Sunday marked the exact four year anniversary of my employment at EA as a software engineer. If you count my time as a games tester, I’ve been working for EA for about six years in total.
Ironically, even though it was a Sunday, I spent the four year anniversary at work for about an hour. Someone needed my help and I showed up to give them assistance. It was when I arrived at the studio that I learned something interesting. I entered the facility through Phase II which was built in 2005. I encountered no problems until I started using the card readers in Phase I. Every single card reader wouldn’t accept my access card. This was very weird since I was able to get into the building and already get through several access-controlled doors.
I decided to make my way down to the security desk where I told them my problem. They checked my name and it only took a few seconds before the security guy said, “oh yeah, four year anniversary”. Apparently when EA issues your access card on your first day of orientation, the system is set to allow your card to only work for a period of four years into the future. This apparently is the default setting for all employees. The problem is, there is no standard procedure for extending the validity date before the four years is up. According to the security guard, lots of employees are still working for EA four years down the road and on that special day, they are locked out of a large proportion of the building. The reason I was able to get into the studio in the first place is that Phase II uses a different access control system which doesn’t care that today was my “special” day. The security guy was able to set the expiry date of my access card to 2020. We both laughed at that because the odds of me still working for EA in 2020 are extremely low. Most people don’t wind up working at EA that long, plus isn’t Skynet supposed to become sentient by then?
Anyways, it’s been an interesting four years. This is the longest I’ve worked for any company by far. I’ve learned a lot in this time. The first three years were awesome. I’ve never had so much fun and satisfaction at a job. I don’t think it was a coincidence that those three years were spent working in the downtown Vancouver studio. The fourth year, where I spent working in Burnaby, wasn’t so great. In fact, the last four months leading up to this anniversary haven’t been fun at all. I’m hoping that things get better going forward though. If not, the world is full of interesting opportunities.
I’d like to thank everyone who made the first three years the best time I’ve ever had making games. You guys and gals know who you are. Much love to everyone, wherever you might be now.