So… about a month ago, I interviewed for a Creative Director position at Sega. The job looked like a really good match for my skills – I’d basically be auditing third-party designs, and working with those third parties to ensure that their games were up to a really high standard of quality.
The interview went well, and a couple weeks later, I got an offer. The offer was quite a bit under what I’d asked for, salary-wise, and the position title was “Associate Creative Director.” I asked them whether it was a different position than the one I interviewed for, and they said no – it was a communication error, and the position was always one for an Associate. Also meant the bonus structure was different, and the total yearly salary was substantially lower, as a result. Still, the experience woul be good, and so I thought I’d take the offer.
Before accepting, though, I thought I’d tell Julian (the CEO at Factor 5). I figured I’d had things go reasonably well here, and the main problem was that I felt really underutilized. Also, in the last several months, there had been quite a number of changes for the better at the company, so I figured at least out of courtesy, I’d ask if they wanted to keep me around. Figured I’d probably just go for the Sega job regardless, ’cause I couldn’t think of anything that would keep me at F5.
Still, a few days later, they came back with a great offer. I’d be essentially managing the entire design department, but also working on all the projects at F5 simultaneously. There hadn’t been a previous position that did this. The entire design staff had been pushing for a “Design Manager,” that would do the managerial aspect of the role – ensuring the Design Team’s needs were being met, and there was someone to basically act to push back against the executive staff when they made really weird requests.
The salary was a substantial improvement over my current pay, and more, I’d be busy with interesting work, working with talented people who had a problem that I thought I could work to address. Still, the Sega opportunity would lead to more exposure – I’d be working with a number of really great companies, I’d get a lot of exposure to a variety of development methodologies, and work with some of the biggest names in the industry.
The F5 job, on the other hand, was more hands-on, working “in the trenches,” instead of directing from a distance. There’s definitely something appealing to me about that – keeps me working with “real” stuff, and continuing to learn from hands-on experience. It also lets me help people who have a specific problem – a lot of talented individuals who lack cohesion and involved direction.
In the end, I was talking with friends about it, talked to Ei-Nyung about it, spent a lot of time bouncing the ideas around in my head… and in the end, Alex Hutchinson gave the most salient piece of advice – you don’t care about the title or the money – find the best game, work on that.
One of the games that F5 has in the pipe is the concept that I busted ass on at the beginning of the year. I’m *extremely* proud of it, I think it’ll be an extraordinary game, and since it’s a concept that I basically pushed from the start, I really want to see it through to the end.
So, that was it. I stayed at F5 and took the promotion. Was announced today to the design team, and will be announced tomorrow to the rest of the company. The official position is, “Principal Designer.” Wacky. Ei-Nyung suggested (unfortunately too late), “Designer-at-Large,” which would have been awesome.