Today was Lum’s last day at NCsoft’s Austin office.
Almost a month ago was my first day at NCsoft’s Austin office. And tomorrow I’m going back. I’m working in game support for one of the several games NCsoft publishes.
That means I’m a GM. And it also means my job wasn’t at all affected by the cutbacks announced today and rumored for, well, longer than today.
Yeah, it’s hard not to feel conflicted about it.
I’ve been avoiding talking about this whole thing except to a few handfuls of close personal friends. Lum didn’t even hear about it until after I’d already accepted the job, and I didn’t see him in person until last week.
Like him, NCsoft was my opportunity to move to Austin, something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time now. It was a significant career change from my previous job, as a copy editor/chief at the Killeen Daily Herald, a mid-sized newspaper in the bedroom community to Fort Hood, the largest military base in the world (and the home to about 10 percent of all troops and casualties associated with the ongoing conflict in Iraq.)
But, well, you don’t have to read Romenesko to know that the newspaper business is making the game industry look stable. And that’s despite the rumors about NCsoft Austin’s fate (which of course were way worse than reality) dropping the day they gave me my health and dental insurance cards, the first time I’ve ever had the latter in my nine years as a working professional.
It’s awkward, but as Kain Shin points out, this is the sort of thing that happens every so often in Austin. I can think of some reasons for that happening that don’t have much to do with the city itself.
But now I’ve got to be careful what I say. Even making this post is dangerous. I’ve been the outsider for years, listening to my friends’ doomsayer tales about how screwed up the game industry is. Within a month of me taking a bottom-rung job in an area of service I never thought I’d get into and was probably way too prideful to even consider it, the stories got proven right. (At least the ones about people suddenly losing their jobs.)
It’s not something I could have handled well as a younger man. It was scary just hearing what was about to happen, and there have been times when I was genuinely worried I’d made a horrible mistake, and I’d be out on my ass.
Those worried times have been moments. The days have been great.
So here I am. I’m way closer to the people I’ve known for years in Austin, and don’t have to burn an hour’s worth of gas to go visit them. There are two Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas within short drives of my apartment, and a lot more options for groceries and take-home food.
I would have liked to work on a game with Lum, though.