Monday, October 7, 2013

The 7 Stages of a Game Developer’s Wife

Worried mom and her child
(Source: brokenchopstick)
My friend and fellow game developer's wife Sara recently found out that her husband Ben is out of work... again. She wrote a heartbreaking soliloquy about what she goes through every time her spouse loses another game industry job. Here's her unvarnished account (reposted with her permission):

The phone rings in the middle of the day, and it’s your husband. You instantly know what he is calling to tell you…yet another company shutting down. Time to go into what is now a standard routine. By this time, after the 6th job loss in 6 years, you have it down. "The 7 Stages of a Game Dev’s Wife."

1) Shock & Denial (Automatic Panic Mode included)
You know what he is going to tell you but you still can’t believe it or at least that it is happening at this moment, just when you think you are caught up from the last one. You make jokes like, "Hey kids! You’ll finally get to see your daddy for more than 5 mins in the morning!" Then you blindly get to work. You instill a "no spending" rule unless it is for bills or beans and rice. Update his resume, file for unemployment, and research every company in town to see who is hiring. If you keep busy, it didn’t really happen, right?!?!

2) The Freakout
40 hours later (running off of 4 hours of sleep), you have done everything you can. Now it hits… why hasn’t anyone responded to those jobs apps that were sent 12 hours ago? Wait, was that a typo on the resume? How is this going to work? What are we going to do? That ugly cry can sometimes come out during this stage.

3) Anger & Bargaining
Why again? What is wrong with this industry? Doesn’t whoever is in charge realize people have families? Honey, here are another 15 places you can apply. I know you are missing some of the qualifications, but it’s worth a shot, right? Something is better than nothing.

4) Hermit Stage
This is the stage where it really sinks in. Intermittent ugly cries… you don’t want to leave the house because what if someone calls for your husband? If no one answers, they might not call back. You distance yourself from friends partially because you are on money lock and partially because you just don’t want to see anyone. You wait and wait and jump if the phone rings or your husband’s email dings. Darn you, prince of Nigeria.

5) Glimmer of Hope
Finally, an interview! You sit by the phone anxiously waiting to hear how the interview went. 6 hours later…It went well but now you have to wait 3 more weeks before you know anything… Return to stage 2 or 3 and work your way back down the list. Rinse and repeat…

6) Reconstruction
Hooray! Finally a new job! Time to celebrate. Overwhelming joy. You go out to eat and enjoy food that someone else has cooked for the first time in months.

7) Cautiously Optimistic
Your husband starts his new job. You are excited, he is excited... but you know around the end of this project, you’ll be back in the same boat. So you automatically start trying to recover your savings account so maybe next time it’ll be a little easier…

Epilogue from the Editor: Currently Ben is looking for a position outside of the game industry. Please pray for Sara, her husband, and their two young kids - that God would give them peace, direction, and provision during this rough time.

4 comments:

gamedesignmom~ said...

I have so been there. Really, we stay in stage 1 permanently, because even if he is not laid off, the only way he can get a decent raise is to change jobs. He is trying to start up an indie studio. Until then, we live in this stressful land called 'limbo.'

Anne G. White said...

*hug* I know what you mean. We're still in financial limbo, even with K taking a step into film. Best of luck with your husband's indie studio. Let me know if he gets anything off the ground!

Magpie's Trick said...

Found your blog via coincidence (I am acquainted with Brandy of Pigsey Art) and we have been through this same scenario more times than I care to recall. My stomach became fluttery when I read this, because it it always a too-real possibility even when things seem to be going smoothly.

Anne G. White said...

@Magpie's Trick - I know what you mean! It makes me want to live in constant "Scrooge mode" even in the good times. :/