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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Holding Onto Home

In my industry there tends to be a high chance of layoffs and studio closures. Very unexpectedly you can find yourself looking outside your State, Province, and even country for your next job. This makes it difficult to commit to big lifetime purchases like houses and hard to put down local roots in an area. It also makes it hard to keep relationships with people that can’t or don’t want to move. So you can feel like a "temp person" everywhere you go. In the past I have also lost my home, friends, and relationships due to studio layoff as have most in the game industry. This experience was much more difficult than I expected. Close friends become long distance friends, the house you raised your children in now needs a quick sale because you need to leave. Your kids are pulled from their schools and friends and you really have little choice.

It would seem however that working in a tech driven industry your physical location shouldn’t be such an issue. Video conferences are commonplace, instant message services and email keep everyone constantly connected, work can be securely sent online. Is there really a need for a physical workplace anymore? When working in LA on Return to Castle Wolfenstein our AI programmer lived in Australia , and that was back in 2001. Certainly business and security has evolved since then.

I would love to see more companies like Hinterlands which have a headquarters but allow people to live wherever they want in the world without being forced to a physical location. Being forced into or just wanting to make a career change shouldn’t cost you your house and relationships. Game developers want to have normal lives like everyone else. We also want a place to confidently call home.

- Chad