After nearly six weeks off, I return to work tomorrow. This isn’t a normal return to work however. As many of you know, I was cast aside from Black Box in mid-March, with very few options given to me. After a stressful week and a half, I wound up on the Fight Night team. They needed people and were kind enough to take me on, without requiring me to take a pay cut.
I’ll be physically working in the same facility in Burnaby, just 200 ft. or so away from the desk I used to sit at. Though it would seem like these were small changes, I’m feeling this is starting a completely new job somewhere else for all practical purposes. Being on Fight Night means I’m now working for the Sports label, not the Games label. Though there is some sharing of code and tech, Sports rolls along in their own way and Games does things in their own style. There is indeed a difference in culture, even in how projects are managed. Even at the executive level, things are different. When skate used to get the once-over by the execs, a dude named Frank was the one who would give us the thumbs up or down. Now that I’m doing Sports, we all answer to a dude named Peter.
The most difficult thing about going back to work is the sense that I’m starting all over again. I was part of the skate team for nearly four years. I like to think that in that time I garnered the respect of many of my co-workers for the quality of my work and the way that I went about getting that work done. Though now I wonder if I really had the respect of any the people that held the real power since I was tossed aside as soon as skate 3 was done. In any case, on the Fight Night team, no one really knows me. I’ve never worked with any of those people before. No one really knows what I’ve done before. I’m going in as the “new guy” and they’ll be wondering if I’m some idiot. I’ll have to prove myself all over again. I have to show people that I can actually write some decent code. I kinda feel like some stray dog that’s been taken in by someone who feels sorry for me and now I have to show off all my tricks all over again to prove my worth. Roll over. Sit. Jump through that hoop. Beg for food. All that “workplace capital” that I built up in the last few years has gone.
I suppose that had I left on my own accord for another job I’d still have to prove myself again at another company but to me, that’s different. Leaving on your own terms gives you the feeling that you’re in control and that’s empowering. I never asked to be laid off and I never thought in a million years I’d wind up on Fight Night. To be fair, I’ve heard that team is a very good one, so I’m trying to keep an open mind about things. It’s just very unfortunate that I’ll have to show them I can fetch a damn ball when I’ve done that and so much more already.