A week ago Friday (meaning, two Fridays ago, if I said that right) , I was laid off from my day job. Hold the ‘I’m sorry’s until the end, though. It’s actually rather a good thing.
It’s no secret I’ve also been work on and for Phoenix Online Studios, as both a designer and the PR Director. Though we’re working on our first commercial game right now, this work is so far unpaid. And in my case, until the lay off, it was also only part-time. No easy thing, and it made for long days, but it’s doing what I love and working towards making it my career. The news that I was going to be attending the Game Developers Conference (GDC) with some other team members in March came in just a week or so before I was laid off. My pass was purchased, my plane ticket was bought, and my time off request was submitted.
Then I was laid off, and it could not have come at a better time.
Usually that would sound a little crazy, but here’s the thing: I’ve always done my best to be practical. I’ve been safe, I’ve made thought-out decisions, I’ve tried to put myself in a good position for my present and future. But at the same time, I’m not a person who can put aside my passion for practicality. I was an English major in college, with a last minute added-on Philosophy minor. I’ve worked temp jobs and low-paying fulltime jobs, which while they were enough to pay my rent, go out a bit, and enjoy life, have not left me rolling in spare cash for the future. Savings have been hard to build up and hold onto. I’m not a frivolous spender, but nor am I a penny-pincher. I can’t buy into the idea of not enjoying life now in order to save for someday. I know it’s a good practical move, I know there’s nothing wrong and plenty right with saving for the future, but I know I’d be miserable if I weren’t enjoying myself now. In my heart, I’ve always been a dreamer and I’ve always wanted to follow those. I’ve done my best to balance the impracticality of crazy dreams with the practicality of a secure lifestyle based in facts, numbers, and realism — I even blogged about it!
Maybe it was always going to come to a point where the center could not hold. My plan has long been to transition into working for Phoenix fulltime at some point, but maybe that point was never going to be fluid and risk-free. And you know? It shouldn’t be, either. This is, finally, for me, now or never. This is as safe as this risk can get — now I can focus my efforts on making sure this game is as good as it can be, and sells as well as it possibly can. Thanks to having a wonderful group of people supporting and surrounding me, I’m able to do this, and to them I am immensely and eternally grateful for that. But even without that, I’ve reached the point where I would take that leap right now regardless. I have to.
When I was in high school, I always told myself “I’ll be damned if I don’t follow my dreams.” So here I am. It’s now or never.