You Spelled It Spelt It

, , , , , | Working | October 9, 2017

(I’m a Canadian immigrant working for an American company, and one of my jobs includes copy editing and writing for various projects. One of the things I playfully gripe about is my boss’s insistence that I use the Americanized English, for example, “color” instead of “colour”, across projects for consistency. It’s sometimes a struggle for me, because after ten years in the US, I still instinctively use British English spelling while typing and have to manually correct myself for work. He calls to check in since I work remotely, and I’m editing a batch of text while listening to a randomized playlist. We joke around with each other a lot.)

Boss: “Now, don’t forget. None of this extra ‘U’ nonsense.”

Me: “You’re so mean. I won’t stand for this.”

Boss: “Oh, I think you will. Don’t forget to kill the extra British ‘L’ in ’fuelled,’ there.”

Me: “This oppressive American regime isn’t going to last, you know.”

Boss: “Whatever. Just do it.”

Me: “I want it on record that this is detrimental to my emotional well-being. This makes me very sad.”

(Right on cue, my playlist randomly switches over to one of the saddest, most depressing songs known to man: Gary Jules’ “Mad World”.)

Me: “There, you see?! Even the soundtrack to my life is sad because of you.”

Boss: “You’re ridiculous.”

Me: “Everything’s gone all rainy and black and white, [Boss]. The ennui, [Boss]!”

Boss: “I’m hanging up.”

Video Games Belong In The Kitchen!

, , , , | Working | October 3, 2017

(I’m a woman, working for a video game publishing company that also publishes smaller games by indie creators. I’ve actually worked in the industry for almost ten years, and I get along great with all my colleagues, who are mostly male. We’re in a video conference call with a young developer who is pitching us his first game. Everyone in this call, except for me, is a guy.)

Boss: “We’ve all had a chance to look over your packet, and we think it looks pretty promising, though we’ll have to play the prototype to be really sure.”

Developer: “Ah, I have that uploaded to your FTP server.”

Coworker #1: “Great. We’ll all give it a try and get back to you with feedback.”

Me: “I’m excited to check this out; I love this type of game.”

Developer: “Oh.” *looks visibly uncomfortable onscreen* “[Boss], I didn’t know… she would be playing. Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

Boss: “Uh, yeah. Why?”

Developer: “Well, I mean, she’s… she’s a… g… ” *trails off*

(It seems to dawn on everybody at once that he’s uncomfortable with me testing his game because I’m a woman.)

Coworker #2: *sputtering* “What? Wh… WHAT?”

Boss: *looking furious* “Yeah, well, don’t worry; when it comes to her feedback, I’ll be sure to have it read to you in a deeper voice so you can understand it! If you’re lucky enough to hear back from us!” *slaps laptop case shut, ending the call*

(My boss and all my coworkers are angrier than I’ve ever seen them, probably angrier than I am.)

Me: “Okay, let’s all calm down. I agree that was pretty gross, but… I don’t know, he’s pretty young. Maybe this can be a teachable moment and he can have a chance to redeem himself?”

Coworker #1: “Yeah, but then we’d have to time-travel back to the 1950s to work with him. UGH.”

Boss: “I do NOT want somebody like that representing us! I don’t even want to talk about it right now.”

(We did NOT end up working with that kid. I felt a little bad for him, in spite of everything, but also grateful that I worked with such awesome people who had my back. To his credit, he did send me a private e-mail about a year later apologizing for his behaviour, saying we were right to turn him down because it made him think about some prejudices he had, not just about women but other people as well. I accepted his apology, and I hope the rest of his life is a lot more fruitful… and less ignorant!)

Time Zoned Out

, , , , | Working | October 2, 2017

(I work for a video game publishing company, and some of us work remotely from home. One of our developers is foreign, and we have weekly catch-up meetings via video chat with him to check in with the status of his project, see if there’s anything he or his team needs, and so forth. One of our new employees has just been brought into this process, and I wake up the morning of the weekly call to a slew of increasingly frantic messages from him.)

Coworker: “Where were you guys?! I’ve been waiting for you for eight hours!”

Me: “What? Why? That’s like… 1:00 AM.”

Coworker: “Uh, the meeting?! I mean, I guess [Developer] didn’t show up for it either, but this could have been a disaster. I didn’t have any of the information for him! That’s your and [Other Coworker]’s job! What if I’d screwed up?”

Me: “Well, the meeting is at 9:30 AM, EST.”

Coworker: “Yeah, but he’s in [Overseas Country]! Adjusting for time difference, that’s—”

Me: “Dude, he’s from there. He’s been living in [US City] for, like, 20 years, hence the EST meeting time.”

Coworker: “But… I thought… God, I’m so tired.”

(At least we know he’s a dedicated worker, if not detail-oriented!)

Animal Retraction, Part 2

| | Working | May 5, 2017

(I’m on a phone call with one of my coworkers early in the morning, and am admittedly only paying half attention because I slept poorly.)

Coworker: *blah blah – apps – blah blah – company – blah blah – furry analytics*

Me: “Wait, wait. Why?”

Coworker: “Uh… why what?”

Me: “Why Furries? What am I missing about our demographic?”

Coworker: “…flurry. Flurry analytics. With an ‘L.'”

Me: “…oh.”

Coworker: *hysterical laughter*

(Needless to say, I have yet to live that one down.)


The Game Industry Isn’t A Game

| FL, USA | Related | April 3, 2017

(I work for a company that publishes video games, which is a job my husband’s family, mostly being non-gamers, don’t really seem to understand but are supportive of anyway. One of his cousins has a son in his late teens who is interested in games, and she has always been very determined to have him make a career out of it (since he is “so good at video games”). We don’t otherwise have much in common with them, and they live a ways away, so although we are all friendly and pleasant, we don’t really talk or see each other much. My husband and I are out for dinner with her one day when she’s in town.)

Cousin: “Did you know [Son] is in school for games?”

Me: “Oh? You mean like… a programming course or something?” *sincerely hoping it is this, since a lot of schools alleging to help people learn to make games tend to be scams*

Cousin: “Something like that! He made a game that everyone there says is really good, and they tried to submit it to [Well-Known Gaming Conference] but they said he was too young. And that’s the only reason! It’s REALLY good. So I told him I’d talk to you about it. You can show it to your company and they can pay him for it and sell it.”

Me: “Oh. Uh. Well. We have a lot of projects in the works right now, and there’s a pitching process we ask everyone to go through that—”

Cousin: *defensively* “He’s your family! All you have to do is get them to look at it and they’ll see how great it is. This is an amazing opportunity for him.”

(Even though I can see my husband start to get annoyed at how manipulative she’s being, I reluctantly, and against my better judgement, agree to at least show her son’s game to my colleagues. I reason that it might actually be very good, and everyone has to start somewhere. Unfortunately, when I receive the game a few days later, it’s NOT very good. In fact, it’s made up of stolen artwork and sprites from other games, is very simple, and very, very buggy. In short, it’s exactly what you’d expect someone’s first ever game as a student to look like. And that’s okay because everyone starts somewhere, and in nearly ten years in the industry I have never met a developer who’s very first efforts were anything but rudimentary. Because we want to be encouraging, however, my coworkers and I take the time to provide some constructive, positive feedback, including a list of free online resources for things like learning to code and helpful tools. However…)

Cousin: “I can’t believe you turned him down! How could you?! He’s absolutely crushed!”

Me: “I’m sorry he’s upset, but we are not going to be offering him anything based on what he’s shown us. He shouldn’t take it personally… We’re a business, and we turn down a lot of proposals every week. That doesn’t mean we don’t want him to keep working and learning, and then he can show—”

Cousin: “Oh, because you’re SO PERFECT and he has to work SO HARD just to be on your level for you to even consider!”

(She hung up on me before I could say anything else and refused to speak to either me or my husband for months. When she saw us at a family gathering, both she and her son acted as if nothing had happened. It was a bizarre incident that really solidified to me never to mix family with business again, no matter what that business happens to be, or if you think you’re doing someone a favour.)