Leveling Up After a Job Loss: A Game Developer’s Guide to Bouncing Back

Jun 9, 2023 | Blog

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Turn ‘Game Over’ into an Extra Life: 8 Proven Strategies to Navigate Job Loss in the Video Game Industry

If you’re grappling with a “game over” screen in your gaming career after a job loss, I’m here to tell you—it’s not an end, but a new game mode waiting to be unlocked. I’ve been in your shoes, and I’m here to share my walkthrough. Here’s an upgraded guide on how to bounce back and seize new opportunities.

1. Keep Your Cool

Just as you would in a challenging video game boss fight, stay calm. Losing your job in the gaming industry, much like a sudden difficulty spike, can be disconcerting, but it doesn’t spell defeat. For instance, when I lost my job due to a company restructuring, I felt disoriented initially. However, once I reoriented my mindset to view this setback as a part of my journey rather than an end, I could strategize my next steps effectively.

2. Time-Out

Remember how you relished those precious moments of relaxation after an intense gaming session? Now is the time to extend that. For example, after I lost my job, I immersed myself in playing indie games, exploring genres I’d overlooked during my work phase. This not only refreshed me but also broadened my understanding of various game designs, indirectly enhancing my professional expertise.

3. Upgrade Your Inventory

Consider your resume as your game character’s stat sheet. Highlight your recent accomplishments, like how you would upgrade your character’s abilities after completing a quest. When I revamped my resume after my job loss, I highlighted my latest project which involved integrating cutting-edge VR technology, a skill that was highly valued in the gaming market.

4. Deploy Your Resume

Posting your resume online is akin to venturing into the open-world map of an RPG. With each posting, you are exploring new territories and opportunities. For instance, once I posted my updated resume on LinkedIn, I received a message from a recruiter from a startup working on exciting VR projects.

5. Share Your Quest

Treat your job search like an ongoing game narrative. Share your quest on social media platforms. I kept my network informed about my job search journey, my aspirations, and my progress. As a result, I got contacted by an old colleague who recommended an opening in their company.

6. Establish Your Daily Quest

Job searching is a full-time quest. Here’s how to ace it:

a. Define Your Work Hours: Maintain a semblance of your regular work routine. For example, I continued to follow my 9-5 schedule, dedicating these hours solely to job searching activities.

b. Set Aside Time For Communications: Just like how you wouldn’t pause mid-battle to read messages, don’t allow emails to distract you throughout the day. I reserved specific slots to send and respond to emails, which improved my productivity.

c. Follow-Up Timely: Like a well-timed combo in a fighting game, timing is crucial when following up on job applications. I made a habit of sending follow-up emails 2-3 days after applying, subtly reminding recruiters of my candidacy.

d. Distribute Your Resume: As in any loot-based game, the more chests you open, the higher the odds of finding valuable gear. Similarly, the more resumes you send out, the better your chances of landing a job.

e. Plan Breaks: Just like taking breaks between gaming sessions to avoid burnout, schedule breaks during your job search too. I often took short walks during my breaks, helping me clear my mind and come back refreshed.

7. Tweak and Refine

As you gain more insight into your career trajectory, adjust your job search strategies accordingly. When I found myself drawn towards studio leadership, I started tailoring my resume and applications to cater to that sector.

8. Self-Care Matters

Job searching can be a long grind, akin to a marathon gaming session. In such situations, self-care is crucial. For me, maintaining a healthy diet, regular workout regimen, and pursuing hobbies outside of gaming helped maintain my mental well-being during this challenging phase.

Final Thoughts

Job loss, like a seemingly insurmountable challenge in a video game, might appear daunting at first. However, every setback is an opportunity in disguise—a new level to master, a new skill to acquire. Remember, the “game over” screen isn’t the end; it’s an invitation to respawn and strive for a high score. You’ve got countless extra lives ahead. So, power up, level up, and keep playing!

Thank you for reading this article to the end. I hope it has been informative and helpful. If you’d like to learn more about the topics we covered, I invite you to check out my podcast and my YouTube channel where I delve into these subjects in more depth.

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