When I was hired by Electronic Arts, the plethora of documents I received in my welcoming package stated that all employees start off on probation for a period of three to six months. Anytime during that period my manager is able to make arrangements to take me off probation and make me a regular full-time employee. If you’re not told by your manager you’re off probation, then you’ll still on it.

Well, three months into my latest tenure at EA, I had a “90 day check in” with my manager. I enjoy working with my manager and meet with her often, so this check in thing didn’t really bother me. At the end of the meeting, everything seemed fine but I wasn’t told I was RFT yet. So I just assumed I was still on probation.

Nearly three months go by and we’re into this week. I have my regular 1-on-1 with my manager and I mention that I’m almost at six months with EA and I’m looking forward to getting off probation. She looks at me funny and then tells me I’ve been off probation for nearly three months. I’d been RFT all this time. Turns out the 90 day thing was my elevation into full fledged status.

Now this is good for several reasons. First, at least a few people at EA have now deemed me competent enough to work at the largest video game developer in the world. Some of you might know this was a bit of a concern to me when I first accepted the job. Second, this probably means I’ll get my business cards now. Yay! Last but not least, I’m now eligible for the console reimbursement.

What console reimbursement? EA will give me $100 back on a purchase of any video game console I make. All I have to do is give them the receipt and I’ll get an extra $100 on my paycheque next time. In some perfect timing, the EA store at our Vancouver studio has indicated they’ll be receiving an unknown number of Nintendo Wiis soon.

At $280 – $100 = $180, that’s a pretty decent price for new-gen console. I am, however, not as excited about the Wii as I was about my 360. First, Nintendo dropped the ball in my mind with their video output. It tops out at 480p. What? My Atari 2600 did that in 1980. Second, what kind of console offers composite and component cables only? My LCD only takes DVI, VGA, and HDMI. The only way I could use my LCD is to plug the Wii into my TV tuner card in my computer via composite (or a mythical s-video cable) and then run the TV tuner app via Windows XP. I bet it’d look a lot less sharp compared to my 360.

Nonetheless, I’m still thinking of buying one because overall, the Wii is damn fun. Wii Sports alone kept me occupied for hours on our team Wii at the studio. Let us not forget as well about the guy who said his Wii led to some substantial weight loss. That’s pretty cool.

If the studio store gives me a chance, this regular full-time employee is getting a Wii!

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