So how many of us have spent most of our careers in a cubicle?
A lot I’d wager, but are things changing – or is the pendulum swinging back the other way? We hear about Yahoo and HP bringing the hammer down on people working from home, but working from home doesn’t necessarily mean an employee is a free agent, and a contract employee doesn’t always work from home or on their own schedule. Often we work on site and adhere to the same hours as regular employees.
But are HP and Yahoo typical of the entire job market or just certain sectors? Once a company reaches a certain size, they tend to acquire a lot of office space and real estate and other geo-related assets and it’s easy to see why they don’t want to see it sitting unused because their employees prefer to work from home, but there are still plenty of smaller companies that don’t want to scale up their operations, particularly if demand for workers fluctuates depending on a production schedule.
Most game companies don’t need every kind of worker involved in producing a game all the way through the development cycle. They need different types of people at different stages of production and unless they are ‘big enough’ to work on three or four titles at the same time, they just can’t keep all of those types of people busy all the time.
But many smaller game houses need to focus on one main title because they don’t have the resources to hire permanent staff for all of the roles needed to produce a game, so in the game business hiring people on a contract basis makes a lot more sense.
So from the perspective of someone looking for work, what does that mean?
Well it means you can take the McDonalds approach, and package your skills into a “Big Mac Meal” or a “Happy Meal” since a lot more companies are looking for employees at the drive through if you will.
Or you can package yourself in a non traditional way and wait for the right clients to find you – kind of like an artisan approach. That’s the approach I have decided to take.
But just because I’m a free range programmer, it doesn’t mean I will work for chicken feed…