Before proceeding with this post, I just want to say that I think it’s really great that people want to be nice to me and that they are invested enough in a conversation to mention something relevant to the both of us. I’m trying real hard not to be grumpy and this isn’t a plea for people to stop talking to me or making smalltalk.
Having said that… in my everyday dealings with people, I’m often asked what I do for a living and specifically who I work for. When I mention that Electronic Arts pays my bills, there’s been a fairly common response that goes something like this, “Oh yeah?! I know someone who works there. Do you know <insert first name only here>?”
I usually smile politely and say no that I unfortunately don’t. Here is the reality of situation. There are close to 2000 people who work out in Burnaby at EA Canada. At EA Black Box downtown, we’re about 350 strong. I certainly do know a few people out at the Burnaby studio but it’s far from all 2000. At Black Box, I know most of the people on my team, if only by name in some of the cases. Outside of my team, I know far fewer people on the Need For Speed projects.
The point is, with just a first name, the chances of me actually knowing the person they’re asking me about is low. I think in the almost two years I’ve been at EA, there have been only two random “do you know”s that actually resulted in me knowing.
Of course, I’m not counting the times where a person has prior and detailed knowledge about the local games industry. There have been times where I mention I’m on the skate. team and I’ll be asked, “Oh, so do you know <artist name here> or <software engineer name here>?” Most of the times I’ll answer in the affirmative because they knew my co-workers and what they were working on.
So I hope I don’t sound like a dick by writing about this. Like I wrote above, I don’t think people should stop attempting to have an engaging conversation with me. Just know, if you’re gonna pull the blind “do you know” on me, don’t be surprised if there’s an awkward lull in the conversation afterwards.