A hard lesson

One of the longest abiding struggles I have had in university was the struggle with my colleagues. Not only have I frequently disagreed with them, but I have also actively resented some of my colleagues a lot for various reasons. Particularly in the team for the game I am working on. My colleagues either attend university infrequently or are frequently late, when they are supposed to show up regularly and in fact they are supposed be there between 9am and 5pm each week day, while I’m the only one who shows up at 9am (in fact I usually show up slightly earlier than 9am). And they have a habit of leaving other responsibilities related to the course until late into the project cycle, like necessary recording for development trailers. Coupled with the impression that most of them are into all sorts of bullshit from social media. Because of that I have come to detest half the people I work with.

And I think this may have actually influenced some bad things on the course. What frequently occurred was that I would set about the work we talked about and I was expected to do, but when I did it I felt perturbed by one of the colleagues. And I’m the kind of person that hates being perturbed. Basically he would look at my work as I was still working on it and tell me how it should be done and I wasn’t prepared to show him anything because it was still being worked on. But the biggest source of my contempt was by far the fact that he convinced us to essentially turn what was , and he used my poor marketing strategy (namely my choice of demographic) to justify it. It went from a supernatural-based beat ’em up involving a half-demon protagonist, to a fantasy-based version of that with some of my intended themes intact, to pretty much the same thing without the narrative that drove it and the design direction changed to suit a shortened experience that we would have to make. And because of that, while I was willing enough to work with them and typically kept to what I had to do, sure of what I was doing, and hated the idea of taking cues from someone who I see as having molded my project in his own image. But I would learn that this was actually the cause of a potential problem.

Yesterday I briefly attempted to design a logo for the game, or rather for the game show. I was convinced that I was finished with the task I did beforehand but was unsure of what to next so decided to wait for my colleagues to show up and make the logo while time flew by. One of them showed up and noticed what I was doing, and proceeded to complain that I was doing the logo without having the discussion for it. We then had a long talk about the problem of just going off and doing work on your own, which thinking about it now seems weird given they sometimes tell me that they stayed at home rather than go to university just to work on their own, but it was a pretty deep conservation all the same. We talked about the problems of the other group, who have a much worse problem with communication than we do, and how one of their group members doesn’t actually like the project that he’s doing but just gets on with it and does work on his own and the others aren’t happy because it’s out of sync with the art style (they’re doing a cartoon-style platformer, and he doesn’t like platformers and doesn’t usually draw in a cartoon style). It very much made me think I was having the same problem. At one point, the program director for the animation course interjected in our conversation in order to give us some advice. He felt that the discussion we were having was a step in the right direction, and pointed out that a problem with development projects in the games industry is when the team members are always against each other and don’t care about the project in the end, and so don’t communicate with the rest of the team and just get on with the work. According to him, the result is that not only does the game fail, but that failure becomes attached to you in that other companies know you made that terrible game and don’t want anything to do with you.

After that, I took on a new perspective of the team dynamics. I didn’t realize until know that they were actually interested in helping them, because I thought too little of them to think that they were actually interested in helping me. I was jaded and resentful because their antics eroded my morale, but as much as I often hate what I see as a lack of commitment, they aren’t complete shitheads. Now I see two sides to this whole thing. I still think my colleagues’ lacking in attendance is the sign of a lack of commitment and there is good reason to resent such behavior, and the program director for my course has expressed similar and more vociferous sentiment on the matter. But I may well have created a problem that, for at least the other group on my course, was worse: a lack of communication. And I’m not sure I’ve completely cultivated the balance between individualism and the spirit of collaboration.



Just this morning something surprising happened. I met with my group mates in class who were working on a project, they told me they didn’t really do anything the last week, and then, I told them off. I took charge when no one else would. During my time in university I have had to work in groups, and in one particular module (where we learn how to manage projects) I have often had to work with people who tend not to deliver. In the early days I had no idea what to do, so I relied on someone who I felt knew what he was doing to guide me. But eventually, he and others began to stop pulling their weight and doing their part to organize, and then I was the one who had to be a pain in the ass to them to get them to think about what we as a group are doing so that I can know what I’m doing and pull my weight. I HATE being the guy who has to push other people, I HATE being the person who might be percieved as a pushy, stuck-up guy, and I don’t like being too tight, but what I do in the group has to be done! Otherwise, the other members tend to be lazy, and then the project just falls apart and stagnates where it is. And at times they ignore me anyway and just do nothing. And I began to think not only that the person I relied on was no better than I, but, just now, I realized something else, something familiar to me: there’s nothing wrong with keeping the incompetent in line when you have to if you’re in the situation when you have to. It’s part of being confident.

I want to be wild, free-spirited, and relaxed, at least that’s my idea of the kind of life I want to live, not worrying a whole lot about structure. But there’s nothing wrong with having order too. In fact, there’s times when I feel somewhat enchanted with the order element of things. When you create a world for yourself, are you not creating an order of your own? It’s my tagline: in chaos I will create my own order. Surely that’s enough to remind me that its OK to introduce some kind of order into your life, and that I feel this way. And it should certainly be OK for me take charge in my life and let people know I’m not OK with the sloth and bad attitude of others when they are hampering both the efforts of the group and keeping me in the dark. There’s nothing wrong with taking control when you feel you have to, even if the slothful think less of you. It’s also OK to make your own order for yourself, if you desire it and it’s in your nature.