The year that was 2011 now lies bleeding and lifeless in an alleyway, and 2012 has stepped in to take its 366 days (356 if you believe in that Doomsday poppycock) in the spotlight. As I sit here typing this, I can’t help but be in a little bit of awe over how much my life has changed.
January 1st, 2011: Starving Artist
I was terribly depressed. It seemed that nothing was going my way. My personal life was in shambles and, professionally, I had hit a brick wall. I was working 18-20 hour days writing soulless How To guides for various content farms for next to no pay. The work was so soul crushing that I had a hard time putting words down anymore. I would stare at my screen, sometimes for hours on end, trying to will myself to do the work. The people around me would tell me that I was burnt out, but the truth of the matter was that I simply didn’t enjoy it anymore. I was too tired, too stressed and too down on myself to care about my work at that point.
My professional issues bled into my personal life. The career struggles worked to drive away the woman I was (and still am) head-over-heels for, and my inability to pay my share of the rent on a regular basis drove a wedge between my roommate (who is one of my closest friends) and I. There were other matters, much of them involving my family, but I won’t get into those here.
At this point, I was rethinking my decisions. Maybe they were right, I thought. Maybe I’m just not cut out for writing. I should just give it up and try to find something more realistic and stable. So when the clock hit midnight on January 1st, 2011, I made the New Years Resolution to give up writing. I gave up writing everywhere but a single blog (had to pay my bills) and spent the next two months looking for work. I must have sent out over a hundred resumes, not getting beyond a single phone interview. But then, on March 2nd, the strangest thing happened…
March 2nd, 2011: Just When I Thought I Was Out…
I had applied for a Community position at BioWare in late January. I had gotten to a phone interview before the position was ultimately axed and by March I had forgotten that I even sent them my resume. So when they called me back, it’s safe to say that I was a little surprised. When I applied for the Community position, they noticed that I had a lot of writing experience on my resume. A position for ‘Web Content Writer’ had just opened and they were wondering if I would be interested in applying.
My TL;DR answer? Duh.
I threw my hat in the ring, fully expecting that I would be rejected after the writing test… but I wasn’t rejected. In fact, I was asked to do a Skype interview with Stephen Reid and Rob Chestney. I don’t remember the interview itself, but I distinctly remember that after Stephen had left the conference room Rob and I talked for a solid half-hour about BioWare and Star Wars. Not about aspects of what my job would be, but just… how we were fans and how much ass Baldur’s Gate 2 kicked. I had gone into that interview thinking that I would just ride this out to its inevitable disappointing conclusion.
I walked away from the interview wanting that job more than anything I’ve ever desired.
I had two more interviews over the next week or so. The first of them was with my eventual co-workers in Creative Services… and I tanked it. I make no excuses; I just didn’t have my head in the game. I was pretty righteously pissed at myself afterwards. The second interview was with Allison and Alyson. The interview itself is a blur to me — I blame the NyQuil haze I was in. I do remember the very last question, though:
Why do you think we should hire you?
I don’t know what came over me, but I had a moment of… well, my friends call it a “James Moment.” Basically it’s a moment of sheer, unadulterated and uncensored arrogance where I say exactly what I’m thinking. It’s rather cathartic for me. I remember what I said verbatim:
Because I’m the best person for the job. You may have other applicants with more impressive resumes and more experience on paper, but I promise you that they do not hold my work ethic or my commitment to excellence in doing the work.
After that interview I was told that I’d hear back after PAX East.
March 25th, 2011: Game Changer
“Congratulations and welcome to BioWare! You start on April 18th.”
March 25th, 2011: (One Hour Later)
… holy shit.
January 1st, 2012: Night and Day
I’m sitting in my apartment, watching Rifftrax Live while thinking of how quickly things can change. My life isn’t perfect, by any stretch. My family is still a constant source of stress and my heart still aches for the “audience of one” (in case you’re reading this, you know who you are). But I am in a much better place than I was a year ago. I now work at a company I admire, doing a job I love with people that I respect.
I enjoy writing again and am even including on side projects. My novel is outlined, and I have a number of short story ideas that most of you will never read. But one of you might.
Life is strange. It has a way of throwing you a curveball at the most random times. 2011 was a hell of a year. I fully intend to make 2012 better.