💎 Don’t miss these design lessons from the game industry brought to you by a game designer at Riot Games! Watch the video to the end to learn how to improve the work you do as a game designer.
📼 Press play to get 3 design lessons for a game industry career from Candace Thomas, Principal Game Designer at Riot Games, who will share with you the insights that she has learned throughout her successful 15-year career.
📼 Design Lessons From The Game Industry - Tip #1: Check In With Yourself. How are you feeling? Are you having some anxiety? Are you stressed about a deadline? Are you afraid that someone's going to reject your idea? Do you not even know where to start in the first place? If so, that's okay. Take a deep breath and don't shame yourself for it. It's natural. Instead, work to reduce your anxiety. Do things like ping your ideas off of your coworkers to gain confidence. Talk to your manager or your stakeholder about what's expected of you, the timeline, and all of your concerns. This will help you build some confidence, or it may even allow you to push back the date in a way that makes you feel more confident in what you're doing.
📼 Design Lessons From The Game Industry - Tip #2: Make Lists. Candace's advice is to start by making a list of all the things that excite you about the project that you’re working on, to get yourself hyped and enthused about it. Having these things handy and taking stock of what you appreciate about what you’re working on will help you power through any roadblocks or slumps in your creative process. The next one is a list of the goals that you're trying to achieve by the end of your project. Think about what message you're trying to send, and the audience that you're trying to send it to. The last list that Candace advises to do is one of your support group. First, add the people that you know you’ll have to collaborate with to finish your project. Candace also likes to include the people that she knows can inspire or encourage her along the way. Having a support group is going to be helpful when you get roadblocked. And if you spend some cycles thinking about how these people like to communicate and how they collaborate most effectively, it might remove that small barrier that you have to reach out for help when you need it.
Design Lessons From The Game Industry - Tip #3: Fill In The Details
This is the stage where you’ll fill out the content of your project or your game design. It sounds simple, but this is the actual hard part, right? At least, now you're primed for success! For one, you've made a list of all the people that you need to collaborate with, and a list of people that you know you can bounce ideas off of if you get roadblocked. Second, you've shed all of the negative emotion that you might have brought into the space, and you have lots of confidence in what you're doing. And lastly, you have a list of goals ready for you to check back in with, to make sure that your project is still running smoothly.
📨 Are you interested in joining Riot Games? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Candace
Candace is an AAA game content creation specialist. She’s a designer for single and multiplayer combat, Enemy Design and AI, game modes, and narrative. She’s a creative powerhouse and a mentor! If you are interested in a career at Riot Games, you can connect with Candace Thomas on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Riot Games
Riot Games was founded in 2006 to change how video games are developed, published, and supported by players. In 2009, Riot released its debut title, League of Legends, to worldwide acclaim. League has gone on to be the most-played PC game globally and a vital driver of the explosive growth of esports. Players are the foundation of Riot's community and it’s for them that Riot continues to evolve the League experience, in-game and beyond.
"It's the most
wonderful stressful time of the year…."
All jokes aside, we're certainly feeling the end-of-year stress here at PowerToFly, and we're sure many of you are in the same boat: scrambling to wrap up professional tasks, make socially distanced holiday plans, and keep your personal life afloat all at the same time.
It's not easy juggling so many priorities and 2020 has only made it more difficult.
So, as we wrap up what has been an extremely trying year, we're excited to share a few self-care tips from Cherry Mangat, Wellness Lead at global legal and compliance tech company Relativity. As Cherry says, before we can take care of our communities, "it is vital that we take care of ourselves."
A product manager for most of her career, Cherry learned about mindfulness a few years ago and has since become a passionate mental health advocate. Relativity encouraged and empowered her to launch and lead a company-wide wellness program.
As Cherry explains, "Mindfulness is about keeping your awareness in the present moment. Many of us tend to ruminate in the past or worry about the future. And it's all about coming back to the present moment." A self-professed "control freak," Cherry admits that she's found staying in the present challenging, but the benefits are clear, and she's working on a whole host of initiatives to help her fellow Relativians pursue better physical, mental, and emotional health.
Check out the video below to learn more about how she pivoted careers, and read on for the three things Cherry believes everyone needs in order to practice self-care and stay well:
1. An Unshakeable Foundation
When Cherry talks about an unshakeable foundation, she's referring to the things in life that give you a sense of stability. It may be work, family, spirituality, a hobby, or something else altogether.
But the key is thinking of what anchors you specifically. It will be different for everyone, but these are the things that no matter where you are or what you're doing, you turn to when you feel overwhelmed.
When you start to feel stressed, Cherry recommends pausing and thinking about your foundation: "Keep that foundation front and center…Maybe incorporate it into a daily ritual so that it's ingrained in your mind even more."
2. An Evolved Support System
This goes hand-in-hand with your foundation.
As Cherry says, "Take inventory of, and frequently turn to, your support system. Pre-pandemic, this network may have been different—made up of people you frequently spent time with in-person. Now, it may look different based on the circumstances of your living situation."
Identify who is a part of your support system and, Cherry says, ask yourself how you are connecting with them in meaningful ways. The ways in which you connect will almost certainly look different, but the key is that you find ways to connect that best energize you. Maybe you love Zoom hangouts, or perhaps you're more partial to phone calls or socially distanced walks. Identify what—and who—fills your cup and focus your time on those activities and people.
3. A Daily Act of Self-Compassion
Last but not least, Cherry recommends building an act of self-compassion into your daily routine. "Every morning at 8:00 a.m., a notification appears on my phone to remind me to practice self-compassion. I take 30 seconds to pause, reflect on how I'm feeling, and to think about what I need in order to have a good day. It allows me to have more awareness of my own state, rather than charging into the day on autopilot."
Starting your day off with this time to reflect can be the difference between scrambling all day long and feeling focused and engaged.
This doesn't mean, however, that you need to be "on" every single day, Cherry notes. "Every day is unique and we need different things at different times to help us through. One day, it may binge watching a favorite TV show. Another day, it may be a socially distanced visit with family. Let that flow be okay, don't judge yourself, and don't expect that every day has to look the same. We must give that kindness and compassion to ourselves first before we can extend it to others."
Interested in learning more? Check out the rest of Cherry's advice in her original blog post here. And if you're looking for a company where you can put your well-being first, check out Relativity's open roles here.
Over 40,000 people joined us online last week for Diversity Reboot 2020. We're so grateful to those of you who joined us and we are feeling re-energized and more committed than ever to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our homes and our workplaces.
As we reflect on all of the insights shared last week, we wanted to share some of the quotes that stuck with us and have helped us contemplate how to best contribute to the building of a new, more equitable world:
On the value of diversity.
On the need to seek out underrepresented talent.
On the importance of self-care.
On not overlooking the importance of the "everyday" experiences we create.
On rethinking inclusion.
Stay tuned for more Summit recaps and updates on recordings!
Have other post-Summit content you'd like to see? Takeaways from the Summit that you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments below.
You see an ad for your dream job. And by some miracle, you actually have all 20 of the preferred qualifications!
So you hurriedly scroll to the bottom of the publication to see what the salary range and benefits are… only to find that "competitive salary" is all that's listed.
What the heck does competitive salary actually mean?!
Phrases like "competitive salary" and "competitive pay" are often used by employers in job listings, but they can leave candidates scratching their heads. So what do these phrases actually mean?
Competitive Salary Definition:
A salary that is at or above market rate for similar positions and geographical locations.
The Good News: While not quite as transparent as listing a number or a range, if the company has said that they pay a competitive salary, then you can assume that they intend to pay you at or above market rate.
The Bad News: "Competitive" can mean different things to different people. It can vary based on the local market, and with remote jobs, this only gets more confusing.
So, when you see these phrases, your first move should be to use resources like Glassdoor, Payscale, and Github to research the market rate for the role (I'll talk more about this later). Once you know the average salary for the position in whichever city you're based, you should expect the company to make an offer at or above that level.
If you get an offer and their competitive salary turns out not be as competitive as you expected, you can share your research and tell them you were expecting something a bit higher.
Remember, companies have access to the same resources you do - and many, many more! So they know very well what is "competitive" and what is not.
If they ask you what your salary expectations are, they are likely hoping that you are expecting less than market rate - or that at a minimum, you don't want much more than it. (If you need help answering the ever-tricky salary expectations question, check out these expert tips.)
So, the real question becomes, once a company does actually give you a number - whether or not they said upfront that they consider it to be competitive - what do you do if it's not?
How To Negotiate a Competitive Salary
There's no doubt that salary negotiation can be uncomfortable - but if you don't ask for what you deserve, you'll never get it.
For women in particular, this can be challenging, because we've been conditioned to be agreeable, and to trust that we've been offered what we deserve. But companies don't want to pay you more than they have to, so you need to be your own advocate. No one else will. The men are asking for more, and you should too.
In these situations, it's crucial that you know your own worth - a modest account of your accomplishments won't get you to the number you deserve. (If you don't yet know the importance of valuing yourself, just check out this story about a designer who was underselling herself by 50k!!)
And if that's not enough to convince you to ask for what your worth, consider the fact that your negotiation today will not only impact your current role, but your entire career earnings trajectory (AND the trajectory of women to come after you, lateral to you, and across the industry).
With a little research, role-playing, and honest communication, you'll be ready to negotiate the salary you deserve.
1. Remind Yourself of Your Value
Have you self-assessed recently? Taking time to reflect on your achievements will help you evaluate your current worth and bring an undeniable strength to your interview. I find that muting the hustle and bustle by stepping into nature with paper and pen helps me to recognize my achievements. From there, my self-confidence and self-respect grows and I can start outlining a game plan to reach my desired salary.
I've achieved XYZ. Here is where I've seen success. Add numbers to back it up. Voilà.
2. Research the market.
First, investigate your field's competitive salaries online. Some of our current partners at PowerToFly use platforms like GitLab's Compensation Calculator to adjust their salaries based on the role, experience, and location. Resources like Payscale, Glassdoor, and Comparably are also great for checking salary ranges.
But don't just rely on the internet - ask 5 friends in similar roles/industries/locations what their compensation package looks like. DO NOT JUST ASK WOMEN! If you truly want to understand what a competitive salary is for your position, you need to understand what other people are making - this includes equity, benefits, bonuses, and other forms of compensation. Don't let the taboo topic of money keep you from earning your worth!
3. Watch how your favorite thought leaders present themselves and mimic them - practice makes perfect.
Research how some of your favorite thought-leaders and innovators present themselves in public so you can adopt some of their presentation skills. TedTalks are a good example. There's a reason these people are chosen as speakers - they have charisma! Have some fun and mimic your gurus as you practice presenting yourself and lead to your competitive salary ask. Now is the time to practice your ask word for word, citing why you deserve this compensation. Role-playing with friends and colleagues is crucial for practicing different scenarios and practicing authentic answers. Don't forget to ask for feedback!
You've done your research. You know what the market rate is, what number you're looking for, and what your walkaway is. The worst that can happen is they say no.