The Firm

The Firm
Code Union, Code Better

Joe Blancato | 11 Oct 2005 12:04
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"It was only because he was so numb and beaten himself that Jurgis did not worry more about this. But he never thought of it, except when he was dragged to it - he lived like a dumb beast of burden, knowing only the moment in which he was."

- Upton Sinclair, The Jungle

"The love of my life comes home late at night complaining of a headache that will not go away and a chronically upset stomach, and my happy supportive smile is running out."

- "ea_spouse," EA: The Human Story

Powerful words from two very insightful people. Ninety-nine years ago, Upton Sinclair wrote about ill-treated immigrant meatpacking industry workers unable to stand up for themselves. Heinous injuries went unreported; workers were expected to tally long, grueling hours of work. Management viewed them as replaceable cogs in a machine with an endless supply of workers - there were always more poor eastern Europeans who couldn't speak English to grind sausage.

One year ago, an anonymous writer known only as "ea_spouse" wrote about ill-treated game designers unable to stand up for themselves. They were expected to tally long, grueling hours of work; illness and injuries caused by fatigue went ignored and unreported. Management viewed them as replaceable cogs in a machine with an endless supply of workers - there were always more young college graduates unaware of the term "unconscionable contract" to code the next version of Madden. And once they are burned out from months, even years, of overtime, their jobs may be outsourced to even more willing people in India.

If we continue at the rate we're going, we're either going to be worrying about a bunch of college-aged kids with computer science degrees working at McDonald's, too disillusioned to continue in their chosen field or worse, the position they previously held was moved overseas to a more bottom line-friendly locale. For the sake of trying to save money on production costs, why not ship off art production to Romania? Or customer service to India? But to paraphrase the old clich

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