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EA Spouse Outed

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the hope-someone-still-has-their-job dept.

104

patio11 writes "EA Spouse, who sparked a revolution (or, at least, a wave of lawsuits and promises for improvement) in the game development industry with a blog post decrying labor practices at Electronics Arts, was outed as Erin Hoffman in a Mercury News article. She and then-fiance, now-husband Leander Hasty were plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits against EA and continue to develop games and be activists for better working conditions for game developers." From the article: "More than a year later, game developers have won settlements in three class-action lawsuits alleging EA created exhausting work schedules without paying overtime and successfully pressed employers to ease unrelenting workloads. And EA Spouse, whose true identity has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork."

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104 comments

Already Revealed (2, Informative)

Xyl3ne (802919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211609)

Re:Already Revealed (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212950)

Yeah, but that other headline was so dull. "EA settles overtime lawsuit". Big deal.

Company details are very interesting (4, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211612)

Whats interesting here is the guy used to work at taldren, who as I recall made Starfleet Command, and then went to work on Battle For Middle earth for EA.
SFC was seriously good, and BFME sucked big ones. So it seems clear even if it was not already obvious that working people to death WILL result in substandard dross games, even if they obviously have the talent.
Sadly BFME probably made mroe money, so the suits at EA who probably dont even like games dont give a damn.
Thank god I left that stupid industry to work as an indie.

Re:Company details are very interesting (4, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211662)

Well duh; if you're already working 7x13, would you still care about working the extra time to make it anything better than the worst quality you can get away with without getting fired?

Re:Company details are very interesting (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211735)

You might even question if EA cares about making anything other than 'dross' games. People seem happy to continually buy their products, regardless of the quality. If they don't have a compelling financial reason to change their ways, then they won't. You can't really count on consumers to make a difference because enough of them probably don't care or even notice the difference.

Re:Company details are very interesting (1)

martian265 (156352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214230)

Whats interesting here is the guy used to work at taldren

What's even more interesting is that the "guy" is actually a "girl".

Ingrained Behaviour (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15211680)

" And EA Spouse, whose true identity has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork.""

Yay! Of course the "culture of overwork" is ingrained in the American culture (work ethic), and is hard to overturn. So it will be awhile before we're like the Europeans.

right back at ya, fascisst pig! (3, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211778)

Work hard, millions on welfare [progress.org] are depending on you!

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (1)

wed128 (722152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211942)

Hey, not all those millions on welfare even want jobs. Many are deadbeats or drug addicts. Just because the welfare system in this country is a little broken is no reason to take it out on the rest of us who aren't afraid to work for a livin'.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212010)

That's sort of his back handed point. It's a play on words, the statement is implying that you have to work hard so the government can tax you more and redistribute those taxes to welfare recipients who may well be able bodied but prefer life on the government teat. My favorite version is, "The governement that robs Peter to pay Paul... can always depend on the support of Paul."

this is /. , we don't CTFL ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15212142)

go ahead, click it. It's not goatse. You won't get the joke if you don't.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15212358)

Follow the link, it's about corporate welfare, not black welfare queens in Cadillacs.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218867)

Give it up, it isn't like the parent poster is going to get the point. Neo con cheap labor right wingers like him are lazy trust fund babies living off their parents' hard earned wealth and they'll never know what it's like to work.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (2, Interesting)

blincoln (592401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213130)

I know someone on welfare who is brilliant and would love to have a job instead.

Unfortunately, she is legally unable to look for a job as long as she's on welfare. She can't go off of it to look for a job because some necessary medication she takes is hundreds or thousands of dollars a month, and even if she did get a full-time job that had medical insurance, a lot of places make you wait awhile before you're covered. It's a catch-22.

I'm sure it's always worth a laugh for some people to take cheap shots at welfare recipients, but the reality is not often the way you may think.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213634)

I think most people would rather have a job, humans are wired to appreciate accomplishments and pretty much need to have a useful task (the Nazis did experments in the death camps and within weeks of being given an obviously pointless job all the particpants had killed themsselves). I do tire of the rolling out of the relativly rare heartbreaking stories when by all accounts I've seen the majority are not nearly as provacative (case workers and auditors have a ton of cases that are sad because there is no effort on the part of the recipients to do much of anything).
It's not so much that I dislike helping others, but the execution of how we accomplish it doesn't work very well at all. Your friend really only needs the government's medical insurance not living expenses, unfortunatly they seem to be tied so she is stuck. That's what I get tired of, all these rules designed to fix the last implimentation of the rules creates entire classes of people who do nothing but game the new set of rules (not just welfare, government consulting/contracting, tax code). Those are all require effort but add little to the overall productivity of society. That's where my issue lies.
I'd rather see social saftey nets be a localized service rather than a federalized service. Even if less efficient the controls would be much better.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214817)

I call bullshit - since Clinton reformed the welfare this is not possible. She can only receive benefits for a certain period of time and is required to be looking for work and she is required to accept the first job she is offered.

Re:right back at ya, fascisst pig! (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217726)

I call bullshit - since Clinton reformed the welfare this is not possible. She can only receive benefits for a certain period of time and is required to be looking for work and she is required to accept the first job she is offered.

That sounds like unemployment to me, not welfare.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211929)

So it will be awhile before we're like the Europeans.

We don't want to be like the Europeans. Generally speaking, the US produces far more and creates much more wealth than most European countries. This is not only good for the economy as a whole, but it's also a good way to increase personal income [finfacts.com] and purchasing power. Europe knows this, and thus countries like France [cbsnews.com] are starting to repeal some of their Draconian employee protection laws.

The problem in the US is that some employers abuse the strong work ethic. They only see graphs that say More Work == More Profit without properly understanding how things like employee exhaustion and low morale impact their bottom line. They also fail to understand that far more work can be produced by improving working conditions and morale rather than demanding slave hours. Unfortunately, many employees are reticent to change jobs during times of economic uncertainty, and they're also cautious about bringing suits against their employer. Thus some (not all) employers get away with it for a time. However, it can't last, and employers end up shooting themselves in the foot long-term.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (2, Funny)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212078)

This is not only good for the economy as a whole, but it's also a good way to increase personal income and purchasing power.

Absolutely - when I was over in the USA the other week, I found my effective personal income and purchasing power was greatly increased by the sorry state of the Dollar compared with the Euro.

So please, carry on! I have my eye on a rather nice telephoto lens to complement the one I bought last week, and the reduction is price is brilliant! :-)

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212196)

I found my effective personal income and purchasing power was greatly increased by the sorry state of the Dollar compared with the Euro.

Putting aside the remark about the "sorry state" of the dollar (it's only a 1.2:1 ratio for the Euro, yeash), the lower value of the dollar is intended for exactly what you're using it for: Encouraging US production and foreign purchases. Thus your money is going into US pockets instead of European pockets. Which is good for the US at the moment, and very, very bad for the EU countries currently experiencing a recession.

The dollar gets adjusted above foreign currency when wealth creation gets out of hand. This shifts the equation more towards the US becoming a world consumer and the rest of the world becomes producers. In short, money fluctuatations are what keep countries economically strong, and not a very good indicator of general health.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (4, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212257)

Encouraging Chinese production and foreign purchases. Thus your money is going into Chinese pockets instead of European pockets. Which is good for the Chinese at the moment, and very, very bad for the EU countries currently experiencing a recession.
Fixed that for you.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212506)

Actually, it says 'MADE IN JAPAN' on the lens I did buy - but otherwise your point is accurate... ;-)

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15212976)

Speak for yourself man - I'd trade in a little less income for universal healthcare, a better education system, and a month+ of paid vacation a year. On every quality of life survey conducted European nations (western and Scandinavian ones anyways) always come out on top. Americans may make more on average in individual income but ultimately they end up with less, and with less satisfied lives (on average) - our healthcare is more expensive and a smaller percentage of our population gets it, our education system is very crappy in many places and many people don't have access to advanced education, for many middle and upper class Americans our total tax burden is at or even above that of many EU countries and yet our government continues to spend less on things that benefit us than EU countries do for their citizens while continuing to go further and further in to debt. The EU nations certainly do have a wide array of problems, some of them very serious - but they also seem to have a much easier time of finding solutions to their problems than we do - and they aren't saddled with our massive structural deficits or huge military budgets or vicious partisanship or 40 million people without health insurance (and so on for about 300 more lines).

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216792)

Take your own advice and speak for yourself. Your solutions require compulsory acceptance of conditions I don't want, so why do you presume you can impose them upon me?

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (2)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213743)

"We don't want to be like the Europeans"

Speak for yourself.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1)

esper (11644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214015)

No, I'd say the problem in the US is that so many people think that "creat[ing] wealth", "increas[ing] personal income and purchasing power", and whatever may be declared "good for the economy as a whole" this week are the keys to happiness or that they are inherently good for some other reason. And I suppose that belief may be justified from a purely materialistic, "whoever dies with the most toys wins", perspective.

But some of us disagree and would rather have our time than more money. Personally, I've gone off into consulting to increase my hourly income and I'm taking advantage of that increase to allow me to work fewer hours, not to send my personal income through the roof. All the money in the world is worthless without the time to enjoy it.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214490)

Indeed. We have a fundamentally different approach to our desires in Europe. Discussions about comparityive quality of life (or rather "You all suck" flamewars) usually fail to appreciate this fundamental difference. Most Europeans are simply unable to comprehend America's extremely capitalistic approach, and so feel the quality of life in Europe is better where there are better social safeguards and shorter working hours. Most (but probably not all) Americans on the other hand can't believe that Europe could have a better qaulity of life because high taxes reduce the purchasing power of its citizens.

Personally, one of my aspirations is a 4 day working week.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (2, Interesting)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214716)

Most Americans don't really believe in capitalism anyway. I'll give you an example. I'm tired of my current job, and I've saved up enough to buy a Lincoln Towncar [lincoln.com] . "Ok," I think, "I'll quit my job, and I'll charge people for rides to various places in my brand new Lincoln Towncar. I'll keep my current beater for personal driving."

Eeeerk! "I'm sorry, " says average American, "You can't do that. In fact, we've passed laws against it."

"But why," I ask, "I have a perfect driving record!"

"Well, " says the average American, "It isn't safe, you'll need a special license. You'll also have to pay super high taxes, to the point where it won't be economically feasable for you to do this as a business. Oh, and we can't have just any car being used to ferry people from here to there, you'll need a Taxi medallion. We limit those, and even if you could get one (and you can't) it'll cost you."

"How do I know you speak for all Americans? " says I.

"Well, after all, this is a democracy, we wouldn't have passed all those laws if we wanted any old person to be able to run their own cab company."

"I think you just passed all those laws to protect the income of the cab companies," says I.

"Well, prove it! If you can prove it, maybe you'll be able to change enough people's minds to get the law changed. I wouldn't count on it though, the established cab companies have quite a large lobbying budget."

"Yay, capitalism, " I say, weakly.

"Yes, yay capitalism, now get back to work," says the average American.

Real Life Example: Illegal Charters [harbourislandguide.com]

Question. (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214981)

"We don't want to be like the Europeans. Generally speaking, the US produces far more and creates much more wealth than most European countries."

Since when was my main goal in life declared to be wealth creation, instead of something a bit more hedonistic and less puritan?

I mean, if you want no vacation time a year, go ahead. I'd much rather have a couple months of paid vacation to work on my hobbies and ideas. Google seems to understand, with their hobby Friday model.

Re:Question. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215402)

The people who work for the likes of EA don't create wealth. The people who work extremely hard because they want to create wealth. So much wealth, that new businesses pop up every day, giving people jobs they enjoy. And if you invest right, you can find yourself in a situation of managing wealth instead of creating it. i.e. Your wealth can literally maintain your income through its mere existence. This is what most people strive toward. Granted, most don't know how to get there, but a rather large percentage of the population does. Once you're in a position to where your wealth provides your income, you don't actually need to work anymore. Some people do just because they want to, but there's certainly no requirement.

How do you think all those folks tour America in their million-dollar, custom-built RVs? It isn't by living from city to city, I'll tell you that.

I mean, if you want no vacation time a year, go ahead. I'd much rather have a couple months of paid vacation to work on my hobbies and ideas.

I think you're confused. A lack of money is usually the prohibiting factor for vacations, not a lack of time. Last year my family and I stayed in the Opryland hotel in Nashville. It was a wonderful experience with the Hotel itself being a huge attraction. (Imagine indoor forests, rivers, shops, restaurants, etc. all set to wonderful music.) We also saw many of the areas attractions, including taking the kids to a childrens science museum and a zoo where they learned all kinds of stuff. (My son still asks where we're going to go back.) While we managed to keep the cost of the vacation within our budget, it still took money. If you want to go to Disney World with your family, it takes money. If you want to travel internationally, it takes money. Without it, the best you can do is head to the beach. Perhaps setup camp in a National Park. (Assuming you have enough for a tent, gear, food, car, etc.)

Money isn't evil. (Remember that Paul said, "The love of money is the root of all evil.") It's useful for all kinds of things, including the promotion of happiness. Working long hours at a job you love to create a better life for yourself and your family isn't evil, either. What is evil is pursuing money at the expense of other people. If your family is suffering, if your happiness is suffering, or if you're making other people suffer, then that money has only materialistic value. But to earn an honest dollar doing honest work so you can live a more rich and full life, what is wrong with that?

Re:Question. (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216635)

What a perfect summary of an ultra-capitalistic mindset.

Some people's idea of rest and relaxation is vastly different from yours and does not include spending a dime or very little.

Just one example: frying my ass on a public beach on a summer day. If I could do that for 2 months instead of the 2 weeks I do right now, I'd be MUCH happier. It'd probably have other benefits like making my geeky, pale face somewhat more attractive.

Unfortunately, since I only get 2 weeks of vacation I kinda HAVE to do the "big vacation", which leaves me with no time to do "little vacations", incl. completely wasting my time doing nothing on a public beach (or Central Park, as the case may be).

Working long hours does nothing for me other than keep me at work from sunrise to sundown. Since I'm salaried professional and therefore exempt from getting overpay, I get NOTHING out of working 12 hour days. Absolutely nothing other than irrate phonecalls from my wife at 6:30pm. There is absolutely no benefit to *ME*. Yet I'm still expected to "do my part". My employer might benefit from my overwork, but I do not.

Arbeit macht nicht frei.

Yes, this is one of the drawbacks of North America (1)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217169)

There's as fairly informative essay on work patterns I read recently.

"On the other hand, the "market" for free time hardly even exists in America. With few exceptions, employers (the sellers) don't offer the chance to trade off income gains for a shorter work day or the occasional sabbatical. They just pass on income, in the form of annual pay raises or bonuses, or, if granting increased vacation or personal days, usually do so unilaterally. Employees rarely have the chance to exercise an actual choice about how they will spend their productivity dividend. The closest substitute for a "market in leisure" is the travel and other leisure industries that advertise products to occupy, our free time. But this indirect effect has been weak, as consumers crowd increasingly expensive leisure spending into smaller periods of time."

It's taken from a book by a Harvard sociology professor [amazon.com] , Juliet B. Schor.

I think it summarizes the weird dichotomy I see here. Some yanks just can't get enough of that 9 to 5, like it's their way of buying a stairway to heaven or something. I'd rather enjoy my time off, but if I were to live in the US, I'd have no real way of enforcing this since employers discourage less pay for more time off.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212159)

The UK is basically the same. Work at any ad/web/print agency and you're subjected to endless long hours too. That's why I do contract... so I can at least *charge* for the stupid hours :-)

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15212340)

When I worked at EA, it wasn't simply "endless long hours". It was 12-16 hour days, every day including weekends, for 4-5 months straight. And I mean literally no weekends off during that time. I've worked places with crazy overtime required, but EA really takes the cake.

Re:Ingrained Behaviour (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216233)

"Yay! Of course the "culture of overwork" is ingrained in the American culture (work ethic), and is hard to overturn. "

Heh. I love it when stereo-types collide. We're lazy over-working Americans.

Is this the root of EA's problems? (5, Insightful)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211692)

Sleep deprived cranky game developers can't possibly be very creative, can they?

Also unrealistic deadlines have a negitave effect on creativity.
EA is a victim of it's size... they have a huge pressure to be sucessfull so huge in fact that they lose sight of what really makes games (and all art) great.

Great inventive games do not always sell a lot of copies and that is the real crime here... EA wouldn't make crap if people didn't buy crap and then complain about it (but not return it because the big chains have made quality of product not a reason for a refund... but that is a diffrent rant.)

Demand quality and don't settle for buggy incomplete games and this "problem" of overworked developers might just solve itself... or at least save gameing from a slow painfull death.

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (1)

Xaositecte (897197) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212014)

Not to speak in favor of overworking game developers, but I have to disagree on one point; Ridiculous deadlines have always Dramatically increased my creativity in figuring out how to meet them...

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (2, Informative)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212164)

I thought about that while I was typing my message here is what I think... I think there are two types of creativity here the ability to do great things with small resources, or the ablity to freely create. When being icreative in the first way I think most people think "how can I accomplish my goals with what I have" and "what goals can I change to meet my situation". With more free creativity you end up with less compromising over goals but also less progress over time. What really is needed is a good balance of the two, without a deadline nothing would get done but deadlines that come too soon often make products rushed, compromised in other ways or both.

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212208)

More likely it is stupid management, who at the same time don't treat their employees well, and make stupid decisions about what to design and spend time on.

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212290)

You know I don't think I would be so quick to call EA's managment stupid they are after all one of the biggest recreational software publishing houses on the planet right now and that does not happen through shear dumb luck.

What they are doing is second guessing themselves and relying on focus groups to do there thinking and that is a huge mistake, "market testing" seems to be yealding fewer and fewer hits lately and I don't think the answer to that is more market testing.

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212603)

EA is not the same company it was when it started. EA got big back when it had different management and it was treating it's programmers like rockstars. I can tell you who Dan Bunten and Paul Reiche III are. Heck, their pictures were on the box covers. I can't tell you who the current anonymous drones grimly pushing out mostly mediocre titles on their permanent deathmarches are.

After it got big, it stayed big for a while, and then at some point things changed. That would be in the 90's when Madden started. One of the things EA would do is buy good game studios and kill them. They also have a few exclusive licenses that sell games regardless of quality (they are the only ones who can make NFL football for example). Oh, they are 100% garbage currently, I won't make the mistake of saying they are but they produce a huge number of bad games.

Anyway, since I can't share the various magazine articles, books and other media I've read on the rise of EA, I'll reccomend the Wikipedia article: Electronic Arts [wikipedia.org] .

Modern EA games mostly suck. I hardly buy any even when I want them based on previews. GoldenEye: Rogue Agent should have been a slam dunk!

This isn't the GoldenEye you so fondly remember; as you play through Rogue Agent, you get the impression that nobody on the development team actually cared about this project. If EA's next James Bond title is a third person title like Everything or Nothing, they may be able to get the series back on track, but with GoldenEye: Rogue Agent, all they've done is tarnish a once respectable brand. -- GoldenEye: Rogue Agent [gamepower.com.au]
Another, I supect, will be the new "Tiberium" game that's coming out. I'll bet dollars to donuts that it will be an unfun, buggy mess. Looking forward to EA games is akin to watching science fiction or fantasy genre series on the Fox network, an exercise in masochism.

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212320)

Sleep deprived cranky game developers can't possibly be very creative, can they?

Nah, artists always work best when they're coddled, fat, and happy. Oh, wait ...

Just kidding, although I do think that sometimes a deadline is the kick in the pants that's sometimes needed for people to produce their best work, there's no excuse to just abuse your people continually. You can only maintain that kind of increased tempo for a certain amount of time, before it just becomes fatiguing and output quality is going to drop.

I've actually worked on a few big projects where I remember the "big push" at the end with some fondness. Okay, at the time I probably would have called you stupid for saying that, but in retrospect I knew that it brought the team of people I was working with together and caused us to make a better product than we probably would have done, if we had spread the same number of hours of work out across a traditional work schedule. (Disclaimer, I'm not in gaming, but I can't imagine it's that much different.) However I can only imagine doing that regularly ... that's not going to do anyone any good.

Back on topic here -- does anyone know where I can get the backstory on ea_spouse? I didn't follow this too closely when it was going on so I'm wondering if I can fill myself in.

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15214035)

Here's the story I was forwarded:
http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/2006/04/exclusive _nicol.html [mercurynews.com]

There's a link to the original LJ post as well from there.

It's interesting that I've been working with ea_spouse for a while now at 1stPP and I didn't even know it :P

Re:Is this the root of EA's problems? (1)

mad.frog (525085) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214081)

re: "big push" with fondness, yeah, me too... but not during my time at EA.

there, the "big push" started 6 months ahead of projected ship date.

if you figure on 6 months of "big push" as part of the scheduling, you're either incompetent or corrupt. or both.

Right on! (4, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211765)

...has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork....

I, for one, am tired of this culture of overwork in America. Occassionally I have to close my browser and answer a phone call. This is intruding into my social life entirely too much.

Re:Right on! (1)

Dr. Photo (640363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215688)

Multitask, baby!

Shouldnt surprise anyone (3, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211797)

It shouldnt be a surprise that if you want people to work longer than a 40-hour week but you don't pay them for overtime, that you will get an inferior result. What exactly is the employee's motivation other than termination? That's like a prison mentality, 'either break these rocks or we beat the crap out of you. Once you're done breaking the rocks, we'll beat the crap out of you.' Not much to look forward to except a delay of additional punishment in terms of more longer hours in the future.

Eventually people will favor creativity, and people like me will 'herd the cats' and make some sweet games. Until then, have fun with John Madden 20XX!

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211908)

What exactly is the employee's motivation other than termination?

Making cool games. Fitting in with the team. The threat of termination is not really a factor. There's possibly a perception that this is the case but it's typically never threatened, and rarely even hinted at.

The problem is, when you're told the rest of the team is working late, so you should too, it puts you into an awkward position. Generally you quite like these guys. You don't want them to suffer. In addition, you do want to see your game come out. Seeing a game you've worked on on the shelves is really a very rewarding experience.

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15212264)

There's only so many all-nighters you can pull before your productivity drops off. It's best to remain rested and work smarter than to continually push yourself into exhaustion. You might think you are getting a lot done when you are not.

I used to work at a place where many engineers would do this. My buddy and I would leave early for a few pints or wander around looking for a nice restaurant to have lunch. We went home at 5pm. We worked after hours a lot, but we never worked more than we wanted to. I guarantee the other engineers weren't as productive as my friend and me. In fact, the more they worked, the further behind they got. We almost always hit our goals early or on time while they put in 36 hour weekends to finish their projects.

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212896)

Oh, I completely agree. The problem is there's very much a culture of overwork, and managers lack the imagination to work out other ways out of slippage other than working overtime. Which doesn't work anyway.

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215525)

Usually, it's the product managers who set unrealistic dates without considering what else is in the pipeline. When I was a lead tester at Atari, they cut two months off the schedule for DBZ: Buu's Fury (GBA) but didn't tell me until months after the decision was made. Needless to say, my schedule was screwed. The game got out the door two weeks late but still made the ship date. Minus the wireless option that no one could get to work. That was my last project when I left nearly two years ago. I worked 28 days straight to get that title out. That's what my boss wanted and HR looked the other way as six-day work week policy was violated.

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

NiteHaqr (29663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212109)

Wheres my "Mod Optomistic" ????

From parent

"Until then, have fun with John Madden 20XX"

Shouldn't that read

"Until then, have fun with John Madden 2XXX" at the very least? :)

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213785)

Madden XXX? Say it ain't so!

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

NiteHaqr (29663) | more than 8 years ago | (#15219425)

Worse than that

Madden XXXX

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (3, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213042)

When I was working at Atari, the QA supervisors would tell the testers that if they didn't like their work conditions, they can go work for Taco Bell down the street. They stopped saying that when it became obvious that Taco Bell does have better working conditions at a slightly higher pay rate that some of the entry-level testers were making. They started losing senior people when Sony was paying $20/hr instead of $16/hr. Go figure.

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

unsigned integer (721338) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213055)

Given EA's ability to drive a franchise into the ground, squeeze blood from a rock, etc, I think you really meant "John Madden 2XXX".

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213101)

A triple X-rated version of John Madden is way too scary to comprehend.

Re:Shouldnt surprise anyone (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213236)

It shouldnt be a surprise that if you want people to work longer than a 40-hour week but you don't pay them for overtime

Personally I think that if you don't control how many hours a week you put in, then you are automatically an hourly employee. That would solve all these abuse problems. Only after you stop 'offshoring' though.

Another EA? (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211859)

Another [slashdot.org] frickin' EA story? ... Time to move on!

entitlement (2, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211917)

is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork."

As opposed to the culture of entitlement in most european countries?

Re:entitlement (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212023)

Yeah... nether is perfect but one produces tangeble results for a company at much less cost... I wonde why the corperations favor it?

Re:entitlement (0)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212417)

I see this a lot. Just exactly what is wrong with acknowledging that there are some things people are entitled to? Like reasonable work hours?

Re:entitlement (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212882)

The only thing anyone is entitled to in this world is an ass-kicking from Ricky Kang. Everything else is a privilege.

-Eric

Re:entitlement (1, Interesting)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212953)

Explain why you are "entitled" to reasonable work hours? You aren't even "entitled" to a job. There is nothing, at least in the U.S. Constitution, that says you are entitled to a job. A job is a contract. You are free to negotiate the terms of that contract. You are also free to find another job if you no longer like the terms of that contract. Furthermore, define reasonable. Is it reasonable to work a 14 hour day because a server has crashed and must be up again by tomorrow or the company loses millions? To the company it is. Maybe not to you.

Now, having said that, does it behoove a company to pay overtime or to not work employees to death with 80 hour work weeks? Sure. The cost of training a new employee because you burned out the previous one is high. There's also the ramp-up time that a project can be delayed. People also get sloppy when the get run-down. How many bugs are missed because people have been working for 14 hours a day?

It's all about enlightened self-interest. If I were running the show, I would expect my employees to, barring issues out of thier control, take one for the team during crunch time. I would expect all of my team members to do that. And when crunch time is over, they all get a nice break and a bonus (based on performance during the crunch time). This is just good for morale.

I'd be curious to see what you think people ARE entitled to in life. At least in my mind, the only unalienable rights are these:

Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

Notice that it doesn't say Life, Liberty and Happiness. It says the pursuit of Happiness.

Now let's say you take the approach that lack of "reasonable" work hours impedes those unalienable rights. How so? Will you lose your life if you don't work those hours? No. Are you being held hostage and forced to work those hours unable to quit? No.

But let's take pursuit of Happiness. Now obviously working 14 hour days makes it difficult to have a hobby. Or get married. Or hang out with friends. My pursuit of happinness is being impeded!

It makes it difficult to do all of those things but it doesn't prevent it. As with the other two, nothing is FORCING you to stay with that company. Sure, you may feel trapped by a poor job market or lifestyle/family choices that will put you in a bind if you leave the current salary or position but as with the other two you aren't being FORCED.

It's all about personal freedom. And about taking responsibility for choices. And taking responsibility for lack of action.

If someone wants to bring attention to EA's working conditions, more power to them. If EA's working conditions cause a shitty product, it's thier own fault. Let the market decide. Let people have the individual freedom to decide how to handle it.

Just my $1.35.

Re:entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15213139)

This is not anarcho-capitalism, the market does not get to decide whether or not EA can coerce its employees into working unreasonable hours without additional pay - we have laws against that sort of thing.

It is people like you who have made unions necessary because your cult of the invisible hand blinds you to the immorality of mistreating other people. Your dogma says the market will decide all but the market is inhuman - if the market had its way we would all work 14 hour days without time off, including children. There would be no genuine safety regulations, there would be no weekends or paid sick leave, there would be no healthcare or retirement, there would be nothing but misery. Without restraint your invisible hand removes the things which civilize our society.

Re:entitlement (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213323)

This is not anarcho-capitalism, the market does not get to decide whether or not EA can coerce its employees into working unreasonable hours without additional pay - we have laws against that sort of thing.

It is people like you who have made unions necessary because your cult of the invisible hand blinds you to the immorality of mistreating other people. Your dogma says the market will decide all but the market is inhuman - if the market had its way we would all work 14 hour days without time off, including children. There would be no genuine safety regulations, there would be no weekends or paid sick leave, there would be no healthcare or retirement, there would be nothing but misery. Without restraint your invisible hand removes the things which civilize our society.


Oh, and then lets not forget... once you have a majority of the people in this situation, they WILL overthrow those in power in an attempt to make something better for themselves. While that might not be a bad thing, you may end up being lead by Washington and Franklin type people, or you may be lead by Stalin type people.

Re:entitlement (0)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213297)

Yay! Lets get rid of all labor laws. I can't wait until we have the working conditions that existed in the early 1900s. Whats with this enjoyment thing anyway? You're supposed to work nonstop until you die, there is no other purpose in life! Only the factory owners should be able to enjoy anything nice in this life.

Re:entitlement (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214259)

I'm all for getting rid of minimum wage. You still didn't address my original points. Who says you're supposed to work non-stop until you die? You aren't being FORCED to do it. You have freedom and choice (for now anyway).

Re:entitlement (1)

syberanarchy (683968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15218638)

Uh, it's not a choice when you need food and shelter and other shit to live, fucknut. Must be nice to be a trust fund baby.

Re:entitlement (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214198)

You aren't even "entitled" to a job. There is nothing, at least in the U.S. Constitution, that says you are entitled to a job.

I didn't say you were entitled to a job. I said that being employed by a company doesn't give them the right to exploit you, one form of which could be making you work unreasonable hours.

A job is a contract. You are free to negotiate the terms of that contract.

There are certain rights you can't sign away.

Furthermore, define reasonable.

I don't have to. It's a representative government. We've defined a 40-hour week as reasonable. Does that mean you shouldn't be allowed to work more than that if you want to volunteer for it? Not at all. It means that your job shouldn't depend on you working for longer than that. I'm not claiming this is what the laws say, but it's my view of fairness.

Is it reasonable to work a 14 hour day because a server has crashed and must be up again by tomorrow or the company loses millions? To the company it is. Maybe not to you.

It's reasonable to volunteer to do that. It's expected that a company should reward you, through overtime pay (even if you are a salaried employee) for saving them millions, thus providing the incentive for you to volunteer. If the server is crashing on your watch too often, it's reasonable for the company to get someone better for the job and fire you. If it's not possible for a single man to do your job in a 40-hour week, it's reasonable that a company would hire someone else to help you.

If I were running the show, I would expect my employees to, barring issues out of thier control, take one for the team during crunch time. I would expect all of my team members to do that. And when crunch time is over, they all get a nice break and a bonus (based on performance during the crunch time). This is just good for morale.

Sounds good. The only problem I have with that is that you expect it to be your employees' responsiblity to stay during crunch time, unless they have an excuse not to. I say you're allowed to expect to get their 40 hours a week from them. If you want them to volunteer for more, I'm sure that promised bonus and break will convince quite a few people to do it. That is much better for morale than having that guy who doesn't really value the bonus as much as he does time with his family, but is working overtime anyway because he fears getting fired.

Now let's say you take the approach that lack of "reasonable" work hours impedes those unalienable rights. How so? Will you lose your life if you don't work those hours? No. Are you being held hostage and forced to work those hours unable to quit? No.

You forget something. You need money to pay for shelter, to buy food. You need money to live. That means quitting a job because you don't like your contract isn't always an option, and thus you don't really have the liberty to quit. Now, you already expected this argument from me, because you said:

...nothing is FORCING you to stay with that company. Sure, you may feel trapped by a poor job market or lifestyle/family choices that will put you in a bind if you leave the current salary or position but as with the other two you aren't being FORCED.

All I can say to that is if your choice is to leave the company or be without money (important for survival as mentioned above), then that's not a choice, that's coersion. You wouldn't approve of someone threatening to hurt you unless you did something for them because that's encroaching on your right to liberty. However, you seem to approve of someone threatening to fire you and take away your source of income if you don't work more than the agreed upon by society number of reasonable work hours.

An employment contract is different from most other contracts because it's a contract you must enter. If you don't choose to enter one with one company, you'll have to enter one with another. If there are no regulations protecting your rights, that shifts the market forces against you, and every company will end up with unreasonable contracts, thus removing your choices.

Re:entitlement (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215603)

I didn't say you were entitled to a job. I said that being employed by a company doesn't give them the right to exploit you, one form of which could be making you work unreasonable hours.

Is being on-call considered unreasonable? I'm a salaried employee but I'm on call and don't get additional compensation for it. Some people would consider it unreasonable to be woken up at 4AM with an emergency.

There are certain rights you can't sign away.

No argument there. Those are the ones that are inalienable. I find it interesting from an internal conflict though that I couldn't seem to MAKE myself an indentured servant even if I wanted to do so.

don't have to. It's a representative government. We've defined a 40-hour week as reasonable. Does that mean you shouldn't be allowed to work more than that if you want to volunteer for it? Not at all. It means that your job shouldn't depend on you working for longer than that. I'm not claiming this is what the laws say, but it's my view of fairness.

Good point but let's be clear that my company depends on me being available for on-call rotation and if I shirk that responsibility (through excuses or simply not responding) they are free to fire me. I'm not doing them any good if I'm doing my job.

It's expected that a company should reward you, through overtime pay (even if you are a salaried employee)

While it may be expected, it's not law yet (for salaried employees that is). I personally DON'T expect it because to me that's like banking on bonuses which is something I don't do. I get paid a fair wage to do a job and I do it.

If the server is crashing on your watch too often, it's reasonable for the company to get someone better for the job and fire you.

Not that servers crash on my watch (or anyone else's for that matter) but I would hope they would fire someone for this. Sound suspicious to me.

Interesting question is what if Bob doesn't answer his page while on-call and the server doesn't get up by start of business (exclude the thought that the company should have some f-ing redundancy if it's that mission critical)? Obviously Bob was expected to work overtime in the form of being on call. Could the company fire him? Where does that scenario fall into the general discussion?

However, you seem to approve of someone threatening to fire you and take away your source of income if you don't work more than the agreed upon by society number of reasonable work hours.

An employment contract is different from most other contracts because it's a contract you must enter.


But my opinion still stands that there are other employer's out there. Eventually (with some turbulance in between of course) if enough people leave, the company will go out of business or learn a lesson. Meanwhile Bob is working for a company with a less critical IT infrastructure.

I think the real problem comes in because of the line of work I and many other slashdot readers are in. IT is a different beast than many other fields.

I have this discussion alot with my wife. The concept of something like a server having to be fixed that night or it puts the company at fiscal risk is foreign to her. The problem is that we have over 1000 employees that depend on the systems being fully available for them to do business the next day. That's alot of jobs and alot of OTHER families to be dependant on you doing your job.

I wonder how it works in the medical industry? Are the labor laws applicable for doctor's in the same way as IT (i.e. white collar stuff)? Interestingly enough, that's one area where I WOULD want federal intervention because the risk of a tired doctor fucking up can cost me my life (at least at first blush thinking about the idea.)

Re:entitlement (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214651)

Ah - it's the old Laissez faire copitalist employer argument.

However, in the civilised world, we expect people to behave with decency and civility rather than using the difference in negotiating positions to force the employee to accept some fairly draconian positions. Since such civilised behaviour is unfortunately wishful thinking, we enact laws to prevent employees from being exploited in this way.

Re:entitlement (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215408)

Ah - it's the old Laissez faire...


I make no pretenses about my politics =)

I honestly believe that the federal government should stick to its constitutionally defined role. The problem is, and I'll be the first to admit this, everyone has a different interpretation of what is defined as "the common good".

Interestingly enough, I would think many "slashdotters" would agree with the whole idea. I mean we bitch and moan when someone lumps all gamers together or all linux people together or all people together.

Basically you're punishing all businesses for the behaviours of a few. The reasons people define though ( decency, civility, humanity, morality ) are the things I don't want my federal government to have a say in. If I wanted to live in a modern liberal mecca, I'll move to California. If I want to live in a backwater convservative stronghold, I'll move to Alabama but when my FEDERAL government starts telling me what's decent and moral, it's much more difficult if not impossible to expatriate myself and move to Britain or Canada or Australia.

I still hold to my original point though. Noone forced you (not you specifically) at gun point to take a certain job. The threat of termination isn't even coercion in my mind. Unless you've done the surepitous job search, you don't know that you won't be able to find another job. I would be more likely to blame the employee than the employer for taking crap from a job. If your mental and social well being are so important, at some point you have to fish or cut bait. I'm not saying it would be easy and god knows I'd hate to change careers right now but if I *HAD* to (i.e. overtime is costing me my marriage or stress is literally killing me) then I would. I've talked about it with my wife over the past few months.

I want everyone to understand that I'm NOT defending EA's behaviour. I think they put out shit titles and I hated it when they sucked up Origin but my response was to the original post that people are entitled to reasonable work hours based on some sort of inherent right.

Re:entitlement (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212892)

Yeah, except that Europeans tend to be more productive per hour than Americans. Our only saving grace keeping us ahead in the per-year game is the number of hours we put in, but it's been suggested that the lengthy hours are actually hurting our per-hour productivity.

Re:entitlement (3, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213327)

Yeah, except that Europeans tend to be more productive per hour than Americans.

Really? According to the CIA World Fact Book, the US has a GDP of $12,410,000,000,000, compared to Europe's $12,180,000,000,000 (all figures in US dollars). Contrast that with Europe's population of 456,953,258 against the US's 298,444,215. That gives the us a per capital product of $41,582.31 against Europe's $26,654.81. So far it looks like the US is more productive.

Let's look closer. The European Union has a labor force of 218,500,000, compared to the US's 149,300,000. Leaving out the unemployment rates for each group (9.4% vs. 5.1%), we're left with 197,961,000 workers in Europe compared to 141,685,700 in the US. We'll leave that for a moment.

According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workweek [wikipedia.org] , which sites a spreadsheet from OECD, workers in the US work an average of 1777 hours per year. Taking the average of the EU member states (the spreadsheet only lists individual countries), we get 1576.33 hours per year.

So, the US has a total of 251,775,488,900 work-hours per year, giving an average of $49.29 gross product per work hour. Europe has 312,051,863,130 work-hours per year, giving an average of $39.03 per work hour.

I'm sorry, who's more productive did you say?

Re:entitlement (2, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214967)

"Euroland's underlying economic performance is better than many commentators portray. Over the past decade, GDP per head has risen virtually at the same rate in euroland as the United States; euroland productivity growth (output per hour) and the rise in the employment rates were slightly faster than in the United States; and to maintain the same growth in GDP per head, U.S. workers have had to work much longer hours than their euroland counterparts." -- Kevin Daly, Goldman Sachs, January 2004

Re:entitlement (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215443)

Unfortunately, I don't have the time to look into the growth rates of the respective countries. But with the US having a 26% lead on productivity, it'll be some time before Europe is able to compete in any meaningful way. I'd also be interested in how many new businesses (net) each locale creates each year. My gut says the US creates more, but I have no idea how many more.

Re:entitlement (2, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215556)

The Conference Board, a respected US business pressure group, estimated this downward adjustment shaves 1.5% off the consumer price index every year and therefore reduces its inflation rate by that amount. But the inflation rate is deducted from the nominal gross domestic product numbers to give the real increase in GDP. If the inflation rate is understated by 1.5% compared with how other countries measure the same data, it follows that America's growth rate is claimed to be 1.5% higher than it is in reality. So its lead over the eurozone in the past four years, 10% growth against 4%, is almost entirely a statistical fiction.

This, if you accept it, provides the clue to the great conundrum of the so-called American recovery since 2000. Despite a huge expansion of its public sector, where 1.1 million jobs were created, employment is still only at the levels of 2000.

In previous post-war recoveries where there has been such a purported growth surge, there have been millions of new jobs. But in this case, America's job creation record is one of the worst in the developed world and worse - no doubt to most readers' astonishment - than that of the eurozone. --- How America fakes its figures, Evening Standard (London), Feb 3, 2005 [findarticles.com]

Yes, everything is fine, full steam ahead, what icebergs?

Re:entitlement (2, Interesting)

ggwood (70369) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215564)

I've heard other (European? Japanese?) workers are more productive per hour then America's so often that it's sort of become an ingrained assumption for me. However, I find your numbers persuasive. I think the difference is that your numbers are for the whole economy and specific studies are done in, say, the auto industry or something.

If both you and the studies I've heard are correct, it would seem Americans choose to work in more productive fields, on average.

I'm not an economist - but the people I've heard from are. I'm suggesting a way both you and what I've heard could both be correct.

Next time I run into any of my macroeconomist friends, I'll run your argument by them.

Re:entitlement (1)

zyte (896988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216848)

Producing an ounce of gold is better then producing a ton of shit.

Re:entitlement (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15217353)

Wow, I just realised that the people around me must be the most prductive in the world! They are all sitting around doing nothing, but the company is making money, so they are worth an infinite amount of money (Profit / hours *working* = infinity).

I feel so privilaged.

Re:entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15219576)

According to what? The CIA World Fact Book and your manipulation of their numbers? Hahahahahahahah. Like that's an unbiased factual resource? Please credit us with the sense not to believe everything your govenment says (the very same people that have been denying global warming), however I'll use their figures for my analysis since it's your source. (source http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ranko rder/2004rank.html [cia.gov] which is about the most recent I can find)

Lets look at this a little differently taking into account some of the things you've skipped ( I don't blame you - perhaps you've been force fed too much propoganda and haven't quite managed to engage in independant thought, they are after all pretty good at it ).

Firstly the EU is expanding and helping new members grow and flourish - Europe invests a huge amount inwardly in developing newer member states. The US doesn't have this burden to bear so your figures straight away are skewed.

Next lets think about this in terms of *efficiency* of production not just quantity:

US uses far more resources than Europe per capita - about twice as much as Europe.
(http://atlas.aaas.org/index.php?part=2 it's hard to find figures for this). They have about half the population but by net are a bigger resource user than Europe and so must be using at least twice the resource.

So for resource in and time given the Americans are less productive than the US. You give 10 Americans twice the resources of 20 Europeans and more time and the Europeans still out perform the US. And the EU doesn't have a huge trade deficit and spriraling national debt to add into the equation.

Again this is before we consider the environmental cost of your productivity that you've not factored in (of course there is no environmental effect if we believe your goventment, handy).

Who's more productive, and who has a unsustainable lifestyle and goes around the world using it's milatary to control other's resources (wars of aggression over resoureces - oil recently) in order to try to support their unsustainable (and thus clearly net unproductive) culture?

How long does the truth have to stare you in the face before realise the dreamlike fantasy you're living is actually causing everyone's worst nightmare.

Wake up, please - it might just not be too late.

I call Bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15215006)

Wow that is quite a load of BS you just pumped out there. Europeans are more productive per hour?

Then why do they all come here? Why do they all buy American products over their own?

Why are their products not as good?

You're just full of it today, aren't you?

Re:I call Bullshit! (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215095)

"Then why do they all come here?"

Vacation. They have the time and the money to cross oceans on their vacations, while most of us can't afford to cross an ocean to vacation in the 50th State.

"Why do they all buy American products over their own?"

We have "products?" You seem to be confusing the US with China.

"Why are their products not as good?"

They have "products?"

Only in America (0, Troll)

marshallh (947020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212117)

"alleging EA created exhausting work schedules"
Go to Japan, look at their insane schedules and crunch times, and tell me this isn't better.

Most people haven't seen the half of what Japanese game programmers endure. Yet they don't complain.

Re:Only in America (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212193)

Japan, USA, and Canada are notorious for having some of the longest workweeks and shortest vacations in the world. (Coincidentally?) These are also the homes of the most and largest video game studios. Just because one particular industry has its own trends, doesn't mean it's right. Overtime deserves extra pay, and hard work deserves vacation.

Re:Only in America (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#15219822)

Last time I checked, there were dozens of games companies in Britain, and a smattering in France and even a fair few in Sweden. There's no evidence that poor working conditions lead to better games.

Re:Only in America (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212583)

By many standards, Japan has a very dysfunctional society. It isn't an example to be emulated.

Re:Only in America (1)

nasch (598556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212761)

Most people haven't seen the half of what Japanese game programmers endure. Yet they don't complain.
They don't complain, so it must be OK?

Re:Only in America (1)

bensch128 (563853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213394)

Have you seen the programs they produced?
Nor have I...

nuff said,
Ben

PS. FF7 was pretty good though..

No compaints, just the highest suicide rate (1)

searchr (564109) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213926)

Yah those Japanese, they stick it out, so why shouldn't we? They live in boxes barely the size of my closet, so why shouldn't we? They off themselves via stress-related suicide faster than any other culture, starting in grade school, so why shouldn't we? They have the second highest per-capita smoking population outside of China, so why shouldn't we? They show hardcore pornography (live and anime) on daytime tv, so why shouldn't we?

ok that last one I'd probably be fine with.

If you want to emulate another culture's work ethic, why not pick someplace in Europe? Four day work weeks, two MONTH vacations each year, and STILL hardcore porn on tv.

You want to work yourself to death for whatever shallow sucess you perceive is important to you, knock yourself out. Darwin awards workaholics as easily as guys playing catch with power tools.

misnomer? (1)

EddieBurkett (614927) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212154)

She and then-fiance, now-husband

So doesn't that mean that, at the time, EA Spouse was in fact not a spouse?

I'm not so sure (2, Insightful)

Malakusen (961638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212752)

And EA Spouse, whose true identity has been cloaked until now, is becoming a voice against America's culture of overwork." Does America really have a culture of overwork, compared to other countries? Sure, we may work harder then Brazil or France or something, but India, China, Japan, Korea, alot of places like that are kicking our ass because we tend towards laziness.

Re:I'm not so sure (1)

Mille Mots (865955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15213589)

...India, China, Japan, Korea, alot of places like that are kicking our ass because we tend towards laziness.

I don't believe Japan has kicked our ass (in the automotive and electronics industries) due to our laziness. They kick our ass because they embrace and extend...they didn't invent the automobile, but they sure as heck figured out how to make a higher quality, more reliable version for about the same price or only slightly more than the USian model.

China isn't kicking our ass because we're lazy. They're kicking our ass because they have billions more people who have a significantly lower standard of living and nothing better to do than work in sweatshops turning out low priced goods that Americans snap up as slightly higher priced goods from Wal-Mart. For Pete's sake, my in-laws gave my youngest son some candy during the recent pagan holiday celebration weekend and I looked at the back and it said, 'Made in China.' I guess based on your statement, I should conclude that American's are just too damn lazy to make jelly beans.

India isn't kicking our ass in the customer service, IT, banking and now healthcare industries because American's are lazy. Again, the workers there have a much lower standard of living and so the cost to send certain jobs overseas provides a significant boost to the bottom line on corporate balance sheets (which translates to a significant boost in executive remuneration based on 'performance').

Now, in the case of the auto industry, I suppose you could point to the Rust Belt 'union mentality' as it's portrayed in the media and claim that there is a certain amount of laziness manifesting there. But, I don't think that's the sole reason that the USian auto industry is on it's back with three out of four legs in the air (you have to admit, Diamler run Chrysler isn't faring nearly as poorly as the other two). In fact, I suspect it's a rather minor factor.

On the other hand, if you want to assert that the higher standard of living in the US, which leads to higher costs of production and service here compared to India, China, Pakistan, et al. is the result of worker 'laziness,' I would have to respectfully disagree.

YMMV.

--
Sig nificant

Re:I'm not so sure (1)

Malakusen (961638) | more than 8 years ago | (#15214097)

I'm thinking more in terms of how more and more jobs are leaving the country because the worker base in other countries is smarter and the companies have to spend less on education. Ref this artivle: http://www.cbc.ca/cp/business/050630/b0630102.html [www.cbc.ca]

It talks about how Toyota turned down offers from several American states and instead built a plant in Ontario because "Ontario workers are well-trained."

From the article, "The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States," said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant.

You have to be motivated and non-lazy to get educated, thus my point.

Overwork? (1)

Illbay (700081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15215438)

...a voice against America's culture of overwork.

In other words, a voice working hard to make sure we're as much like Europe--with half the productivity and none of the job growth of the U.S.A.

You don't wanna work lots of hours, then go get a job where you don't have to work lots of hours.

Sheesh.

Americans work long hours (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 8 years ago | (#15216588)

It is their way of life. Are they right? Well it all depends on what you use as measurement and how you measure it.

Some very silly people use money as a measurement forgetting totally that money does not have the same value. 1 dollar in say New York has a totally different value then 1 dollar in say Greece. Hell everyone knows this is even true in far small areas like say New York vs Hicksville.

So any comparison between the money produced by either economy is silly. Even more if you realise that even in europe working hour practices are different. The brits for instance lean far more to american working hours.

So who is right?

Funny thing but one of those wise lessons from american sitcoms/dramas is that nobody on their death bed ever regretted not having spend more time in the office.

If you do not live to work then surely the only sensible number of hours to work is the amount you need to be able to afford to live right?

So how much do you need to live? This can get very funny. It starts simple. Cheap supermarkets are open from 8 to 8 in Holland. (Can't say for the rest of the world so don't attack me for that). There are a few that stay open later but they typically charge more and only carry the brand names (wich are more expensive) and don't have sales. The cheapest places to get food however is the market wich opens officially at 8 but is usually closing as early as 16:00.

So now you get the following effect. If your unemployed you got the least amount of money BUT have the time to shop at the cheapest place, the market. If you got a 40 hour 8-5 job the market is out so you need to shop at the regular but slightly more expensive supermarket. More money but your also spending more on food. Now if you work longer hours and can't make the regular opening hours you need the special stores at train stations. More money offcourse in salary but your food expenses shoot up. Work even more and you won't even have time to cook and eating in restaurants or takeaway really becomes fucking expensive.

Kids follow a similar pattern. The more you work, the more you make but also the more you spend on childcare. I had one co-worker who flatly refused to work on a friday (4 day contract) unless the company paid him double since that was his day to take care of the kid and if he worked on friday his entire salery would go to childcare meaning he effectlivly worked for nothing AND missed out on spending time with his child.

Same with other stuff. You can eat better cheaper and healthier if you can shop for fresh food every day. Don't have the time? Pay more AND pay for a huge fridge and the electricity.

The above is not just crap made up by some slashdot idiot. The effect that being going from unemployed to employed while leading to an increase in salary actually ends up with the person having less money is a big problem for countries with a decent social security system.

Some of you may even have experienced the effect of a promotion and payment increase actually ending up with you having less "free" money because all of sudden you need to buy rounds not of beer but whiskey or wear real suits or chip in for golf clubs instead of mousemat birthday gifts.

Whenever I see someone defend a 80 hour workweek because they are more productive I don't even bother with trying to reason that such a person will be too tired at work to do a decent job. I just wonder how that person finds enough free time to actually have some fun. Congrats that you earn twice as much as me. I will be sure to envy you while I am sitting with my feet up in the sun after a short day at work.

Re:Americans work long hours (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15217065)

Nice post. I feel the same way about free time: as long as you're happy, and you aren't wrecking other people's lives for it, you can't have enough of it.

Hmm.. Whats the traditional solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15216610)

Why havent they made a union? that should fix the problem pretty quickly.

annoying (1)

kosh_mdh (669644) | more than 8 years ago | (#15219502)

Does anyone else find it annoying that the majority of the posts on slashdot assume you know what the post is about before you read it?
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