Pay vs. Happiness
You know, I work for a game company in the US, and despite all the bad press out there, if you find the right company it can be quite good. Where I work they put in a lot of effort to try and manage the product so that people don't have to work a lot of hours, by choosing to scale back ideas that may be a bit too work intensive to get done in a reasonable amount of time. They also make a conscious and strong effort to send people home who have been working a lot of hours, and if you are pulling the long hours, they try hard to recognize that. The best part, and this is what makes it work out, is they never ever tell you how many hours to work. They ask you to agree to a set amount of work, and then you manage your own time. There's always overtime and what not, but I had that when I was working a dead end tech job for a big corp, and at least here I believe in the product and am satisfied in my work. I take on more than I should at times and end up working quite a few hours, but that's always my own choice, and I've even been told to cut back on the things I agree to if they feel I'm overdoing it. In short, it's a job like any other, but I'm much happier. Sure, there are game companies that may over use and abuse their employees, but that's a nation wide problem, not a games industry problem. We're just the curent whipping boy for the problem because it's easy to single us out. You think lawyers and doctors and plumbers and phone company employees aren't asked or even expected to work on the weekends??