I remember stepping out of the Halifax Airport with my luggage. I remember it being a foggy night in a city I didn’t know. I remember the extreme discomfort that came with knowing I wasn’t coming back to this airport in a few days or a week to depart. I was in this unknown city, shrouded in fog, to stay. I remember wondering if I’d made a mistake.
My first day at Longtail Studios was one year ago today. When I stop and think about it I still can’t believe it’s been that long. And then when I think about it again, I can’t believe it hasn’t been longer!
I remember that first day walking to the lobby and calling from the outside phone to get someone to let me in. John, the Producer, set me up and my desk and told me what my first tasks would be, setting up a bug database and rolling it out to the team. I was so intimidated.
I remember my first few months in Halifax I was crazy homesick for Winnipeg, which was weird since I hadn’t lived in Winnipeg in 2 years. I remember there was a hotel ad in the elevator that listed all its locations, and one of them was Winnipeg, and just seeing the written word would always give me a pang of longing.
I remember waiting for my car and belongings to ship from Edmonton, staying in the corporate hotel in the meantime with a few coworkers I didn’t know yet. I felt so overwhelmed I just hid out in my room the first few days watching tv on my iPad.
I remember first seeing the apartment I’d foolishly lined up without doing much research and quickly realizing it’d been unwise.
I remember my first real crunch during the final stretch of our last project. I’d done crunch at BioWare, but nothing like this. I didn’t need to go so intense on the hours, but I wanted to prove myself. Not just to others but to myself.
Thankfully as the year went on things got better, and as I gained momentum a lot of good started to show itself. I moved in to a nicer place, I caught up on my bills and suddenly got to enjoy the salary I was now making, I started making friends at work, etc.
I can’t believe it’s been a year. One year ago I was excited to be starting at Longtail Studios as QA Lead, finally having a fulltime salary position. And in only 1 year I’ve begun to make the transition to the Design department. I haven’t actually done any QA work in months, it’s been passed off to someone else. Getting an official promotion to Design would be a pretty big accomplishment for me, especially considering just over a year ago my goal was just to get a fulltime position, period. And I can’t announce anything until it’s officially official, but let’s just say a pretty big blog entry will be coming very soon…
It’s been a big year, with some major ups and downs. But I’m proud of myself. Back in Edmonton, as Longtail began to look like a reality, I was overcome with fears and doubts. I had those doubts echoed to me in the doubts of others, but I had to believe in myself and follow through. This ended up being the biggest challenge of my life. I moved to Edmonton on a whim, and stumbled into working at BioWare. I was never given much responsibility there, despite fighting for it pretty hard by the end. Moving to Halifax, on the other hand, was deliberate; there was no room for stumbling. And after the initial intimidation that came with the responsibility, I flourished.
Longtail has constantly challenged me. Every time I begin to get comfortable with where I am, I’m given more opportunity and encouragement to progress. I’m constantly taking on new responsibilities, and learning new things. I’m growing accustomed to the pace. Change used to scare me, but that held me back. Longtail has been pure opportunity for me, and I’ve learned to seize it.
It took some dedication and time to see it, but I realize now moving here for this job was the best investment I’ve ever made. It was an investment in myself. And it’s paying off. I’ve come so far in just a year, both professionally and personally. I love my job, and I’m incredibly thankful to Longtail for all the opportunities it’s lavished me with. I’m extremely excited for my future with the studio, and the continued growth it offers me.
I can now say with absolute certainty, just over a year ago, when I stepped out of that airport into the fog, it was not a mistake. It may have been hard to see through the mist, but there was a promising future ahead of me, and it’s still only beginning.