I always joke that the only thing that would make my job better is bringing my dog to work. I am referred to as "house mom" by the staff, and truly care for each and every person at the company. I appreciate how the management is mostly hands off, trusting my decision making abilities and that I will know when to turn to them or others for assistance and guidance. I enjoy working with management that understands that a little bit of fun, or treats, or special attention can go a long way towards employees retention. I have learned that I was in the unique position of trying to balance the desires of the staff with the needs of management and the confines of the budget. I found it challenging, but thrived with it.
My typical day would begin with the morning routine of making sure the kitchen was stocked, clean and tidy, coffee made, and all machines in working order. As I would be working in the kitchen as the staff came in to start their day, I would greet each person with an upbeat smile. Next I would deal with overnight emails, post the schedules for the conference rooms on the room doors, collect and distribute mail, and sign for various courier deliveries. If there were a certain lunch meetings that day that I knew required lunch, I would place that order. I keep a log of which executive prefers which lunch items, and have strong relationships with many local vendors including caterers, food trucks and various restaurants that normally don't deliver to our office in the western hills of Austin... but for ME they do! At Vigil during "crunch" time, I order dinner for between 50-100 guys 5 nights a week, and lunch on Saturdays. I am very proud that I did not have to repeat a meal for over 3 months!
My afternoons at Vigil vary, always with lots more check-ins at the kitchen. I make the rounds of the conference rooms, cleaning and organizing. I check the supply closets. I have meetings with management teams to determine their needs. I do expenses for 15 different team members. I also do the travel booking for the company, both US and international. At some point in the afternoon I tend to be visited by both the security guards and the maintenance personnel. They come back to discuss issues or just for a cup of coffee and a quick chat. Today I had to run out of the office to get pricing for the framing of our next game being released, as well as I was doing research on temporary tattoos and pouring over artwork for one. I love the variety and busyness of my work days!
The video game industry is very mercurial. A game is developed, people are hired to make it, then when the game is released, the staff is reduced until the critical period in the next game's path when the hiring is once again ramped up. Or in Vigil's case, we were working on two games, and corporate made a financial decision to not continue with one of the games, and half of our staff was laid off at one time, 110 people. I had striven to build a real feeling of community and family among the employees, and although we were a very large group (over 240 at our peak), we were very close knit. I had always felt that part of my job was to be emotionally vested in each person on staff, in order to really understand their needs so that I may better meet them, so this mass lay off was, by far, the most difficult and painful experience of my professional career.