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When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one… - ea_spouse [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Dec. 15th, 2004|02:18 am]
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve
the political bands which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth,
the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature
and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions
of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

- The U.S. Declaration of Independence

Welcome, and thank you for visiting. If you are here in search of the original "EA_spouse" article, you can find that here. The following is my update as of 12/15/2004.

So much has happened in the past month, I find it difficult to grasp. One essay written months ago set off a powderkeg of response, not just from the game industry but from the entire software development community. Truly, the power of the Internet is astounding, and all other things aside, we live in a positive age when so much information can be shared so easily and quickly.

The thing that lifted this up into public view, though, was not my essay so much as the response to it, so I will keep this brief. I have left the original essay and comments intact, and you can find them below. To supplement the original essay, I have organized my own comments and links to others' commentary into a FAQ. I have also put together a press page that links to all of the news stories related to this blog.

I am pleased and a little flabbergasted to announce that "EA: The Human Story" was nominated for Joel Spolsky's Best Software Essays of 2004. More details on this as they come.

I also would like to announce the initial inception of Gamewatch.org -- don't visit it yet, there's still nothing there. =) But there will be. It is my intent to start a non-corporate-sponsored watchdog organization specifically devoted to monitoring quality of life in the game industry. As much as I would like to extend this to the entire software industry, games are what I know, and where I need to stay right now. However, this project will be as open-source as I can possibly make it. All code written for the maintenance of the site will be available to the public, and all financial information for the organization (which will be a volunteer one) will likewise be made public. While GameWatch will occasionally run articles, its primary purpose will be to provide a reporting site where employees from any company in the industry can come to share their experiences. Our goal is to hold up and reward those companies that operate ethically, the better to ensure that top talent can seek out employment where they will be respected and best provided with the resources to do their jobs, namely family time, sleep, and sanity. Employees will be able to post anonymously or publically, as they so choose, and will also be offered an in-between option to register with the site but have only their testimonial posted, not their name or contact information. Registered testimonials will be given a greater weight than anonymous ones, but both options will be available. We will also provide forums for advice and discussion for all game industry affiliates, including existing employees, veterans, and aspiring students.

If you are interested in helping out with Gamewatch, please contact me with 'Gamewatch.org' or similar in your subject line. In particular, I would also like to announce a logo contest for Gamewatch. Simply, I'm looking for a one or two-color vector graphic (black with single-color highlighting, or simply black and white), approximately 200x200 pixels, on the GameWatch theme -- a couple of ideas we've tossed around are a caricature of an English Bulldog or Doberman Pinscher with a controller in its mouth, or some variant on an actual wristwatch theme, but do not by any means feel restricted by these suggestions. I will accept entries at ea_spouse@hotmail.com for one month, until January 15, 2005, and then a winner will be selected. I will pay the winner $20.00 -- $25.00 if the entry is provided in a standardized vector graphic format (Adobe Illustrator .ai, for instance). It isn't much, but it's what I've got -- and the artist will of course be credited on the GameWatch website.

For those interested in discussing Gamewatch.org as a concept and in its details, I have added a page here for that purpose.

All of this aside, the most important thing I have to say is -- thank you, to everyone who has visited this page, and especially those who took the time to contact me with an interest in our story. And especially especially to the spouses and EA employees who voiced their support and declared their own willingness to help our industry fulfill its potential. We're not done yet, but we've made a great start, and that is entirely due to the outpouring of response that flooded the Internet over the past month. Thank you.

Edit: Hello all. I'm sorry about this, but I've turned on screening for anonymous comments in this thread and the Gamewatch one. We have a troll who has been spamming comments every few hours or so, and I just don't have time to keep coming in here and deleting them. Rest assured if you post anything that ISN'T vulgar, I will unscreen it as soon as I see it. Hopefully the troll will lose interest soon and I can lift this.
Edit 1/4/2005: Turning screening back off, since things seem to have calmed down a bit. Thanks, all, for your patience.
Edit 2/24/2005: Modified contact link to reflect my new gmail address, ea.spouse@gmail.com.

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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 04:02 pm (UTC)

You've got it wrong.

Though what has been done could not have been accomplished without such support as you have, it is you that we should be thanking. You took the first steps, and where they have brought us is quite remarkable. Where they are taking us now, can only be the greatest of places.

We are in your debt.
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-15 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: You've got it wrong.

I think that the publicity was more a matter of right-time-right-place; in some respects what I've said has been said before, it just didn't take off because the environment wasn't quite primed for it. But thank you for your kind words. =)
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yo ho ho - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 06:02 pm (UTC)

Get ready for a lifestyle change!

I hope you understand that your husband, the bread winner, will soon find that because of your actions, he in no longer employable. Have him practice these lines: “Would you like fries with that?” Also, he might want to look into obtaining the user’s manual for a Fry-King or Fry-O-Lator.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 06:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Get ready for a lifestyle change!

How do you know that he's the bread winner incidentally? Or do women not get to work in your worldview? And how would anyone know who her spouse is anyway,

Luckily, not everyone out there is a total callous idiot like you. Some people think that treating staff like human beings pays off in the long term (and that it is anyway the morally correct way to behave).
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From: ravidrath
2004-12-15 07:34 pm (UTC)


Excellent - expect my application soon.

I hope that you're talking to the IGDA, because a partnership between GameWatch.org and the IGDA could help a lot in allowing the IGDA to create its QoI workplace certification program.

Also will be sending this link around so that the media covers this, too. :)

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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-15 07:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Excellent...

Thank you again, Peter. =) Your regular contributions to the discussion and the information you provided throughout it are very much appreciated.

I am talking to the IGDA, and I'm hoping that we can combine efforts to some degree. I did feel it was important for a future watchdog organization to be independent -- the IGDA is a great organization, but its primary focus is "the industry" and sometimes that gets divorced from the notion of the actual people who work there. But a partnership as you mention would be mutually beneficial, I think.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 08:22 pm (UTC)


I hate EA. They are the Walmart of gaming. Die.
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[User Picture]From: jynxshot
2004-12-15 08:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Yay

yeah, they sort of are, but like Wal Mart, it's not the lower level employees who should be blamed.

Liberate EA! For a game company with such power, I'd hate to see it go down like that. They control too many licenses and franchises, it would affect the industry greatly if they fall.

Liberate the employees and bring decency back to our favorite hobby.
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From: pyro01
2004-12-15 09:42 pm (UTC)
You're going to have to do something to make sure that people who post actually do work there, so you can have actual quality reliable information, not just people trying to bring down other companies that they never worked at.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 11:55 pm (UTC)


That may pose a sticky problem - some sites require an email from your work address to join, something that certain potential posters would be adverse to. This organization will have to find some way to confirm a persons' employment credentials to keep things relevant and honest, I think.
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[User Picture]From: otakud00d
2004-12-15 10:20 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Sooner or later, EA's going down for this and other shady things it's been doing, such as the NFL Exclusivity deal.
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[User Picture]From: otakud00d
2004-12-15 10:22 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah. I'll definately apply to that site in a few years' time, that is, once I get out of college and get into Game Design.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 10:45 pm (UTC)

Come one, come all!

Come one, come all! Post your comments and anything else that will help ID you. While you are on-line, better check those "help wanted" ads for telemarketers, because when we are done with you, that's the only job you will be able to get!
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-15 11:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Come one, come all!

What-marketers? Oh right, the querrilla/grizzly kind that feel threatened by others having a voice. If your job security depends on EA not getting anymore bad press, you need to take your own advice, chief.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 01:59 am (UTC)

I know you´ve had enough, but here goes more

I thought I should just post some nice words and compliments to help get you going, but I realized you probably already received tons of that, so I gave up.

But what the heck, I´ll just spill those out, maybe it´ll make me feeling better too.

Although I´m lucky to be in a better company right now, I do feel bad for the state of the gaming industry, and I probably won´t spend my life in this company, so I´ll face the rest of the industry sooner or later, or be forced to switch industries. So I´ve been watching the ea_spouse stories with interest.

Let me just say what a great, great step you are taking. One that will greatlly change your life and probably many of our lives too. Reading your words, whether agreeing with them or not, in just incredibly aspiring.

I hope we´ll soon be shown to your true identities, both your´s and your husband´s. For you deserve to be known and recognized, and thy names shall be remembered in the future of this industry.

We thank you.

Fabio 'Petrucio' Stange - Game Programmer
Hoplon Infotainment - Brazil
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-16 08:56 am (UTC)

Re: I know you´ve had enough, but here goes more

Ah. To break anonymity, or not to break anonymity, that is the question. To be honest I shudder at the notion of getting as much attention personally as the name ea_spouse has gotten in the game community. But I do want to say that I am incredibly impressed and touched at the number of people who have come forth with their names on this page; it does make me feel bad for not sharing my name with you. Unfortunately going public is something that could have permanent ramifications for both of us, and we would both rather be seen as ourselves by future contacts, rather than "ea_spouse" and "ea_spouse_spouse". =P
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 06:16 am (UTC)

not just the game industry, not just America

Dear ea_spouse and everyone else,

I do not live in the US and I do not work in the gaming industry but I am a computer programmer. I have a sop story of my own about what happened to me earlier in the year and I have been looking for a place to post the story in such a way that it could have an effect.

Maybe if I knew what the company was about I would never have joined. So seeing that you intend to start this website really makes me feel good about the state of things.

Friendly regards
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 08:15 am (UTC)

Pretty good

Without any offense intended towards anyone....

You have become a Rosa Parks of sorts. One little person making a change. Or at least starting a change. Good luck to you all.

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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 10:38 am (UTC)

Re: Pretty good

Uhm....more like a Norma Rae or a Karen Silkwood, but I see your point.
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-16 08:51 am (UTC)
Hello all. Just a quick note that I did remove a couple of comments for spamming. You'll probably be able to figure out which one it was, I left the ones that had answers to them and just removed the ones that were at the end of threads. Future note: still not censoring, but if you post the same thing over and over again, I will delete the redundant ones. That is all.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 12:32 pm (UTC)


Why don't you guys just form a Union. If things get too bad you can all stand together and tell the EA etc. to take a hike for their ship date. It is difficult to take action against a whole team.

This would be the worse case, normally a Union would be constructive and help the company find a way to keep employees happy whilst seeking profit etc.

I have no idea about Union law in US, but I do know that a teamster can kick crap out of my computers when setting up a GDC and not worry about his job ;-)

Unions they are independant from any one person, personalities are not involved to the same extent, and everyone knows what agreements are in place. It doesn't mean you a red russian from the 60's, it just means you stand for a decent pay in return for work done, who can argue against that ?

Anyway best of luck to you,

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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 07:32 pm (UTC)


Gamewatch.org is registered to Santiago Valencia, and has been since Feb of 2004. Mr. Valencia hails from Bogotá, Columbia.

So, does EA have a shop down Bogotá way? No? Exactly what do they do in Bogotá? Cocaine is the main industry, with a little Black Tar tossed in for fun.

Maybe EA-Spouse is not so worried that her "partner" remains employed is because they are in this country for purposes other than employment as a code monkey?

Could it be that EA-Spouse is Mrs. Valencia? And Mr. Valencia does a little import business on the side? What is the nature of your citizenship, EA-Spouse?

And, EA-Spouse, what is your relationship to RedFutura.net? You claim to be the poor wife of some over worked and under paid code monkey at EA, but your bonafides don't add up.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-16 07:40 pm (UTC)


I agree. I think it's time ea_spouse came clean with a few more facts. Something isn't quite "kosher" here, things just don't add up. I work at EA, and have no such issues, I know of no one else who does, except a few ex-employees who have other issues. And like the other guy a few posts up, if any of this where true, the press would have grabbed this and spun it up. What have we seen? NOTHING!!!

You know, ea_spouse, there are other game shops out there.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 05:03 am (UTC)

There is also another EA blog

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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 07:01 am (UTC)

Re: There is also another EA blog

Have you ever phoned EA techserv after 5.30pm or at the weekend? If you think they will be there then you live a different world to us, one where 'there is no spoon'.

Anyway, whoever it is seems to be largely talking to themself which makes this blog way more interesting.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 06:34 am (UTC)

GameWatch.org verification suggestion

For Gamewatch.org an excellent way to verify the identity of people is to create a ChaosEngine account and ask people who have verified industry email addresses to send you a private message. Although I'm not affiliated with TCE, you could ask them to forward all your PMs via email for automatic processing. TCE is fairly stringent with its access. You can also be vetted by other TCE users (in case your employer tries to block email to TCE). The web site is http://www.thechaosengine.com

And another thing, are these people who are 'trash talking' us for posting on this blog for real?

I work at EA and these shameful work practices are indeed prevalent.

These imbeciles must be either be:

a) very naive employees who think they are actually helping EA by posting such puerile drivel here
b) fanboys (game industry wannabee who laps up anything we discuss in the public forum)

If they're ancillary staff and not on a game team then it is very possible they may not work any significant amount of overtime. They may even have their 'head in the sand' enough to not realise how much occurs because they're always out of the office by 5pm.

EA_Spouse, I applaud your courage.

First They Came for the Jews

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

And just to save you some time, Paster Niemöller doesn't work for EA or in the game industry.
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From: todpunk
2004-12-17 07:23 am (UTC)

Re: GameWatch.org verification suggestion

Two rules of social mechanics are in play here, I think:

1) People are afraid of change. When bad things are the norm, and someone stands up for change, you'd be surprised how many oppressed individuals will try to silence the rebellion.

2) People do not see movement in systems they are not a part of. Basically what that means is "If I'm not changing from X to Y, it must be stupid for others to move from X to Y." Kind of like one can see in the comics industry. With webcomics, there are MANY skeptics from older systems of syndication and abuse who think webcomics are silly, even though there are webcomic artists that are paid far better than traditional cartoonists ever have been. People argue about how nobody will ever be able to make a living by doing a webcomic, yet that is what many have already done and continue to do.

This change is no different. Wether the change will succeed, or if it will just be rolled over by the steamroller that real change is, nobody can say. Time will tell, and it ought to be fun to see. =c)
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From: todpunk
2004-12-17 07:04 am (UTC)
Could I just point out to you idiots claiming that ea_spouse has laid out their relationship/situation/status that there is no such reference? I will admit, I have no read every comment that has been made by ea_spouse, but I have read all the entries in this web log. Nowhere does "she" mention that "she" is in fact a she at all. Other than the screen name, there's not much mention of marriage either. For all you or I know, any of the following situations is equally possible (all the more equally likely because they live in California):

1) "she" could be a "he" and his wife could work for EA.
2) "she" could be either gender, and "her" Significant Other could be the same gender
3) "she" could work for EA too. I can't find any point where it's mentioned otherwise. In fact, it seems very firsthand the account given. That could just be a joint effort between them both, though, so who knows.
4) "you" could be a moron, and not even know it, and then post your assumptions here, and wonder why everyone's looking at you weird.

Granted, most people are more comfortable with the classic situation where "she" is the little woman and "he" is going to work to support the family, but be realistic and don't just assume. And as a warning, this is the internet. There are people here that are indeed smarter than you (and me, for that matter). If you want to post your opinion about their situation, even if it's not an assumption, make sure it's well thought out, or someone is going to wipe the floor with your "knowledge" and put you to shame. Welcome to the new world.

Good luck to EA_Spouse, whatever the situation may be. Some may not think it's a noble cause (heck, I don't know as I do), but it's better to see someone fight bad things than let them pass by.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-17 08:31 am (UTC)

Just wiping the floor...

Ok - the first one is a net interview so the guy might be talking crap or just wrong. However, the New York times refers to ea_spouse as a her, and claims to have spoken to her SO who is said to be a him.

I agree people claiming he is the breadwinner may be misguided because it sounds like they both earn decent money.

If we all had her gender wrong, don't you think (s)he would have clarified this?

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From: jbosman
2004-12-17 03:33 pm (UTC)
This is the best you people can do? Ficticious tales based on derogatory assumptions? Because GameWatch.org was purchased from a columbian company, EA_Spouse has a drug problem? By an equally rotten rationale, I might be able to assume that since you post anonymously, you work at Electronic Arts, have no life, no family, and are a tool in every way. It's clear that you don't actually have anything intelligent to say, and are in fact just posting the same vomitous insult in different ways...

I would welcome anyone who actually had something to say, aside from character assassinations and similar diatribe. Tell us, with good reason, why what we stand for is wrong; how we are hurting your big precious corporations. Please, make intelligent comments. You aren't required to show your support, but show what you stand for in a more inventive fashion.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-18 05:27 am (UTC)

Keep up the great work!

I think Gamewatch is a great idea and wish you luck. The situation at EA is hardly new or unique. It is, in fact, ancient and very common. Indeed, the rich taking advantage of the poor, more than anything else, defines human history. It even defines more than 99% of American history, though the fact is hardly stressed in our history books, and sadly, reading certain posts, you can see how ignorant some of the masses are.

May you open bright and shining paths of enlightenment.

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[User Picture]From: up_kilt
2004-12-19 03:00 am (UTC)

this is disgusting

Hello, I am an avid gamer and I have supported you all since day one. This event however is dastardly and yet sadly not very surprising. I ahve often wondered how EA amnages to ship there product so often and quickly, I never for a moment thought they did it by raping their empoyees. I must say that the people at EA do some fantastic work and have put out some great titles. Once gamewatch.com get started i will be glad to help in any way that I can. I very much liked the Dec. of Independance at the top, for to long corporate America screwed its people. Well anyway, I empathize with you and your struggle and I look forward to helping.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-24 11:13 pm (UTC)

It's much the same at many companies

I work for IBM, and I have to say they also treat their employees like slaves, promising bonuses and publishing positive results, record profits, and then taking our bonuses away because we didn't meet targets, unreasonable targets they establish at the beginning of the year.
I work in the Business Consulting arm of IBM, and I have to say that in most projects I am on, it is so badly mismanaged that most employees have to work 12-16 hours a day for the entire project. Day 1 is "crunch time". The majority of consultants at IBM do not get overtime if they are at too high a level, only select "bands" of technical employees are eligible for overtime. If you are project management or functional, forget overtime and expect to work 12-16 hours a day uncompensated. And project management frequently expects people to be available on call 7 days a week, just in case something goes wrong.
However, at IBM, it's already ingrained into the culture that you will be working long hours with no compensation. Most people are afraid they will be fired so they go along with it with no complaints.
My situation at IBM isn't too bad, I am one of those people who can get the work done in a fraction of the time that it takes the average person to do the work, so I rarely have to put in those kinds of hours. And I am one of the lucky few who do get overtime. But there are a lot of employees who don't and work longer hours than I do. They complain about it at lunch, but when it comes down to it they don't complain to management because they are afraid of getting fired.

I've heard the situation is worse at Accenture.

I could probably write my own blog article about the IBM situation, I probably will one of these days.
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[User Picture]From: souless_samurai
2004-12-25 02:12 pm (UTC)

Re: It's much the same at many companies

being an Ex- h.p/compaq employee id say that its the IT industry all over thats the issue here, im amazed that somethings not come out sooner having a few friends who worked at chert. for EA, im suprised its not come out sooner, then again maybe im not, most people are so dedicated to this line of work they will do whatever it takes to stay there... i made that mistake with HP and in the end needed to walk away or end up insatutionalised...

IBM, H.P/Compaq,EA, Intuit, Sage, some of the guys over at ex world com... hell microsoft i hear these stories all the time, im just glad someones doing something about it at last
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From: dogens_zen
2004-12-29 10:46 pm (UTC)

I salute you!

I'd neglected to check back in for a while (the comments to the original thread had started becoming recursive).

I'm impressed with the direction you have taken this growing awareness and energy for change. If there are ways I can help, I would like to. I am a management puke, but I am also a parent and very interested in seeing our industry find a better balance between work and life for its employees.

I hope you have enjoyed the holidays and have a successful and happy New Year.
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-30 02:43 am (UTC)

Re: I salute you!

Hello there. Thank you for the note; happy new year to you as well. =)

If you are planning to attend the GDC next year, I would strongly encourage you to keep an eye out for ther Quality of Life summit. From what I understand Jason Della Rocca was hoping to obtain a summit-only pass to be added to the regular convention pass at low cost to attract more game developers. We need developers seriously discussing these issues, and their solutions, in an open forum. I would really like it if everyone concerned about these issues -- and so many of us are -- could make it to that summit and make their voices heard.
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[User Picture]From: curlingwurling
2004-12-30 02:54 pm (UTC)

my other half also works for afore mentioned games company.

I moved to be with him 6 months ago - and three weeks after that he started working hellish hours.

he was told that it would be until november - now in january-well almost - he was given 3 days off for xmas - during which he was ill all the way through! - and it may well be until february!

in the mean time all wedding plans are on hold. ok so i could do do them but it isnt about me its about us and i dont want to do it on my own!

i am furious that all i see of my h2b is a few hours and then sleep!

Ok now he is in his 20s- but i am so worried about what happens in 20 years - or less, when he is older ! what the hell is it doing to him? and his colleagues!

some of his colleagues are existing on 4 hrs sleep a night and pizza and junk food -one even ended up writing his car off as he fell asleep.


gonna add you to my friends!

good to know im not the only one in the same boat.

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[User Picture]From: kira_
2004-12-31 02:06 am (UTC)
Wow, Livejournal is so full of these fake journals. It's fun when you make people follow you off a cliff like lemmings, isn't it, ea_spouse? I can't blame you, you were bored and you wanted attention, so you picked an obscure topic like being the spouse of an EA employee, and sure enough, word spread and people bit. Of course it's always a matter of time before the wiser readers blow your cover. There's no way around it. There's always a flaw in fictional stories, since you're only human.
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From: ea_spouse
2004-12-31 02:10 am (UTC)
Please, kira_, feel free to "blow" away. =)
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-01 10:16 pm (UTC)

ea_spouse = socialist idiot + whiner + gutless

do everyone a favor...leave the game industry, the software industry, the US, the planet. use the last $90k you made at the 'sweatshop' and buy a one-way ticket on Virgin Galactic.
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[User Picture]From: jonax
2005-01-20 06:02 pm (UTC)

Re: ea_spouse = gutless?

A bit hypocritical, considering that you're posting that anonymously.
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[User Picture]From: chewi
2005-01-03 12:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for your wonderful efforts. I'm six months away from graduating and being a games developer is what I've wanted to do for longer than I can remember... but I'm scared. The industry is in turmoil but you've given me hope. (-:

You're right about the power of the Internet. I was having a very formal meal at a hotel with a bunch of people I didn't know and somebody mentioned this thing. I couldn't believe they'd heard about it too.
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From: (Anonymous)
2005-01-10 08:09 am (UTC)
Why should you be scared?
EA and other video game companies are dying to hire kids like you at a lower salary to replace burn outs like EA spouse. the industry isn't in turmoil. It's growing like CRAZY!

you should be thankful for this blog. now you know that EA is all about the gold stamp on your resume. get in and get out. your 2nd employer doesn't know jack sh*t about EA's long working hours. they just know it's a successful industry leading company and you'll have it on your resume to get that 20% salary increase in your next job.

Look out for #1 baby!
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