A colleague and me went to lunch the other day and spoke about the attitude people have towards their jobs, but also about the attitude employers have against their employees.
When I grew up it was much more common with workers who were very loyal to the company they worked for. 40 years in the same company wasn’t entirely uncommon. I’m not sure the loyalty went both ways, but regardless, I feel there was also a tradition to value people higher than companies, in particular tech companies, do today.
I doubt that I really care about people. It’s one of those “am I neurodivergent?” things I’ve been asking myself lately. But I do care about justice and about being treated fairly, and I absolutely hate bullying.
I hate it because it has been a part of my entire life. To be entirely honest, most of the time I have been a victim of it. But I have also been a part of excluding one person (on a conscious level. I’m sure people have other not very flattering accounts of me). We ended up in mediation. Because I am who I am, I admitted that the group I was part of hadn’t treated this person in the best way, and the result was a chewing out of epic proportions from one of the people who had also been on the excluding side. A hissed “who do you think you are?! Do you think you’re better than us?” was what set it off. I said no, I think, and shit went sideways. My point is that admitting you’ve been a shitty human being to someone is often more difficult than to continue being shitty, no matter how awful you feel.
We have a problem with bullying in the Swedish games industry. I would say it is probably present in other places as well, but we keep quiet about it because we’ve signed papers that force us to shut our mouths, or because we’re afraid. If one place brands you difficult, word of mouth spreads quickly, and it can be impossible to return to a job in the industry.
The problem is of course that most of the people who get treated the worst are the people most needed. Those of us who question, who want to improve our situation, who are wondering why we hold on to damaging aspects of gaming culture. Honestly, those of us who want to make better games.
I keep harping on about the fact that the industry has a cultural problem and I’ll keep saying it until I see some change. Pushing out those among us wh have the most to bring to the table, will only cause the industry to stagnate further. We need to get better at holding on to those people. Appreciate them. And make sure they survive in these – quite frankly – sometimes hostile places.
I don’t think I really care about people – the jury is still out – but I care about justice and fairness. We should start making sure that’s our industry.“