Have you ever had your boss come into your office and give you one week mandatory vacation? Neither had I ... until this morning. Let's unpack that statement. My Boss, for whom I work, came into my office, where I work and told me to not work for a week. "The decision's been made, so we can discuss it, but it's gonna happen," says he. "I'm not gonna call you, and you are not to check your email for a week."
One week not at work. I don't know what to do for a week not at work. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized I haven't taken off more than two days together since starting here over two years ago. Then I promptly realize I'm tired. And then I think about what I've been doing for the last two years.
Launching a magazine is hard work. Launching a weekly magazine that averages 8,000 words per issue is bordering on insanity. It causes things like two years of vacation-less-ness. (Hey! I'm an Editor, I can make up words.) But the real issue here is, Do I regret it?
No. Why? Really, there are a lot of reasons.
I enjoy it. No, I don't play games all day; that is the myth among journalists covering games, just as it is among those that design games. But I do think about them most of the time in one way or another. And I hear about all kinds of new games from developers, or games I've missed in the past from our writers or editors. Then, there's the weird pleasure I get when an issue comes together really well and just feels good.
Also, and this may seem a stretch to some, I feel like I can understand what a developer goes through in making a game. I understand late nights and crunch time - it happens pretty much every Monday night 'round here. I understand on-demand creativity. I understand endless development cycles. Heck, we even use a form of Agile Development - something to do with clear crystals and burning charts? - here in the office to aid in project management.
Last, I think games are growing in significance to society everyday. Whether this importance is simply their rising ubiquity, or as issue 59 "Edu-Gaming" showed, their expanding usefulness, games are becoming the most important form of "entertainment" in the 21st century. As such, we try to cover games, and the stories and people behind them, in a way that befits this importance, and encourage others to do the same. I believe it's an important mission, worth the commitment it demands.
Thinking about my newly-required time off and my work over the past two years, I remember my mom's advice on labor: Do what you love and the compensation will come. This compensation is not always monetary, though. For some, it's an amazing game, critically and popularly acclaimed. For some, it's internal gratification at a project complete. For me, it's Cyril, Seth and Brandy approaching you after a panel to say "thank you" for inspiring them to work harder at writing or games design.