Not going to try to speculate or make accusations about corporate greed etc.
I am the generation that has been here from the start. Those of us in our late 40’s to early 60’s. We have been here from the early days of public internet. I remember having the $400 or more credit card bills from AOL, playing online games, playing console games, at a time when that was more than 2 weeks pay. I have been here. Seen many companies start up and grow. Seen the changes in advertising methods. To those early days when you paid fees to send email, to having to sit through 15-30 second commercials so you could get to what you wanted.
I see now, here in our gaming corner of the world what I have seen in my job for years now. Years ago in my line of work, it was done and run by people that knew the job. We liked being able to look at a building and say yeah, I did that. We were creating something. And that had value to us emotionally. Much the same with gaming. It was never really a job. But corporate culture has changed quite a bit over the years. Where we would once send things out by mail once a week, we now do emails multiple times a day. Where we once spent months we now spend a few short weeks. It became a culture of instant gratification.
But even that is not enough anymore. Awhile ago I started seeing those I worked with for years advancing from being the hands on people, up the corporate ladder. Now they were no longer the hands on people. They were in the part of business that looks at the numbers. No longer could they just say do this or do that without having to worry about the bottom line. Now they were part of a business world where they did not have 3 or 4 competitors, they were competing against dozens or more. And i see that in our gaming culture. We have thousands of talented people that have been a part of something from a young age. But now are a part of the bigger picture.
I remarked last night to someone that I was once told, don’t ever let it be a job. That applies to work also. When you do something you enjoy, it never seems like a job. But when it becomes a part of your livelihood thing change. Subtlety at first. But eventually, it no longer becomes something you enjoy doing. It becomes work. And the world all around us is becoming work. I have seen the people that are running things now. They have business degrees, degrees in marketing, and accounting. And they are just like you and me. Except their job is focused on the bottom line. Where is the money going. Where can we improve, how can we do more with less.
I do not fault anyone for doing their job well. It is just the way our culture has evolved over the years. The bottom line, what can we do to ride this train for as long as possible has replaced the desire to create without being compensated. Because it had to. My generation is at the end. The new generation has grown up with instant access, jumping from one thing to another. The old ways of doing things are being replaced with people that can do them faster and cheaper. Where once you had companies that would say take my money. I want to have my presence associated with you, to a climate we see where you have not 1 or 3 or even 5 places with their hands out you have dozens, hundreds.
Here is my Kickstarter, here is my Gofundme, my Paetron, it has become a new way to do business. Where once you needed massive banks of servers running 24/7 you now have individuals that can create and do things from their home. In my line of work we had a major slow down years ago. There were massive layoffs. Companies went under. Former employees started working from home. To compete against someone working from their home, meant we cut prices, cut salaries, cut expenses any way we could to survive. It has taken years for things to improve. I have not seen a raise in near 10 years. For a few years I took a 20% pay cut. Just so I would have a job. I went for 5 years with no vacation or sick time. I worked 50 hour weeks, it has taken a long time to dig out of the financial hole and just survive.
I will share something with you all. Getting older costs money. You get married, you buy a home, you have kids, you start looking at that day when you retire and have no income. Gone are the whims to buy it now and pay for it later. Later is here. If you managed to do something for a few years of your life that gave you joy and satisfaction, and even were able to earn a living doing, count yourself blessed. The world many live in revolves around wondering if we can pay our mortgage on time, or will we have enough to buy food this week.
We as a culture need to find ways to foster creativity in people. We need to support those that provide a means to look at something in awe. Be they painters, writers, people that create things for us to find joy in our lives. However we also need to beware those looking to just jump on the band wagon, looking to cash in on the trend. I can’t tell anyone you should support this person or website over another. That is a choice left to the individual. There is no one better than another. What may be the most popular today may be replaced with something new in the future.
Be happy for the time you may have in the spotlight. Enjoy what you are doing. But know this. It will never last forever. Do it because you want to. Because you enjoy it. Not because you found a way to get paid doing something you like. Because there will come a day or be days when you question why you are doing something, and people don’t appreciate all you have done. All you have given. And it will show. It will give people the impression that you only did it for the the pay check. I don’t write this blog for fame and fortune. I write it because I like writing. Over 20+ years I have probably posted thousands, more likely in the tens of thousands of forum posts for games. Be it Magic the Gathering, D&D minis WoW or dozens of other games I have played. If there was a forum to write and talk about things I did. I write not because I think I have some great mind and all the answers to life’s problems. I do it because I enjoy talking g about thing in written form.
My generation has seen great and wonderful advances. Things we never could have imagined. Things many now take for granted. My era has come and gone to be replaced with the new. Yours will come and go also, with a speed that may shock many of you. What was once something only a small percentage had the skills to do has been replaced with technology that can do it faster and cheaper. But that does not necessarily make it better, or worse. Its just a new way to do it. Much like we say in gaming that you need to adapt to change. So to do you need to with what you do in your life to survive.
There is a battle brewing. We may only be seeing the initial skirmishes in our corner of the world. There is a fight coming in the world of digital media. At stake are billions of dollars to promote things. And the big players are digging in for the fight. They are consolidating their positions. And waiting on opportunities to acquire what ever they can for the best price. A lot of people are going to be hurt financially in this war. And the few that survive will be very powerful indeed. I feel for any that have lost their jobs. It is something I have faced several times in 30 years of working. It is never easy. It happens. It will happen again. Never take it personally. Never lash out at those that survive cuts. There may come a time when you find yourself not working with someone, but working for them, or perhaps they working for you.
Life is not easy. We are constantly forced to face difficult decisions. Forced to make compromises. Do your best to remember to have joy and satisfaction in your life. Because life has a tendency to make you work for it. Done take things personally. Even though it may feel like a personal attack. It isn’t always. Some times we find ourselves having to make the unpleasant choices to save as many as possible. Sometimes the need of the many do outweigh the few or the one. Perhaps choices are made because they feel you will be ok, you will have opportunities others may not. It does not sting any less.
I am sorry that anyone ever has to walk away or is cut from doing something they enjoy. The choice is yours in how you deal with the circumstances.
Have a good weekend.