Work Hard, Make Friends
Yesterday we talked about Dreaming Big and Having a Plan. Today we follow up with PT. 2 – Working Hard and Making Friends. The picture above is from my office at my previous job. The collage represents a potpourri of industry folks, students, and graduates that I worked with the past ten years. What do they all have in common? It should be easy to figure out if you just look at the pictures. Everyone represented not only worked hard and made lots of friends, but their willingness to give back to their community was second to none.
What solidifies the concept of networking to me more than anything is the fact that many of the folks that went to school together ended up working together on a few celebrated AAA titles, Red Dead Redemption and Saints Row 3 & 4. These guys took the time while in school to build solid relationships, while establishing their reputations as serious professionals and friends.
How did they do it? They got involved with their community.
These guys all attended most every extra-curricular seminar and presentation that was available to them. They worked together on outside of the classroom projects. They participated in social media by contributing to conversations and sharing their ideas. Most of all – They helped others, gave feedback, asked questions, and proved that they had the mindset to be a professional game developer.
What's more, they did it when they weren't expecting anything in return. They did it because they were passionate about game development.
In return, they learned more than the person who didn't get involved. They also made a lot of friends along the way. When they got ready to seriously start looking for work, they had a wide array of networking options and people to contact whom already knew what they were capable of doing and were willing to give them their first opportunity. (I can cite two people here who got their first notice and first job due to their visibility on Twitter.)
Not everyone started their careers at Rockstar or Volition, but it didn't take long for them to find their way there. Once they settled in, their influence helped to recruit the friends they made along the way. Of the 12 Full Sail developers who worked on the Red Dead Redemption project, I learned that they graduated within two months of each other, only to find themselves working on a Game of the Year project within the first five years of their career.
Coincidence? I think not!
Now in addition to Rockstar and Volition, other companies represented here are Microsoft, ID Software, Epic, EA, Lucas Arts, Riot and many others.
These guys today continue to work hard and have made even more friends along the way. What's most impressive, however, is that, above all else, they continue to give back. These are the guys I want on my team any and all of the time.
Work Hard - Make Friends - Get Involved - I look forward to hearing from you.