Parting Words

Thursday is my last day in the office, and while you’re still going to be seeing me around this place (I’m still hammering out details of my Big Plans but I’ll be posting here no matter what), I thought I would leave you with some thoughts gleaned from my ten-and-almost-a-half years working for the same employer, and nine-and-a-third years working on the same magazine. Let’s begin!

On the Business World
When you start at a new job, you will be terrified. Ten years later, you will wonder what you were so worried about.

Learn how to do the things that aren’t strictly your job. You never know when it might come in handy.

Remember that it’s okay to say “no” sometimes. But if you spend more energy explaining why you can’t do something than you would have spent actually doing it, it’s time to look for a new job.

The business world is strange, and fickle, and strange. Weird things happen. Expect the weirdness and you’ll be fine.

My dad, the successful owner and manager of a small business, once told me, “Never ask an employee to do something that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.” Another way to put this is, “Never ask an employee to do something unless they know you’d be willing to do it yourself.” I have never been given better managerial advice.

On a related note, especially in the corporate world, remember that you never know when a subordinate may someday become a supervisor. So don’t be a dick.

And you never know when you might run into a former coworker later in life. Burning bridges is fun as hell, and I’m sure if you’re planning to move to Saskatchewan and raise caribou on a desolate farmstead there probably wouldn’t be many repercussions. But unless that’s your plan, you might want to think twice before sending that angry e-mail or submitting that angry blog post or leaving that angry voicemail. Yes, it might be very satisfying at the time. Don’t do it.

Remember that the most basic purpose of any business, pretty much by definition, is to make money. Expect the people in charge to make decisions with these factors in mind and you will be prepared for the strange, fickle weirdness.

Find the fun in your job. Every job has some. Just look for it. If you can’t find it, find a different job.

On Games
When was the last time you played the best-looking game on PS1? When was the last time you played Tetris (or something equivalently simple-looking)? Yeah, exactly. In the long run, graphics don’t mean shit.

Look into the stories of the people behind the games. They deserve more credit and recognition than they get.

You need to invite people over to play party games every once in a while. It nourishes the soul. Just don’t drink too much or you’ll break something.

Guitar Hero really is as good as everyone says. If you haven’t played it yet, do so.

Don’t ever, ever, take anything Jack Thompson says seriously. He’s an amusing, harmless hack. He deserves our pity, not our attention.

Remember that what you spend your money on this year dictates what kind of games come out next year. Write the game companies, sure, but don’t forget that your most powerful means of voting is your credit card.

Game publishers and console manufacturers are businesses. See above section for further details.

There is room in games for politics. There is room in games for art. There is room in games for satire, and humor, and social commentary. Is there room in your game collection?

Gamers are not a minority. We are not outsiders. We are not basement-dwellers or antisocial creeps or violent sociopaths. We are everyone. We are your grandmother and your bank teller. We’re the guy pumping your gas and the girl behind the counter at McDonald’s. Why we let ourselves be marginalized, I will never understand.

Systems come and systems go, but great games are forever.

On Life
Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia.

Make playlists for various occasions. The right music makes a pleasant time more pleasant.

Fer chrissakes, read a book once in awhile.

Turn off the ringer on your phone every now and then. It’s empowering.

Speaking of phones, if your cell phone rings in a restaurant, please select one of the following options: 1. Turn it immediately off; 2. Step outside to take the call; or 3. Answer quietly and immediately tell the caller you can’t talk right now and will call them back. If you do not choose one of these options, you are officially a self-absorbed asshole. Exceptions will be made if the caller is in the hospital, has just won the lottery, or is calling from beyond the grave. Maybe.

If your cell phone rings in a movie theater, please remember to turn it off next time. If you actually answer it, please head on out back and kill yourself.

Spend the time and effort to make your home a place people like to visit. Trust me on this one.

My mother always used to say, “Smile; you’ll feel better.” I hated that she said that, but damn it, Mom, you were so totally right.

-j. <–OUT