So here it is: I got a job from IGN Entertainment. For those who know me from my high school days would immediately recognize these initials dearly and what they mean to me, but for those who don’t, well, they “won the Guinness World Record for the most visited video-game website in 2011.” At least according to Wikipedia.
As excited as I am about this opportunity, I’m trying to be careful as to not make this a boasting post. It’s not, and please allow me to apologize in advance if it reads this way. My friend Tommy once said I have “a knack for unintentionally sounding like a prick.” I’m not really.
So instead of writing what this job means to me, I really want to talk about how I got here. Or there. Whichever is grammatically correct.
Pretty much this time last year, I submitted my resignation letter to old company. I resigned not because I didn’t like what I was doing or that I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I just wanted something else. I spent the next few months traveling the world, well, more like lounging around the world. For the first time in a long time, I was able to not do anything and get away with it. So I didn’t do anything for a few months.
Reality finally sank in as my return flight landed back in the San Francisco International Airport. I quit my job because I wanted something else; now what?
All my life I wanted to be in the gaming industry. I’ve never been a particular good gamer, but I grew up being fascinated by videogames, and especially the gaming culture. This passion, geeky or otherwise, has always been a huge part of my life. But how was I supposed to go from being unemployed and inexperienced to something else? Anything else?
I didn’t have the answer, and in ways I still don’t. But I knew how passionate I felt toward gaming, so one night I created a blog and just started writing. I started writing about videogames and its perpetual man-child industry. I wrote about how frustrated I was with CityVille and how Nintendo needs to grow a pair. I wrote about when not to read videogame reviews and when top scores used to be good enough. My writing skill is passable at best and I probably don’t know enough as an industry expert, but I have my opinions as a consumer.
At the same time I started applying for videogame-related jobs. I put my Facebook friends to work and within a few weeks there were as many as four interviews a week. But the interesting part was that all of them responded saying while they loved my personality, they couldn’t hire me because of the lack of direct industry experience.
After the first wave of interviews there were nothing. So I started to apply to jobs based on my skills. Then just… jobs. Any job. I was still getting interviews here and there, but the positions were so random that it was hard to show enthusiasm for things I obviously didn’t care for. It slowly became less of finding a job I want to any jobs that wanted me. Unsurprisingly, none of them wanted me.
I didn’t mind rejection the first couple times, or even the first couple dozen times, but it’s hard not to take them personally as they slowly pile atop my head. And eventually I did. I stopped telling people how my job search was, because honestly, what’s the point?
You’ll get there. You’ll land on your feet. These words are difficult to take in when all you see in the inbox are rejection letters. I didn’t even know what to tell my friends when they asked what kind of jobs I was looking for. “I really want a job in the gaming industry!” “… Are… are you serious? You want to find your dream job? In this economy?” I’d imagine all of them to say.
Time and time again, I was kicked back to square one. Then what? Now where do I go? Being happy-go-lucky has never been my strongest suit, and it’s even more difficult when the task at hand doesn’t look like there’s a finish line. It was during this time that I had to really put my optimism to the test. I kept my enthusiasm and hopes high by keeping my gaming blog active. I read through three grammar books from cover to cover and I kept writing.
It was also around then that IGN acquired their long-time competitor 1UP (then owned by Hearst). I was intrigued by the acquisition because as a fan of 1UP, I was happy to see the financially-struggling 1UP finally able to secure their future by partnering up with the biggest gaming website in the world.
I haven’t applied at IGN during this time because I once lost my password from a long time ago and was never able to reset it on their old system. But I checked the site again after hearing about the acquisition and they changed it to a simplified, streamlined system. And, as luck would have it, there was a job listed there describing not only everything I’ve done in the past, but also everything I’ve *wanted* to do.
The rest, as they s… So I applied, and was eventually hired.
This post is getting ridiculously long, so I’ll spare you all the interview details. It went pretty smoothly overall, but it was only when one of the interviewer told me that she’s read my blog and liked what I had to say did I realize just how much this job opportunity means to me. She said it nonchalantly so, without realizing the brick wall she just threw at me.
So, a thousand words later, I guess what I’m saying is that searching for a job sucks and finding the right job seems downright impossible. But it’s not, and it’s absolutely worth it. But unlike hollywood movies where they cram everything into a 20-second montage, you actually need to spend the time and work hard for it. Applying for this particular job took at most 5 minutes and writing for this blog took half a year, but convincing myself to actually take a leap so far away from my comfort zone? That took me a year, if not years before finally take the plunge.
As for what’s going to happen to this blog — absolutely nothing. I’ll still be writing here, in my own imperfect voice. I actually hope to write more, and better, now that I’m immersed by such talented and motivated people at IGN, all sharing the very same passion as I do. I am fully aware that landing a job at IGN doesn’t mark an end to anything, and in fact just means this is where the hard work begins. I have so much to learn and I’m excited to finally see where my passion can take me. So cool your grits guys, srsly.