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EA: The Human Story [Nov. 10th, 2004|12:01 am]
ea_spouse
My significant other works for Electronic Arts, and I'm what you might call a disgruntled spouse.

EA's bright and shiny new corporate trademark is "Challenge Everything." Where this applies is not exactly clear. Churning out one licensed football game after another doesn't sound like challenging much of anything to me; it sounds like a money farm. To any EA executive that happens to read this, I have a good challenge for you: how about safe and sane labor practices for the people on whose backs you walk for your millions?

I am retaining some anonymity here because I have no illusions about what the consequences would be for my family if I was explicit. However, I also feel no impetus to shy away from sharing our story, because I know that it is too common to stick out among those of the thousands of engineers, artists, and designers that EA employs.

Our adventures with Electronic Arts began less than a year ago. The small game studio that my partner worked for collapsed as a result of foul play on the part of a big publisher -- another common story. Electronic Arts offered a job, the salary was right and the benefits were good, so my SO took it. I remember that they asked him in one of the interviews: "how do you feel about working long hours?" It's just a part of the game industry -- few studios can avoid a crunch as deadlines loom, so we thought nothing of it. When asked for specifics about what "working long hours" meant, the interviewers coughed and glossed on to the next question; now we know why.

Within weeks production had accelerated into a 'mild' crunch: eight hours six days a week. Not bad. Months remained until any real crunch would start, and the team was told that this "pre-crunch" was to prevent a big crunch toward the end; at this point any other need for a crunch seemed unlikely, as the project was dead on schedule. I don't know how many of the developers bought EA's explanation for the extended hours; we were new and naive so we did. The producers even set a deadline; they gave a specific date for the end of the crunch, which was still months away from the title's shipping date, so it seemed safe. That date came and went. And went, and went. When the next news came it was not about a reprieve; it was another acceleration: twelve hours six days a week, 9am to 10pm.

Weeks passed. Again the producers had given a termination date on this crunch that again they failed. Throughout this period the project remained on schedule. The long hours started to take its toll on the team; people grew irritable and some started to get ill. People dropped out in droves for a couple of days at a time, but then the team seemed to reach equilibrium again and they plowed ahead. The managers stopped even talking about a day when the hours would go back to normal.

Now, it seems, is the "real" crunch, the one that the producers of this title so wisely prepared their team for by running them into the ground ahead of time. The current mandatory hours are 9am to 10pm -- seven days a week -- with the occasional Saturday evening off for good behavior (at 6:30pm). This averages out to an eighty-five hour work week. Complaints that these once more extended hours combined with the team's existing fatigue would result in a greater number of mistakes made and an even greater amount of wasted energy were ignored.

The stress is taking its toll. After a certain number of hours spent working the eyes start to lose focus; after a certain number of weeks with only one day off fatigue starts to accrue and accumulate exponentially. There is a reason why there are two days in a weekend -- bad things happen to one's physical, emotional, and mental health if these days are cut short. The team is rapidly beginning to introduce as many flaws as they are removing.

And the kicker: for the honor of this treatment EA salaried employees receive a) no overtime; b) no compensation time! ('comp' time is the equalization of time off for overtime -- any hours spent during a crunch accrue into days off after the product has shipped); c) no additional sick or vacation leave. The time just goes away. Additionally, EA recently announced that, although in the past they have offered essentially a type of comp time in the form of a few weeks off at the end of a project, they no longer wish to do this, and employees shouldn't expect it. Further, since the production of various games is scattered, there was a concern on the part of the employees that developers would leave one crunch only to join another. EA's response was that they would attempt to minimize this, but would make no guarantees. This is unthinkable; they are pushing the team to individual physical health limits, and literally giving them nothing for it. Comp time is a staple in this industry, but EA as a corporation wishes to "minimize" this reprieve. One would think that the proper way to minimize comp time is to avoid crunch, but this brutal crunch has been on for months, and nary a whisper about any compensation leave, nor indeed of any end of this treatment.

This crunch also differs from crunch time in a smaller studio in that it was not an emergency effort to save a project from failure. Every step of the way, the project remained on schedule. Crunching neither accelerated this nor slowed it down; its effect on the actual product was not measurable. The extended hours were deliberate and planned; the management knew what they were doing as they did it. The love of my life comes home late at night complaining of a headache that will not go away and a chronically upset stomach, and my happy supportive smile is running out.

No one works in the game industry unless they love what they do. No one on that team is interested in producing an inferior product. My heart bleeds for this team precisely BECAUSE they are brilliant, talented individuals out to create something great. They are and were more than willing to work hard for the success of the title. But that good will has only been met with abuse. Amazingly, Electronic Arts was listed #91 on Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2003.

EA's attitude toward this -- which is actually a part of company policy, it now appears -- has been (in an anonymous quotation that I've heard repeated by multiple managers), "If they don't like it, they can work someplace else." Put up or shut up and leave: this is the core of EA's Human Resources policy. The concept of ethics or compassion or even intelligence with regard to getting the most out of one's workforce never enters the equation: if they don't want to sacrifice their lives and their health and their talent so that a multibillion dollar corporation can continue its Godzilla-stomp through the game industry, they can work someplace else.

But can they?

The EA Mambo, paired with other giants such as Vivendi, Sony, and Microsoft, is rapidly either crushing or absorbing the vast majority of the business in game development. A few standalone studios that made their fortunes in previous eras -- Blizzard, Bioware, and Id come to mind -- manage to still survive, but 2004 saw the collapse of dozens of small game studios, no longer able to acquire contracts in the face of rapid and massive consolidation of game publishing companies. This is an epidemic hardly unfamiliar to anyone working in the industry. Though, of course, it is always the option of talent to go outside the industry, perhaps venturing into the booming commercial software development arena. (Read my tired attempt at sarcasm.)

To put some of this in perspective, I myself consider some figures. If EA truly believes that it needs to push its employees this hard -- I actually believe that they don't, and that it is a skewed operations perspective alone that results in the severity of their crunching, coupled with a certain expected amount of the inefficiency involved in running an enterprise as large as theirs -- the solution therefore should be to hire more engineers, or artists, or designers, as the case may be. Never should it be an option to punish one's workforce with ninety hour weeks; in any other industry the company in question would find itself sued out of business so fast its stock wouldn't even have time to tank. In its first weekend, Madden 2005 grossed $65 million. EA's annual revenue is approximately $2.5 billion. This company is not strapped for cash; their labor practices are inexcusable.

The interesting thing about this is an assumption that most of the employees seem to be operating under. Whenever the subject of hours come up, inevitably, it seems, someone mentions 'exemption'. They refer to a California law that supposedly exempts businesses from having to pay overtime to certain 'specialty' employees, including software programmers. This is Senate Bill 88. However, Senate Bill 88 specifically does not apply to the entertainment industry -- television, motion picture, and theater industries are specifically mentioned. Further, even in software, there is a pay minimum on the exemption: those exempt must be paid at least $90,000 annually. I can assure you that the majority of EA employees are in fact not in this pay bracket; ergo, these practices are not only unethical, they are illegal.

I look at our situation and I ask 'us': why do you stay? And the answer is that in all likelihood we won't; and in all likelihood if we had known that this would be the result of working for EA, we would have stayed far away in the first place. But all along the way there were deceptions, there were promises, there were assurances -- there was a big fancy office building with an expensive fish tank -- all of which in the end look like an elaborate scheme to keep a crop of employees on the project just long enough to get it shipped. And then if they need to, they hire in a new batch, fresh and ready to hear more promises that will not be kept; EA's turnover rate in engineering is approximately 50%. This is how EA works. So now we know, now we can move on, right? That seems to be what happens to everyone else. But it's not enough. Because in the end, regardless of what happens with our particular situation, this kind of "business" isn't right, and people need to know about it, which is why I write this today.

If I could get EA CEO Larry Probst on the phone, there are a few things I would ask him. "What's your salary?" would be merely a point of curiosity. The main thing I want to know is, Larry: you do realize what you're doing to your people, right? And you do realize that they ARE people, with physical limits, emotional lives, and families, right? Voices and talents and senses of humor and all that? That when you keep our husbands and wives and children in the office for ninety hours a week, sending them home exhausted and numb and frustrated with their lives, it's not just them you're hurting, but everyone around them, everyone who loves them? When you make your profit calculations and your cost analyses, you know that a great measure of that cost is being paid in raw human dignity, right?

Right?


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This article is offered under the Creative Commons deed. Please feel free to redistribute/link.
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Comments:
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-03 09:42 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

Hmmm...on the games I have worked on for EA, dev has always been around long after test went home...and I have worked FAR more hours as a programmer than I ever did as a tester.

Since when does merely having any kind of degree mean you deserve to be "put" anywhere?

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but EVERYONE pays taxes.

Seasonal or not...that's not the point. It's nearly completely unskilled labor. It doesn't require anything more than a high school diploma, no matter how many of your fellow testers had degrees.

The overtime sucks, but at least you got overtime for it. You found the workload and conditions sucked, you didn't like it, and you quit. I would recommend the same to anyone that feels that way.

If you really are a "struggling digital media artist" and you're any good, why bother getting a job as a tester at all? Why not just apply on your artistic merit?
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-03 04:30 pm (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

Why do you losers stay there? I just don't get it. For the "prestige"? There is none, face it! You're losers, and should quit being pussies, bitch slap your supervisors, and tell them all to go fuck themselves. It'll feel great when you look at your self in the mirror the next time.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-04 04:21 pm (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

I tested games for EA, and I can say that both departments put in long hours, seeing as how one is dependant on the other for work.

But testing at EA really does give one a false sense of hope of joining the industry. If you're good, then they just want to make you a permanent tester. They'll tell you you're a "Lead Tester", but on EA's record you're just a tester (basically exploiting you and your skills as a tester). If you're okay, they'll lay you off and just call you back to the same BS temporary position with nothing to offer except late nights and no time off. I have never seen and rarely heard of anyone in testing being moved up into development, design or production. It's sad because a lot of people that test games are highly educated and talented people. Most of the time, these people take on tester positions to gain exposure to the industry because they are 1) fresh out of college with no experience and/or 2) attempting to make a career change from one profession to the video game industry. What a shame that a company like EA won't even recognize the hidden potential talent they already have.

And to the programmer, yes you guys get screwed royally on no O.T. pay, but testers get screwed too with no benefits, no stock options, no paid holidays or vacations, no job security and no "perks" (i.e. free games at EA stores, free gym memberships, free catered lunch AND dinner everyday throughout crunch time, laundry services, etc). Worst of all, they're treated like dirt because many members of the dev team think "they're just a bunch of high school kids playing games all day who really don't know anything about making a game" Testing works the same hours you do, and works damn hard to make sure the game will be a good, polished product.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-06 12:00 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

I agree that QA is treated badly - I can assure you that having worked as a tester before I got into dev, I'm not guilty on that front. I would like to see QA get at least some of the perks you mention (use of the gym, games, subsidized laundry, etc.), but to say they should get year-round employment (even when there is not enough work to support it) with full benefits just doesn't make economic sense. Paying people more and giving them more benefits for an unskilled job just because they have an aducation doesn't make sense either. If you want to make money from your education, get a job that uses it.

In my Studio Test does get free meals when dev does...and as I noted in my previous rebuttal, the majority of time that I've worked in dev at crunch time the test teams were working less. Maybe it works that way at Tiburon, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear otherwise from engineers at that Studio.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-06 05:33 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

My main point in my post was that people go into testing because they do want make money based on their education. (At least that's what I and many of my friends tried to do). Believe me, I would rather spend my days writing and debugging code than just staring at the same level for 12 straight hours! Very few people I know want to stay in testing. They know the only step above a tester is a Test Lead or Supervisor, but it's just basically doing the same thing. I'd be interested to hear how you moved from a tester into development. Was it at EA? If so, how long did it take? From my experience and from what I've heard, EA doesn't seem interested in moving people up from QA.

Now, QA did receive free dinner at night, but most of the time it was from the lousy cafeteria serving "Vegetarian Pita that crumbles when you pick it up" type of food. Development was eating CPK and catered B-B-Q and Jamba Juice while we were stuck in the cafeteria. So is catered dinner and laundry service the answer to equality for QA? No way! But QA has needs just like everyone else. Maybe benefits is a stretch when they're only going to be there for 6 months, but treating everyone as a fellow employee is not too much to ask for. I can't tell you how many times a tester met with a developer about a bug and had the feeling they were being looked down upon because "they didn't write the bug so I could understand it" when it was clearly written and marked yet never read fully. Everyone that's hired is aware that they are temporary work and are on a project timeline, but they might as well be treated as normal people if they're going to be there and contributing to the project.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-06 07:42 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

I did go from test to dev elsewhere...although it was somewhere worse than EA. My "secret" was that I was fully qualified to be a programmer in the first place...I didn't apply as one because they weren't advertising for any at the time.

The people that I have seen take this route at EA didn't exactly do it quickly, either - the problem is that it's no longer a common way to "break in."

This is good and bad. Good, because not everyone truly is qualified to do the work, and when this was a more valid route at EA the company got several hind-end-loads of bad producers out of it because it was felt that they "deserved" to move on even though they weren't qualified to be programmers or artists. Sadly, it turns out they weren't qualified to be producers either. They have since been almost 100% weeded out. So it's good that it's less common because while it was common, EA attracted hordes of unqualified people who thought that if they just hung in Test long enough, they'd be granted a job at least as producer just for putting in the time.

It's bad, because there are</a> some definite gems there. Fortunately, some of these still do make it. My advice is, if you want to be a programmer, apply as a programmer. If you want to be an artist, apply as an artist. If you're good enough, you'll make it. If you're not, then no amount of time spent as a tester is going to solve that. You're better off going and trying to be a programmer or artist elsewhere, and then coming back to EA when you have some experience in your chosen role.

You are correct about the way a lot of dev treats test, and it's unfortunate. When a dev person behaves that way, they oughta be "sentenced" to go work test for a while, to see life from the other side of the bug report.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-07 02:05 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

Cool, thanks for the info. I'm seeing that moving up the old fashion way is not going to work out at EA. I still think they should move people up, but only those who are qualified. I see no sense in making someone a designer or programmer just because they tested games for a year and really have no background in anything else. The problem is that you hardly see any junior/entry-level positions offered. One way of increasing your chances is to network and meet people at the company, but since EA keeps an Iron Curtain between QA and Dev Team, the only people you network with is QA and that seems to lead to other test positions at other companies. I can see kind of see why it's like that, but then I am confused as to what the real fuss would be if the two departments communicated better with each other. The best was when I spoke on the phone with a programmer about a bug, and he said, "Why do they make it so hard to contact you guys?" "I don't know" was the only response I had.

But thanks for your advice on the matter.
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From: poe_diddley
2004-12-05 04:48 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

yeah well you didn't work for tiburon. we stayed until the wee hours of the following day many nites. the only people working on bugs were a few developers.
unskilled labor? nice. i'd love to see the bugs your games had if the testers were only high school grads.... i guess you never started on the bottom rung huh? many of the testers i worked with had either a gaming or digital media degree, as there are two or more colleges in orlando with such programs.
you don't think i did apply for a production position? ha! there's a line out the door for at least a mile. EVERYONE wants to work in gaming. and if you work as a tester you might as well forget it if you want to be in production. if you have half a brain they want to keep you there, as it's hard to find people willing to put up with the hours and strict policies.
your attitude towards testers being a lowly position is just why it remains such. if the turn around rate wasn't so high, and management so needy for passing the buck on someone they can fire because they're temporary anyway is why there are so few actual dedicated testers.
sure, you can try to say that testing isn't an unskilled labor but you're dead wrong. if that were the case then they would actually hire h.s. students. i didn't work with ANY, so i'm not sure what two-bit studio you claim to have worked for....
and just being good doesn't mean you have any potential to be hired by EA. they want butt kissers and you want to succeed with them, your resume better reflect it. great art isn't gonna get you a job with them.
some of the most talented people i've met were passed over by them for someone who fit the more "professional" label.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-05 11:53 pm (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

Wrong - I did start on the bottom rung. As a tester, as a matter of fact, so I'm afraid I know what I'm talking about from both sides. Yes, I said unskilled labor...Test is about focus, and persistence, and some creativity. Any job that you can be trained for and productive in less than a week is unskilled. How important the work is has no bearing on that. I am not disputing that it's hard work.

In fact, overtime or no, Test burns people out and that's the main reason for not keeping most testers permanent. The other major reason is that it is truly seasonal work...there simply is not year round work for the number of testers that the company hires. What do you think they ought to do, pay them for an extra six months even though there's not enough work to support it "just because?" Get real.

High school students aren't hired because EA would rather not deal with child labor, and because the maturity level to support focus and persistence isn't there. Now you're claiming that because we require a complete high school education instead of a partial one that it's skilled? That's ludicrous.

"They want butt kissers" sounds like bullshit sour grapes to me from someone who didn't get in at the position they wanted to get in. EA has its share of butt kissers like everywhere else, but you certainly don't have to be one to get or keep a job there.

In your last (upcapitalized) sentence, you seem to be claiming that there are no such thing as "professional" (in quotes as if it's a dirty word) people with talent, but they do exist and THOSE are the people who get hired at EA. I've had my share of working with unprofessional people, and you can keep them no matter how much talent they have. There are enough people with both talent and professionalism to fill the seats at EA.
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From: poe_diddley
2004-12-06 04:30 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

ok great thanks for the english lesson. i could care less if i capitalize or not.
ok first off, yeah there's plenty of sour grapes coming from me, but that's just because i had a bad experience-i worked my ass off to be one of the best testers, so that maybe i could work my way up the ladder to make it into production. i had the false illusion that just because i spent $60,000 on my education, then perhaps i could contribute to EA. it was my dream for many years to work in video games. my education is in computer graphics, multimedia, video and audio production-basically digital media.i worked alongside many people with similar dreams and educational backgrounds.
dev looks down on QA, it's just that simple. they're happy to have them there to find the bugs, but when it comes down to it, they know QA is a sweatshop. that doesn't make it right.
you can make the argument all day that it's seasonal, but so is the artist/programmer's job.it was common at tiburon to see the usual in house games being tested alongside games from other studios. so saying there isn't enough work to make them full time employees is not a valid point.
we went from one crunch time on one title to a crunch on another. repeatedly. it's not fair to force those people to be temporary, and not get the same benefits as the artists and programmers they work with. it's supposed to be a team.
and QA does have several full timers. they're called leads. those people stuck it out for years just to get that status. and usually you have to lead more than one project to really be considered to be an actual full timer. then EA takes all that hard work away by saying they can fire you anytime they want for whatever reason. that's real. this document came up almost a year ago, and several people just went ahead and quit soon after. who wants to work for years to become permanent only to find out you're once again temporary?
and your comment that the reason testers are temporary b/c they get burnt out is just ludicrous. if that's the reason they'd have a whole new staff every season. there is an influx of new employees when they hire for their big titles, but they keep people year around, regardless of what you say. otherwise how did i work there for a year? the people they kept were the best of the best, and that's a direct quote from our manager when we were all picked to stick around. quite honestly i was super happy at that point. i knew getting into the gaming industry would take years to get where i wanted to be. that's not my gripe either. any industry SHOULD have an entry level postition. but if you're gonna work people 80 hours a week, give them something back. the taxes kill hourly people who work overtime-it puts you into a higher tax bracket for just that check. it makes it not worth doing, no matter how dedicated you are to the project.
low pay and long hours while being looked down upon by the rest of the staff isn't fair no matter how you cut it.
there is NO ONE working in QA that just wants to stay there. if they say it, they're fucking liars or fools. QA management tries to make a point to say fairly often that working in QA doesn't guarantee a job in production. if they think that's what you want, you're looked down upon. plain and simple. they want loyal QA people and i don't blame them for a minute. but seasonal/temporary employment with no benefits after working 80 hours a week for YEARS is not the way to get that loyal staff. not when any dipshit less qualified person who says all the right things in the interview for production can waltz up and get a salary with benefits and stock options. there are plenty of DUMBASS artists and programmers working for EA with less credentials than me or anyone i know that worked in QA for years.
my point is that QA is a bed of talent that EA just treats like shit. i worked with plenty of people who would put in 10 hour days testing and go home to work on portfolios for that leap into production. and usually, it never happened for them.
when i say that they will take someone that SEEMS professional over someone that doesn't but is more talented, i speak from what i've seen.i know plenty of people that had the talent, had the work ethic, had the education, but didn't kiss the right booty.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-06 07:45 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

I'm going to let the tone and quality of your response speak for itself.
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From: poe_diddley
2004-12-07 05:35 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

you're awesome. i don't really understand why you ever responded to any of these threads if you don't feel EA was in the wrong at any point.
i gather that you are defending their actions, because you seem to be bashing all my statements.
do you feel like you've always been treated fairly by them or something?
the only thing i've ever tried to say was that it's not just artists and programmers getting the raw end of the stick on the overtime/crunch time issue.
QA gets the raw end as well, and they don't even get paid salary. all i've tried to do was bring to light some of the experiences we had, but you seem to be concerned with my capitalization, and for some reason you seem to think that testers should be seasonal goofs that can just be paid whatever for their time, effort, and skills. yes, i said skills. i would love to see some of your bugs you claim to have written, since you "started on the bottom rung as well".
maybe the studio you worked for did hire uneducated people they could just fire at the end of each season. personally, i dont care. the testers I worked with all had educations, and yes, a LOT of them deserved to be in production. but getting there isn't so easy. and yes, it blows when you see meet someone that just got hired into production that doesn't know SHIT--if you know someone that works in production, it's ten times easier to get on. it happens all the time and you're a moron if you think it doesn't.
my point is simple, if the artists and programmers are gonna be part of a class action lawsuit, then somebody definitly needs to check on the hours and conditions myself and other QA members put up with. with no salary or benefits, how can you say it's fair to make them put up with the same or worse conditions?
if you have a bunch of uneducated testers writing your bugs, i feel sorry for you. those days should be over with. it should be professional on both ends, testing and dev. Tiburon actually tries to do that, all the people i worked with were great and knew their stuff. but no one got fair treatment or pay, i don't care what you say.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-12-08 02:41 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

as another tester from tiburon, altho i still work there, i wanted to say thank you for posting and for obviously seeing what we are up against and what we go through and what little respect we get. may i ask, did you leave voluntarily or go down in flames?
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From: poe_diddley
2004-12-09 09:32 am (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

down in flames my friend. they created a reason to fire me. i spoke out against a certain lead in the reviews, and within 24hrs i was canned. they used the old "lying on a checklist" reason. sadly, on paper, they were right, but when i tried to defend myself A-Plow contradicted me and said that i had NOT written the bug on the same checklist question (which would have proven i wasn't trying to lie, it was just an honest mistake during a crunch time). the checklist in question was completed each day by myself and my teammates, so we had done it about 5 times within the past week. they picked the FIRST checklist to use as evidence, but on all the following checklists i had correctly failed it. honestly, i was so bewildered by their accustations and Ez was in his usual robot mode, giving me his cold circuit treatment. i tried to tell them that there were questions about the bug, and we had a discussion on our team about the subject, and initially we were told it passed. Ez basically told me that was impossible, we don't do discuss things as a group, it is either pass or fail on paper. sadly he never spends anytime on the floor, so i'm bewildered as to how he would actually know what goes on. he depends on aplow for his news on the floor, which just has to be tainted...
i wrote the bug for the question, but failed to change it on paper.
but basically, no matter what i said they told me i was wrong in their eyes, and then clocked me out and escorted me to the door. they wouldn't even look up the bug in the database to see if i was lying or not, i guess because Aplow said that someone else wrote it, and i was just wrong, dammit. we had been on 10+hour days at that point, so i was so out of sorts that i even believed for a minute or two that maybe they were right..
i had some friends go back in and check the database. they called me an hour later and told me that i had in fact written the bug, and gave me the bug number.
i tried to contact Ez to set things straight, but by the time he called me back he just told me it was too late and he had made an example of me in an emergency QA town hall meeting on the subject.
strangely enuff, my bad review for said lead suddenly vanished, as he got some kind of award from what i understand. see, i ripped him a new hole by filling out the sheet with specific examples front and back of the sheet on how he had slacked and taken credit for things he didn't do in order to make himself look like the dilligent employee to his supervisors. in fact, he was probably the slackest lead of the bunch, and rarely took care of his team unless someone happened to be watching him-usually he was playing other games besides the one we were working on. he slowed us down, and took forever to get back to us on questions (the bug i got fired over was a good example). not to mention his favorite passtime, tattle telling on whoever he could find dirt on. now that genius is working in production.
the really shitty part is that i was tied for first place in bug count for the game i was on, and i had been trying to be the perfect soldier so i could make super kewl senior tester, which had just been created about that time...oh, and we had just gotten a raise that kicked in that week.
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From: poe_diddley
2004-12-10 11:07 pm (UTC)

Re: ha! tell your SO to try working as a tester for EA

and when i say they "created a reason", i mean that they could do that for anyone on the floor. i guarantee you that somewhere at some point anyone who's worked in QA at sometime has missed something in their paperwork. 10-12hour days, countless checklists, bickering and fatique can lead to anyone to mis-interpret a question on a checklist the first time they read it. chances are, it won't be the last time you see that checklist, and the following time you might read the question differently and see a problem.

in my case, everyone had concerns over the question i passed. i distinctly remember all of us talking about it. it was a PC game, and the question was concerning registering the product. the register prompt "do you want to register the game now or later" came up BEFORE the game began to install, instead of coming after the install was completed. the question asked if the registration section worked correctly, and actually allowed you to go online and register. it basically read: " At the end of installation, make sure that the registration section functions correctly and allows the user to go online and register the product successfully." Well, the registration worked fine, and we all knew it, as we had tested that even before we recieved the checklist. We all talked about it and asked our super intelligent lead. He initially said that it was fine, and all we had to worry about was whether it worked or not. Before we did the checklist a second time, we found out from ANOTHER lead, that it indeed had to come AFTER installation, so i went to the database, and entered the bug. Then we all failed it on paper. I didn't go back and change the answer like everyone else did on the first revision of the list. But i wrote the bug on the issue, so i figured it was ok, or maybe i just forgot, as it didn't seem to matter since it had been reported to dev, who NEVER actually sees our checklists.
Aplow was our senior lead, and also the boss of my lead, who i wrote the bad review on. We did our annual lead reviews, and i decided to give management an insiders perspective on my lead, since no one seemed to really see his short comings, since he changed up his tune when one of his bosses were around. He slowed us down, and rarely got back to us when we had concerns, like the one i got fired over. So we turned in our review sheets, and Ez left for the day. His office, however, was at that time left unlocked so that Aplow and the other seniors could access it for whatever reason. That night, i saw my lead get called into Ez's office along with another lead by Aplow. Whatever they were talking about, it was a heated conversation that involved my lead, as the arose with Aplow telling him "I told you not to let this be a problem MONTHS ago..." my lead arose with his tail noticeably between his legs.
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