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Trenches comic: Thursday Sept. 8, 2011

BogeyBogey I'm back, baby!Santa Monica, CAModerator mod
edited September 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
i-MWBvP2Q-XL.jpg
Not Even a Game

09/08/2011 - Anonymous

I once had to “test,” for two weeks straight, 8 hours a day, a series of advertisements for a new channel that would be coming to the console. Keep in mind, what I was testing was not the channel itself, but rather the ads announcing the channel.

These consisted of eight screens of pictures and text (maybe 650 words total) and a video, each two-and-a-half minutes long. Our crack-team of FIVE TESTERS finished putting the ads through their paces in well under an hour, yet somehow the project was slotted for two straight weeks. Going to work to do absolutely nothing is bad, but what I didn’t mention is that we were put in the “cage” to do our work. Despite having nothing to do with this particular testing project, the “cage” was a room designed to block out extraneous wireless signals, so wireless connectivity could be tested in a relative vacuum.

I cannot describe the base and terrifying levels our psyches reached. By the end of that two week span, I knew that what normal people call “boredom” did not even begin to approach the intricate, diabolical knowledge of that state of being which I now, forever and to my great sorrow, possess.

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Posts

  • ronzoronzo Registered User regular
    the newpost makes it sound like he had solitary confinement for 8 hours a day for two weeks. That sounds terrible

    also, is it just me, or are all of the "most recent post" times really messed up? It says the most recent post on the last trenches thread is Sept. 6th, when me and one other just posted in the thread about an hour ago

  • RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    I think that's a deliberate feature so all threads stay relative to when they were first posted, to make it easier to find older threads.

  • HewnHewn Registered User regular
    If they stay long enough, they'll be basking in the delights of half-off appetizers.

    Steam: hewn
    Warframe: TheBaconDwarf
  • ChiefChief Registered User
    Just lookin' at that beer glass in the first panel gets me a little tipsy.

    I think I'm startin' to like these guys.

    Emmitt_Sig_08-16-11.jpg
  • InkyblotsInkyblots Registered User regular
    Really enjoy the backgrounds in this strip.

  • EvermournEvermourn Registered User regular
    Inkyblots wrote:
    Really enjoy the backgrounds in this strip.

    Are they meant to be in Hell? Because the first thing I thought was "Why are they at a bar in Hell?

  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Evermourn wrote:
    Inkyblots wrote:
    Really enjoy the backgrounds in this strip.

    Are they meant to be in Hell? Because the first thing I thought was "Why are they at a bar in Hell?

    Heh.

    I dunno, to me the backgrounds in this one seemed very appropriate. Nice color tone and all. :^:

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • kingworkskingworks Registered User regular
    Evermourn wrote:
    Inkyblots wrote:
    Really enjoy the backgrounds in this strip.

    Are they meant to be in Hell? Because the first thing I thought was "Why are they at a bar in Hell?
    Applebee's.

    So, yes.

  • Lord_AsmodeusLord_Asmodeus goeticSobriquet: Here is your magical cryptic riddle-tumour: I AM A TIME MACHINERegistered User regular
    Hooray, thanks to Trenches I get a Birthday comic after all!

    Lord_Asmodeus.gifLord_Asmodeus2.gifz1i30sg.png
  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    kingworks wrote:
    Evermourn wrote:
    Inkyblots wrote:
    Really enjoy the backgrounds in this strip.

    Are they meant to be in Hell? Because the first thing I thought was "Why are they at a bar in Hell?
    Applebee's.

    So, yes.

    Beat me to it.

    Steam ID - Syphyreal --- 3DS Friend Code: 2723-9387-1002
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    This comic by the way, is how I got my current job. Not that a bar was involved, or alcohol. Or sex. But I went in for the interview, and early on in it my background in network administration in school came up. Which resulted in my boss and I just shootin' the shit about computers since he has the same background. Before I knew it he's asking me to come in the next day while we're walking out just chumming it up, and like he didn't know any of my work ethics or anything.

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • PeccaviPeccavi Registered User regular
    Evermourn wrote:
    Inkyblots wrote:
    Really enjoy the backgrounds in this strip.

    Are they meant to be in Hell? Because the first thing I thought was "Why are they at a bar in Hell?

    My first thought as well.

    Also, I enjoyed this comic. The previous ones seemed mostly bland and exposition-y, but the art and tone of this one made it more familiar. If that makes any sense outside of my head.

  • rabidmuskratrabidmuskrat Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote:
    This comic by the way, is how I got my current job. Not that a bar was involved, or alcohol. Or sex. But I went in for the interview, and early on in it my background in network administration in school came up. Which resulted in my boss and I just shootin' the shit about computers since he has the same background. Before I knew it he's asking me to come in the next day while we're walking out just chumming it up, and like he didn't know any of my work ethics or anything.
    One of the best skills to have when interviewing is the ability to simply chat up anyone that you're talking to regardless of their background. If you get someone to get in a chatty mood, they'll like you and look at everything else about you more favorably.

  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    is it just me or is this newspost story kind of

    dumb

    I mean you had five people gathered together for 8 hours a day and you couldn't work out anything fun to do to spend the time? No one could smuggle in some board games? Or at least like bring a book or a gameboy or something? People entertained themselves before we had wireless internet guy.

  • faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    but hell is other people

    (without wifi)

    faits.png
  • ArakonArakon Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    is it just me or is this newspost story kind of

    dumb

    I mean you had five people gathered together for 8 hours a day and you couldn't work out anything fun to do to spend the time? No one could smuggle in some board games? Or at least like bring a book or a gameboy or something? People entertained themselves before we had wireless internet guy.

    Ever consider that the bosses of the place might get seriously pissed if you don't actually work (even if it involves watching a 10 minute trailer repeatedly for 8 hours straight)?
    I work at a place where something like that has happened (in fact, I have a feeling it may be the very one, that "cage" sounds awfully familiar) and if you got caught messing around on work time, you were in trouble.

    Arakon on
  • inlemurinlemur Registered User
    Arakon wrote:
    is it just me or is this newspost story kind of

    dumb

    I mean you had five people gathered together for 8 hours a day and you couldn't work out anything fun to do to spend the time? No one could smuggle in some board games? Or at least like bring a book or a gameboy or something? People entertained themselves before we had wireless internet guy.

    Ever consider that the bosses of the place might get seriously pissed if you don't actually work (even if it involves watching a 10 minute trailer repeatedly for 8 hours straight)?
    I work at a place where something like that has happened (in fact, I have a feeling it may be the very one, that "cage" sounds awfully familiar) and if you got caught messing around on work time, you were in trouble.

    I had a work situation like this, although completely unrelated to testing or a tech environment. I worked for a summer at an underground zinc mine, with the safety department. Me and another guy were hired to service all the fire extinguishers and first aid kits on the surface and underground, which had to be inspected annually. It was grunt work that nobody else wanted to do, obviously, but it was fun tracking down the ones that were in remote areas of the mine; we had a pickup truck and complete freedom to do this on whatever schedule we wanted. We also did other odd jobs whenever our boss needed us to, but we weren't usually directly supervised.

    The problem was that we were too good at it, apparently. The job took other summer hires a full 3 months in previous years, and we got done in one and a half. We had nothing to do, and little contact with our boss, so we would just wait near his office for him to stop by and tell us what to do. Often, this would be for hours, or even for a whole day. One day, the mine superintendent passed by where we were waiting, looked at us with concern, then hurried off. Later that day our boss yelled at us for being lazy and not working, and said that if we were done with the fire extinguishers, the front gate and gate house could use a fresh coat of paint. This was basically the worst job ever (and completely not in our job description); it was August in middle Tennessee, humid as hell, and it turned out the gate posts were infested with hornets. After we got done with that job, we just hid in a supply closet and napped whenever we weren't busy for the rest of the summer.

    XBL - remura
  • akesoakeso Registered User
    edited September 2011
    inlemur wrote:
    Arakon wrote:
    is it just me or is this newspost story kind of

    dumb

    I mean you had five people gathered together for 8 hours a day and you couldn't work out anything fun to do to spend the time? No one could smuggle in some board games? Or at least like bring a book or a gameboy or something? People entertained themselves before we had wireless internet guy.

    Ever consider that the bosses of the place might get seriously pissed if you don't actually work (even if it involves watching a 10 minute trailer repeatedly for 8 hours straight)?
    I work at a place where something like that has happened (in fact, I have a feeling it may be the very one, that "cage" sounds awfully familiar) and if you got caught messing around on work time, you were in trouble.

    I had a work situation like this, although completely unrelated to testing or a tech environment. I worked for a summer at an underground zinc mine, with the safety department. Me and another guy were hired to service all the fire extinguishers and first aid kits on the surface and underground, which had to be inspected annually. It was grunt work that nobody else wanted to do, obviously, but it was fun tracking down the ones that were in remote areas of the mine; we had a pickup truck and complete freedom to do this on whatever schedule we wanted. We also did other odd jobs whenever our boss needed us to, but we weren't usually directly supervised.

    All I can think of when I see that is "real life achievement hunter"

    I'm betting years of video game experience is what gave you both the skills in this "job."

    akeso on
    primeval-warrior-sig.jpg
  • Hahnsoo1Hahnsoo1 Make Ready. We Hunt.Registered User regular
    is it just me or is this newspost story kind of

    dumb

    I mean you had five people gathered together for 8 hours a day and you couldn't work out anything fun to do to spend the time? No one could smuggle in some board games? Or at least like bring a book or a gameboy or something? People entertained themselves before we had wireless internet guy.
    In most QA testing jobs, if you were caught napping, goofing around, playing other games, or not doing any semblance of work, you are fired, straight up. Even if there wasn't much work to do at all. I've heard this story before, but the version I heard actually ends up that there WERE some major bugs in the ad delivery that they didn't catch, and so the ads had to be resubmitted, and the former team was forced to work on it for another week because of this.

    Di87pOF.jpg
    PSN: Hahnsoo | MHGU: Hahnsoo, Switch FC: SW-0085-2679-5212
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    This "horror story" reads like a bad team of lazy employees to me. Maybe it's just the level of the work, but my expectation is that if you can efficiently complete a project ahead of schedule, you've either done it too fast, or the company mis-scoped the project. Either way, we don't want to pay you to sit around doing nothing. Either do your job more vigorously, or work with the company to fix the scoping.

    What is this I don't even.
  • faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    Hahnsoo1 wrote:
    I've heard this story before, but the version I heard actually ends up that there WERE some major bugs in the ad delivery that they didn't catch, and so the ads had to be resubmitted, and the former team was forced to work on it for another week because of this.

    week one: allowed to work at their desks. rushed through the ads in an hour then fucked around on the internets for the rest of the week.

    week two: goddamnit guys we try to treat you like normal human beings and look what happens get in the faraday cage

    faits.png
  • CobellCobell Registered User regular
    faits wrote:
    Hahnsoo1 wrote:
    I've heard this story before, but the version I heard actually ends up that there WERE some major bugs in the ad delivery that they didn't catch, and so the ads had to be resubmitted, and the former team was forced to work on it for another week because of this.

    week one: allowed to work at their desks. rushed through the ads in an hour then fucked around on the internets for the rest of the week.

    week two: goddamnit guys we try to treat you like normal human beings and look what happens get in the faraday cage

    I've worked as a tester, but not on ads though so it's possible it's very different. But I laughed when he said they finished testing in well under an hour. This testing sounds like they read/watched the ad once and made sure there were 8 pictures and called it done.

  • LTMLTM Registered User regular
    If you're a contract tester, I'm pretty sure your feeder company would be pissed if you "helped" the company "fix the mis-scoping", since your bill rate and SOW were likely all set beforehand.

    This story reads like an exaggeration of what being a consultant/contractor is like 24x7.

  • MatriasMatrias Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    These horror stories are getting lame, and not horror stories at all. It's just whining.

    "QA is a boring job! Not a fun one! I did not realize! Be afraid!"

    Do the job for 4 years, then we'll talk. Horror stories is being told to edit: on second thought, I'm not going to share that.

    Matrias on
    3DS/Pokemon Friend Code - 2122-5878-9273 - Kyle
  • CroakerBCCroakerBC YorkRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Darkewolfe wrote:
    This "horror story" reads like a bad team of lazy employees to me. Maybe it's just the level of the work, but my expectation is that if you can efficiently complete a project ahead of schedule, you've either done it too fast, or the company mis-scoped the project. Either way, we don't want to pay you to sit around doing nothing. Either do your job more vigorously, or work with the company to fix the scoping.

    Sounds like a bit of that, but mostly some bad scoping by a PM somewhere to me. I mean, assuming the story is accurate, there is no way you need five guys, for a week, to check eight ad deliverables. Even assuming a 5 hour a day velocity.Especially for a console - you're not looking at a load of compatibility work there, after all No IE7 (or come to that, IE6..brrr..).

    Someone ought to have stepped up and told the PM that they were done at the close of day one, and asked for some more work.

    Unless, of course, they were on contract (and thus, asLTM says, billing by the day/hour for a defined scope). In which case, they should have had a Lead, to go and get them more work, and negotiate a day rate.

    I can't believe 5 people sat in a Faraday for 10 days doing nothing, and nobody got a kicking over it.

    CroakerBC on
  • FishmanFishman Long time gone, Constantinople Registered User regular
    Did anyone else have the newspost remind them of one man, and a crate of puppets?

    X-Com LP Thread I, II, III, IV, V
    That's unbelievably cool. Your new name is cool guy. Let's have sex.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Audio Game Developer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Do keep in mind that testers are all under NDAs and just aren't going to risk coming under fire, so you're not going to get a lot of the possible stories out there.

    That said, it's not uncommon, in many lines of work, to be stuck in downtime mode for hours or even DAYS, and if you don't have super lenient supervisors, it can be hell itself. In a non-gaming job of mine, I had so much free time, due to my efficiency, that I read the entire California Civil Code just to keep busy with something I could claim as useful to work, since I was at a construction company.

  • JavenJaven Registered User regular
    I wonder if they're going to pull a Mad Men and have Isaac get the boss guy really drunk and just show up all 'you told me at the bar that I'm hired!'

  • RehabRehab Registered User regular
    I wish all my interviews ended someplace during happy hour too!

    Especially since I'm pretty much in Isaac's position right now on the job front.

    NNID: Rehab0
  • Lady LilybellLady Lilybell Geeky Crafter & Baker South Shore, MARegistered User regular
    I love reading the personal stories every week.

    When my old boss was around, we used to have lunch work meetings at the corner bar.

    5FzIdZ6.png
    I ♥ making awesome crafts! I ♥ my Cookie Brigaders!
  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    So, will we be hearing oblique references to Isaac's arrest record and the apparently extraordinary circumstances surrounding it in comics to come? Could it have anything to do with why he left his old job?

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    Gaslight wrote:
    So, will we be hearing oblique references to Isaac's arrest record and the apparently extraordinary circumstances surrounding it in comics to come? Could it have anything to do with why he left his old job?

    "I'm the guy who leaked Half-Life 2." dun dun dunnnnnnnn

    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • FramlingFramling Registered User regular
    Nah, I'm sure it won't come up again.

    you're = you are
    your = belonging to you

    their = belonging to them
    there = not here
    they're = they are
  • StericaSterica Wow! That was shit.Registered User, Moderator mod
    With five dudes I feel like you can BS with each other to pass the time.

    Were you alone, that would really suck. This sucks, but misery loves company and such.

    YL9WnCY.png
  • AsharadAsharad Registered User regular
    I enjoyed this comic.

    We knew from context clues that Issac was someone fairly important, by which I mean he was probably a game designer or something similar on a big, higher profile project that something went horribly wrong on, and this strip sort of confirmed it.

  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    I assumed his story was about when he got arrested for breaking the law

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I will say this is probably the lamest and least interesting of the real world stories so far. Being bored at work blows, believe me I know, but it's hard to sympathize much with "I was paid to do nothing for two weeks" after some of the earlier tales of woe.

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • -Tal-Tal Registered User regular
    what if Isaac just got a stern talking-to for loitering and the Boss is so drunk he thinks it's amazing

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  • Speed RacerSpeed Racer Scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratch scritch scratchRegistered User regular
    "I thought your name sounded familiar"

    maybe the boss hangs around a lot of prostitutes?

  • jwalkjwalk Registered User regular
    Fishman wrote:
    Did anyone else have the newspost remind them of one man, and a crate of puppets?

    Gaaaaaaaaaaarry!

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