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April 2011
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gwen [userpic]

I have to admit that stuff like mandatory overtime is a part of why I want to remain sequestered in Academia for the rest of my life, but I also wonder what some of the consequences of these suits will be. See, I always sort of expected that eventually the industry would calm down on forcing people into crunch times, because eventually you do run out of people willing to live that way; I didn't expect there to be a great sudden legal blow to the practices. I suppose I should have seen that coming.

Anyway, I see potential side effects of this, precisely because it was a sudden legal blow, one of the big ones being less flextime for the tech industry. Hours would have to be more regulated to make sure that workers aren't in a position to sue for uncompensated overtime work, which means that many of the workers who come in lackadasically, then working until whenever, will have to stop.

And given my experience, this is a fairly common phenomenon in certain quarters of the industry, and has spawned a culture of habits set up around this sort of working life. How long before the culture built upon this lifestyle is then lost? Is this really bad as well? I always thought it brought employees together a lot more readily than any "Company Group Building Retreats" could do, but it also meant workers ate all of their meals with their coworkers more than their spouses and families (in one extreme case in my experience, one guy lived in his cubicle 4 days a week, and saw his wife and two kids only on the weekends... if then).

I dunno. Less hours enforced on people is good, I freely admit that. I'm not sure that a forced upheaval sort of change won't completely change the industry too suddenly though.

Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Current Music: I Still Miss Someone-Johnny Cash-16 Biggest Hits

I think this assessment is spot-on.

Game companies have always been known to be sweatshops (and EA has long been the worst offender). "Don't like it? There's a line of people out the door who'd love to take your place." I'm glad to see it's changing, and within the game sector I think it may have the ripple effect Gwen describes, but that sector has always been an anomaly.

I'd also like to disagree with Gwen's assessment that "they'd eventually run out of people willing to do it." The problem with that logic is that the institutions of higher-education are churning more out every year. Even with the dramatic downturn in enrollment in CS programs [most of which are "Programming" degrees, and their graduates wouldn't know real "computer science" if it bit them in the ass!] there will always be bright-eyed, idealistic folks who haven't been ground down, and who are still starry-eyed at the prospect of someone paying them to do something they love.

I know I was one. And I was thoroughly taken advantage of. In the end, my situation worked out VERY well for me, but not everyone has my luck. And it was pretty much sheer luck that GALT landed me in California during the boom.

"Even with the dramatic downturn in enrollment in CS programs [most of which are "Programming" degrees, and their graduates wouldn't know real "computer science" if it bit them in the ass!]"

Ain't that the truth. While a bit different from the "computer science" vs "programmer" distinction, there's also a "programmer" vs "software engineer" distinction. I'll just note that I very deliberately wrote "programmers" with regards to EA, rather than "software engineers"...