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[TRENCHES] Thursday, June 7, 2012 - Doctrine

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited June 2012 in The Penny Arcade Hub
Doctrine


Doctrine
http://trenchescomic.com/comic/post/doctrine

Salary Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

Anonymous

I started as a game tester about 8 years ago and worked my way up through the ranks until becoming management, making about $50K a year, salaried, so no matter what, I got the same amount of money every other week. $50k was a pretty penny - especially during early Milestones when hours were significantly less than the ‘required’ 40 a week that NONE of us filled.

However, my last project in the industry, the games I worked on were particularly in the weeds, and we pulled multiple 80-100 hour weeks just to get it out the door, only to have to turn around and do more ridiculous hours when we bounced from both our internal certification, as well as first party certification - MULTIPLE times.

One of my employees, who knew the salary scale for our department, revealed the truth about salaried positions at about 5 AM on a cigarette break. “You know, I think at this point, with my OT, I actually make more per hour than you do.”


Geth on

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    Dark Raven XDark Raven X Laugh hard, run fast, be kindRegistered User regular
    Hah, Geth has gone nuts posting Doctrine. Marvellous. :D

    Love how many fries Isaac has now.

    Oh brilliant
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    HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    The conversation of this strip has happened at my last three jobs here in Texas. Like for real. I am Cora.

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    NeuroskepticNeuroskeptic Registered User regular
    Great comic, one of my favorites... but what is up with Cora's hand in #2?! Was Gabe originally trying to draw a cup or something?

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    jackaljackal Fuck Yes. That is an orderly anal warehouse. Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Not giving a shit is a pretty good policy. Edit: Not in a nihilism way but in a "the corporate world sucks and caring won't make anything any better so fuck it" way.

    jackal on
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    HenroidHenroid Mexican kicked from Immigration Thread Centrism is Racism :3Registered User regular
    jackal wrote: »
    Not giving a shit is a pretty good policy. Edit: Not in a nihilism way but in a "the corporate world sucks and caring won't make anything any better so fuck it" way.

    I reeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllly hate that attitude and actively fight it. It's what allows people to be mistreated by employers at the job without any laws being broken.

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    jackaljackal Fuck Yes. That is an orderly anal warehouse. Registered User regular
    Honestly, it's probably a sign that I should move on to a different company.

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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    The "everywhere I work" comment sort of makes me wonder how many jobs Cora has had.

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    Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Henroid wrote: »
    The conversation of this strip has happened at my last three jobs here in Texas. Like for real. I am Cora.
    I usually have this conversation with myself, several times a year, when employed.
    I'd get all annoyed for several months because I give too much shit and care too much about the workplace/job getting done. Then I'll get the morale knocked out of me for one reason or another and stop giving shit...for about a week.
    Rinse&Repeat.
    jackal wrote: »
    Not giving a shit is a pretty good policy. Edit: Not in a nihilism way but in a "the corporate world sucks and caring won't make anything any better so fuck it" way.
    Indeed.
    The bottom line is that the corporate world doesn't care about you or the job, they only give a shit about the bottom line in their fiscal reports.
    Of course, it is within their interest that the employees (management included) give a shit because then they're working harder and are more productive which means better earnings, usually.
    So, really, one shouldn't go out of their way rather just perform their tasks and go home at the end of the work day and don't care too much for nothing.

    Natch, the majority of us are good people who do care and it's hard to become a cold heartless SOB (unless you're upper-management material).

    Ori Klein on
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    Mycroft HolmesMycroft Holmes Registered User regular
    80-100 hour weeks?

    Sh*t, guess my 100+ hour weeks for multiple months stories would be entertaining... cause I did have my own version of the Snuffler story.

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    theResetButtontheResetButton Registered User regular
    I miss the OT bit of being an hourly employee. At my summer job in college, I always showed up 5 minutes early. My bosses thought I was just good at being on time, but it ended up that I actually made a few hundred extra every summer because of it. Small change now, but as a college kid, that came out to a lot of tequila. :D

    Keep honking: I'm also honking.
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    GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    I miss the OT bit of being an hourly employee. At my summer job in college, I always showed up 5 minutes early. My bosses thought I was just good at being on time, but it ended up that I actually made a few hundred extra every summer because of it. Small change now, but as a college kid, that came out to a lot of tequila. :D

    Your bosses were dumb. The last hourly job I worked, we weren't allowed to clock in more than two minutes before our shift officially started.

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    Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Your bosses were dumb. The last hourly job I worked, we weren't allowed to clock in more than two minutes before our shift officially started.
    Aye, must've been either a company so flooded with money they don't care, or a real small and *silly* one.
    All places I worked at gave a strict definition of work hours and if you deviate without authorization it's on your own expense.
    Clocking-in early is automatically truncated by the HR software. You'd only get paid for hours within the defined work-hours + authorized OT.
    Every month you get an attendance sheet with recorded check-in/out times, total attendance hours, actually billed (paid for) hours, and a large detail of regular hours, OT, vacations, AWL, so on.

    Ori Klein on
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    theResetButtontheResetButton Registered User regular
    Ori Klein wrote: »
    Gaslight wrote: »
    Your bosses were dumb. The last hourly job I worked, we weren't allowed to clock in more than two minutes before our shift officially started.
    Aye, must've been either a company so flooded with money they don't care, or a real small and *silly* one.
    All places I worked at gave a strict definition of work hours and if you deviate without authorization it's on your own expense.
    Clocking-in early is automatically truncated by the HR software. You'd only get paid for hours within the defined work-hours + authorized OT.
    Every month you get an attendance sheet with recorded check-in/out times, total attendance hours, actually billed (paid for) hours, and a large detail of regular hours, OT, vacations, AWL, so on.
    It was both flooded with money and real small. Also, I was already working significant amounts of overtime, so it wasn't very noticeable to the actual HR folks.

    Keep honking: I'm also honking.
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    marsiliesmarsilies Registered User regular
    Great comic, one of my favorites... but what is up with Cora's hand in #2?! Was Gabe originally trying to draw a cup or something?
    Gabe doesn't typically draw this stip, Scott does.

    Regarding the story, does it seem to anyone else that the manager shot himself in the foot regarding the long hours at the end of the project. I mean, if the early Milestones were so easy to accomplish, shouldn't they have pushed up the schedule instead of slacking off and not working the full 40 a week? That way, when they did run into issues, they would've had the time to fix it instead of having to ramp up work to 80-100 hours in the last few weeks.

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    CobellCobell Registered User regular
    marsilies wrote: »
    Great comic, one of my favorites... but what is up with Cora's hand in #2?! Was Gabe originally trying to draw a cup or something?
    Gabe doesn't typically draw this stip, Scott does.

    Regarding the story, does it seem to anyone else that the manager shot himself in the foot regarding the long hours at the end of the project. I mean, if the early Milestones were so easy to accomplish, shouldn't they have pushed up the schedule instead of slacking off and not working the full 40 a week? That way, when they did run into issues, they would've had the time to fix it instead of having to ramp up work to 80-100 hours in the last few weeks.

    I agree. It sounds like they really just slacked off/mismanaged the entire project (not just the beginning), and they were somehow surprised when this strategy failed to work. This reads more like a bad manager story not realizing he is a bad manager.

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    MuddBuddMuddBudd Registered User regular
    Early shit is always easy. The last part of a project is when you start running into serious complications, drastic unexpected bugs, feature cutting, etc...

    There's no plan, there's no race to be run
    The harder the rain, honey, the sweeter the sun.
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    SticksSticks I'd rather be in bed.Registered User regular
    There is only so much you can test in the early milestones. You can't really get ahead on test work for content that hasn't been created yet.

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    Shakes999Shakes999 Registered User regular
    As a gamer who works in construction, this type of shit happens all the time to my job runners (what we call our bosses). We end up working 80 + hour weeks if the job has gone totally haywire, as it seems to so often do, and the poor job runner with his salary ends up working 90 to 100 hours. Counting the work and planning he has to do at home each night on his own time. At hour 70-75 is typically when we start making more than he does. And the higher ups at each of my companies Ive worked at just cannot comprehend why I always refuse a promotion.

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    CobellCobell Registered User regular
    Sticks wrote: »
    There is only so much you can test in the early milestones. You can't really get ahead on test work for content that hasn't been created yet.

    This isn't 100% true. You stay during the early milestones and make/design that content (instead of going home early just because you met some basic milestone).

    Milestones aren't, "hey work up to this point and stop working". It's hey at least meet this requirement on x/xx. If they are consistently delivering milestones without even needing to put in a 40 hour work week, then something is not being done as well as it could be. People are slacking off or under performing (which leads to bigger problems later in the project).



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    MuddBuddMuddBudd Registered User regular
    Shakes999 wrote: »
    As a gamer who works in construction, this type of shit happens all the time to my job runners (what we call our bosses). We end up working 80 + hour weeks if the job has gone totally haywire, as it seems to so often do, and the poor job runner with his salary ends up working 90 to 100 hours. Counting the work and planning he has to do at home each night on his own time. At hour 70-75 is typically when we start making more than he does. And the higher ups at each of my companies Ive worked at just cannot comprehend why I always refuse a promotion.

    And yet, at a lot of companies I've worked for (I work mostly in mobile, granted), the high level execs are constantly trying to cut back on overtime. A lot. I can tell how well a company is doing based on how many times I get the "No more OT, ever" memo.

    Although sometimes that's due to a new manager or producer who is just SURE he can cut costs and be the bestest little producer ever.

    There's no plan, there's no race to be run
    The harder the rain, honey, the sweeter the sun.
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    DedwrekkaDedwrekka Metal Hell adjacentRegistered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Henroid wrote: »
    jackal wrote: »
    Not giving a shit is a pretty good policy. Edit: Not in a nihilism way but in a "the corporate world sucks and caring won't make anything any better so fuck it" way.

    I reeeeeeaaaaaaaaalllllly hate that attitude and actively fight it. It's what allows people to be mistreated by employers at the job without any laws being broken.

    I tend to have the same conversation (the one in the strip) a lot, but my problem with the "don't care about the job" attitude is that those people tend to get a little more enjoyment while ending up causing everyone else a lot more stress when they have to either work around them or do the work for them when it gets pawned off by management. Most of my jobs haven't had the luxury of excess employees to where everyone doesn't have to work at peak levels constantly, so when one person doesn't care (and hence moves slower and less efficiently) it comes down on everyone else to pick up the slack.

    Dedwrekka on
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    SticksSticks I'd rather be in bed.Registered User regular
    Cobell wrote: »
    Sticks wrote: »
    There is only so much you can test in the early milestones. You can't really get ahead on test work for content that hasn't been created yet.

    This isn't 100% true. You stay during the early milestones and make/design that content (instead of going home early just because you met some basic milestone).

    Milestones aren't, "hey work up to this point and stop working". It's hey at least meet this requirement on x/xx. If they are consistently delivering milestones without even needing to put in a 40 hour work week, then something is not being done as well as it could be. People are slacking off or under performing (which leads to bigger problems later in the project).

    That's not really what I meant. We know nothing about how their projects are structured, but there is literally only so much you can do with a limited amount of testable content. You can get the test cases drawn up in anticipation of the coming deliverables, you can plan who is testing what and when, and you can test what has already been handed off. If that only takes you 35 hours a week, what do you work on after that?

    Basically, the fact that work was light at the beginning and heavy at the end is not necessarily indicative of laziness or poor planning on the part of the testing staff. It might just be that their staff was too big in the early stages relative to the amount of work that could possibly get accomplished at that point.

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    agilemaniaagilemania Lyon EstatesRegistered User regular
    Cobell wrote: »
    Sticks wrote: »
    There is only so much you can test in the early milestones. You can't really get ahead on test work for content that hasn't been created yet.

    This isn't 100% true. You stay during the early milestones and make/design that content (instead of going home early just because you met some basic milestone).

    Milestones aren't, "hey work up to this point and stop working". It's hey at least meet this requirement on x/xx. If they are consistently delivering milestones without even needing to put in a 40 hour work week, then something is not being done as well as it could be. People are slacking off or under performing (which leads to bigger problems later in the project).

    Don't forget that these people are working as testers, not developers. They can't create things to test - they can only test what they are given.

    Let's ignore crunch time and assume the developers are working at a consistent pace, 40 hours a week for the life of a project (which never happens because they will always work more than that). Given this consistent pace of output, the amount of testable content for the project will steadily grow as time goes on. With each passing milestone the testers have to not only fully test the new content but also fully retest the ever-growing mass of old content. Accordingly, their schedule gets increasingly more demanding.

    The only way to prevent idle testers at the beginning of the project is to have fewer testers and add more as the workload increases.

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    IamToochIamTooch Registered User regular
    The only way to prevent idle testers at the beginning of the project is to have fewer testers and add more as the workload increases.

    ...And that brings us round to about 90% of the Trenches stories.

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    agilemaniaagilemania Lyon EstatesRegistered User regular
    IamTooch wrote: »
    The only way to prevent idle testers at the beginning of the project is to have fewer testers and add more as the workload increases.

    ...And that brings us round to about 90% of the Trenches stories.

    Yup. When a project finishes, the only hope the testers really have is that another project might be ramping up and need more testers.

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    Ori KleinOri Klein Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Cobell wrote: »
    marsilies wrote: »
    Regarding the story, does it seem to anyone else that the manager shot himself in the foot regarding the long hours at the end of the project. I mean, if the early Milestones were so easy to accomplish, shouldn't they have pushed up the schedule instead of slacking off and not working the full 40 a week? That way, when they did run into issues, they would've had the time to fix it instead of having to ramp up work to 80-100 hours in the last few weeks.

    I agree. It sounds like they really just slacked off/mismanaged the entire project (not just the beginning), and they were somehow surprised when this strategy failed to work. This reads more like a bad manager story not realizing he is a bad manager.

    I may be wrong, but it appears to me as though you two are confusing the QA division, for which the story author worked, with the DEV division that actually produces the product, its content, so on.

    Ori Klein on
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    ApolloinApolloin Registered User regular
    Kudos to that company for actually paying their hourly people based on the hours they worked, rather than inserting a mandatory overtime clause into the contract that says that there's a maximum number of hours you can claim for per week, but that you may be required to work over those hours depending upon the needs of that project.

    Nowhere that I've ever worked have the hourly paid employees EVER been envied by the salaried staff. Congratulations, you got paid a little bit extra during crunch time, but you don't get benefits, perks, paid vacation, holiday pay, bonuses, parties or freebies.

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    CobellCobell Registered User regular
    edited June 2012
    Ori Klein wrote: »
    Cobell wrote: »
    marsilies wrote: »
    Regarding the story, does it seem to anyone else that the manager shot himself in the foot regarding the long hours at the end of the project. I mean, if the early Milestones were so easy to accomplish, shouldn't they have pushed up the schedule instead of slacking off and not working the full 40 a week? That way, when they did run into issues, they would've had the time to fix it instead of having to ramp up work to 80-100 hours in the last few weeks.

    I agree. It sounds like they really just slacked off/mismanaged the entire project (not just the beginning), and they were somehow surprised when this strategy failed to work. This reads more like a bad manager story not realizing he is a bad manager.

    I may be wrong, but it appears to me as though you two are confusing the QA division, for which the story author worked, with the DEV division that actually produces the product, its content, so on.

    Yeah, when I read his comment about management, I took it to mean Production; he clearly meant QA management. My bad.

    Cobell on
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    Shakes999Shakes999 Registered User regular
    Apolloin wrote: »
    Nowhere that I've ever worked have the hourly paid employees EVER been envied by the salaried staff. Congratulations, you got paid a little bit extra during crunch time, but you don't get benefits, perks, paid vacation, holiday pay, bonuses, parties or freebies.

    Then youve never worked in construction. We get all the same things they do and they sure as hell don't offer bonus's or freebies. You get to do less manual labor but a fark ton extra hours. You don't know what your talking about.

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