for…it’s great.  Typical hours for me were 7:45 AM to 8:00 PM.  I worked some Saturdays but never Sundays.  I got to attend gaming conferences, fly business class on international trips, get 1K status on airlines, stay at incredible hotels, see so many different countries and life was never dull.  I made lifelong friends and really got to put together some incredible campaigns that included a launch party that was shut down by the fire department.  I still remember that day because key executives came to me the next day and congratulated me on throwing one of the best launch parties ever.

Wargaming’s E3 Afterparty photo source: Production Club

But there’s a darkness to it too.

I don’t know how to play the political game.  Which led to verifiably lower wages than my counterparts.  With an MBA I made about 30% less than those who were at the same level as me – and I was driving 50% more revenue than all of their products.  Which led to a lot of resentment on my part and probably the catalyst to switch jobs so often.  I’ll admit…I was probably the opposite of political.  I literally ignored 90% of the people I reported to because all they were good for was politics.  Remember…I sold a shit ton of products.  Many were directly correlated to a different marketing approach on sequel games.

So if you’re like me…hate playing politics and just want to do cool shit.  Keep on moving.  You will find many like-minded individuals.  Stick with them but know that they likely won’t stick around long either.  So it’s imperative to work together quickly and know you’ll cross paths again down the road at some other publisher.

Image Credit: Calvin and Hobbes

If you’re great at politics, love the power, and the accolades…stay.  You’ll be rewarded.  Just know that everyone below you likely despises you or figures you know where all the dead bodies are.  However…if you come across someone like me…be prepared for an interesting time.

Let’s fast forward to today.  I am indeed a Chief Marketing Officer and have been VP, SVP, Director, Head of Marketing for several gaming companies.  And as I reflect back on my time I realized that maturity does have a lot to do with why and how I acted in the past.  However my advice still rings true.  I have a family to support now. I still move around.  But now it’s because I want to be able to spend more time with my family so I look for a job that allows for that.  I guess what I’m saying is that if you choose to switch or don’t switch.  It doesn’t really matter.  Just do what works for you at whatever life stage you’re at.  There are pros and cons for both.  See below.

A cardinal rule for those who do like to switch.  Always leave on the upswing (great launched project, growing overall business, sale of a company)…never leave when your project fails or the business is experiencing a downturn.

Good luck out there.

Anonymous for a reason. 🙂


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