I´m packing up all my gear at work as we speak. Due to economical and whatever "re- structuring" reasons, the budget at work was cut so much that they laid off over half of the people. Me included.
Well, not actually laid off. I´m temporarily suspended like the other 37 people. Which means that -according to law, which is really hard to believe to be true, yet is is - we´re not getting fired, thus NOT getting our "layoff- salary"for now. (You know, that 1+ month money you will get when you´re laid off from work, at least in Finland). Instead, we´re kept as "suspended" for 200 days max, until the law will consider us officially laid off and we´ll get the money we are supposed to get. Needless to say, if you resign yourself within those 200 days, you won´t get anything. And you can guess how much money this company will save by that.
Now, who´s gonna just lay down at home for 200 days instead of getting a new job? Not many, which the company knows. For example, I´ve been told straight to my face that there will be no audio done at Helsinki anymore. "Just resign" they told. "Much easier for you and besides, you´ll get your holiday payments right away". It´s so much cheaper for them to keep me and the rest "suspended", waiting us to resign ourselves instead of paying us the union- decided fees instead.
It´s hard to believe this kind of shit is possible in Finland. Maybe in America or such, but here? I can´t believe how far we´ve drifted from the Nordic Welfare State we used to be. This country is starting to remind me of a mixture between Soviet Russia and United States. Whoever has the most money decides the rules. And we rest will fucking jump if we´re told to.
So, "resign yourself", they told me.
And lose my FOUR months of salary? Yes, fuck you too. Inhouse audio positions are so rare in Finland that there´s a fat chance I´ll be just doing freelance stuff for that time, manage somehow to pay the mortgage and collect my four months salary and holiday- payments when I´m considered fired in early December. And laugh my ass off. Besides, while being a pain in the ass on the company employee list I won´t be "unemployed" in paper (looks better, haha) and I can use the company private healthcare for free as long as I´m "working" here.
Then again, I knew this HAD to end at some point. Having a free parking space at Helsinki center during daytime, possibility to decide my own working times, doing my own projects all the time at the office, playing World of Warcraft at work and getting paid for it....I had the best job ever, and I had it for almost ten years. I had the possibility to learn every day something new, met tons of cool people and loved to come here almost every day. I´m not bitter at all at my boss who had to make this decision- I´m only bitter because of how the company handled this. And that was not his decision.
I have negotiated quite a good deal for getting the gear I didn´t pay
myself (roughly 85% of the gear I used was paid by myself during the
years), which means that I can basically continue working with my own
freelance stuff with the exactly same equipment right away at home. Even
though this timing was the worst ever, as I´ve just bought a house I´m
moving in this week. (!!), there´s a silver lining: we had one extra
room there, which I can now use as my work- room. Meanwhile, I try to
get all the possible freelance- composing jobs I can get while trying to
get a new job as an inhouse audio guy from somewhere. The problem is
that there are pretty much three positions available in Helsinki area
and they´re all filled up with my friends. :D So I have to convince
people that a) they need me with them or b) Your Growing Game Company would definitely have use for an in- house audio guy.
Now it´s time to move on and try my wings as a freelance game and TV composer for now. Am I disappointed? Not sure. Excited? A bit. Scared? YES. But mostly because I have just signed a sadistical mortgage and I have two kids to feed. And my wife is still on her maternal holiday. But I´m sure I´ll get something. With this experience and enthusiasm I have, it would be quite a small chance that I end up as a truck driver. Which, I have no problem to do meanwhile if I have to.
I´m built to survive. It´s all about perseverance and never stopping believing into your dreams. It doesn´t matter if you´re someone called Joe or someone who plays in a metal band called Finntroll. We all have the same dreams, same fears and same hopes at the end of the day.
I have all the skills, all the equipment and all the enthusiasm. And a driver´s licence if the Finnish post office will need a car driver to their ranks. :D But most of all- I have my family who has faith in me. Now let´s roll those sleeves up and show the world who the fuck is Trollhorn.
Ex- Lead Audio Designer for Digital Chocolate games LTD.
PS: And yes, you are extremely welcome to spread the word if you know someone who need audio design for their games. The semi- ready (work in progress) portal can be found from http://www.worldoftrollhorn.com/ which tells a bit more what I can do.
Yes, it was an advertisement. Sue me. :D
EDIT: Back in 2009 I glued sound dampening material to the walls. You know, that black foamy stuff used in studios, etc. Apparently I had thought it was funny idea (despite being over 30 years old) to draw a huge cock to the wall with that glue under one dampening piece. When I removed those dampenings half an hour ago, I realized that all the white glue had stuck on the wall permanently, but now having a black, foamy outer layer now from the dampening pieces.
So, now there´s accidentally a huge black cock in my office wall. What a fail.