As many of you already know, my employer, Electronic Arts, announced today their plans to reduce their workforce by 1500 employees. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because we went through this before less than a year ago. The announcement today didn’t catch me by surprise completely. Last week, a few of my co-workers knew of a small number of layoffs on the Need for Speed team though these were not widely reported. So today’s announcement didn’t signal the beginning of the reduction, it had already started.
Also, just before the weekend started, a studio-wide meeting request was sent out to all Black Box employees. The meeting was to be for Monday morning. Given that we still had last January still fresh in our memories, it made me and a probably a few of my co-workers a bit nervous. Well, we had that meeting this morning but there wasn’t a whole lot that was told to us. We were just informed that the games industry was going through some changes and it’s been a tough go recently. We were also told that there would be some changes related to our studio but no details were given. It was a bit odd.
Everyone came back to their desks to only find stories all over the Internet about 1500 person reduction in the workforce. As crazy as this seems, a lot of people seemed to not even flinch with all this going around them. Those people just put their head down and got right back to work as if everyone was perfectly ok with the world.
We have another meeting scheduled for tomorrow where the entire studio will be assembled again but this time, a high-level executive will speak to us and take our questions. Given all that’s happened today, I have absolutely no clue what is going to happen at that meeting. I could be given my walking papers tomorrow or I could be told I’m safe for now.
From a logical standpoint, it doesn’t seem to make sense to layoff a large portion of my team. We’re in a critical stage of the project where things are coming together for a big push to our May release date. I’ve never heard of a team being hit by layoffs so close to launch. Then again, nothing surprises me anymore so anything is a possibility at this point.
A lot of people lost their jobs today in Burnaby which is very unfortunate. No numbers were given for just the Vancouver area, so it’s difficult for me to understand how much smaller EA Canada and Black Box are now. It’s also an ongoing process as they’ve stated it’ll take until the end of March, 2010 for all the reductions to be complete. So while I have a job at this very moment, that may not be true tomorrow or next week or at the end of March.
I’m just going to have to take it day by day now. I’ll go to that meeting tomorrow and see what they have to say. If they’ll let me keep working there, I’ll show up and do my job until they tell me otherwise.
There have already been some unfortunate side effects by all of this. I canceled a dentist appointment today because the meeting request went out so late on Friday. Also, since tomorrow’s meeting was also scheduled at the last minute, I had to cancel the repair job that was due to be done on my bathroom ceiling.
I’ll let everyone know what happens tomorrow.