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Rockstar informs public and employees that overtime is not mandatory

By Cal Jeffrey · 19 replies
Oct 22, 2018
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  1. Houser, who is also the head writer for Red Dead Redemption 2, mentioned in the lengthy conversation that the finalizing of the story was particularly arduous. The polishing and editing had the team working up to 100 hours per week in 2018 to get it done. Considering the game has half a million lines of dialog, and the launch date was fast approaching, it is perhaps no surprise the team was burning the midnight oil to get it complete.

    The admission did not sit well with fans who assumed Rockstar required too much of its employees. Houser clarified his comment in a statement to Kotaku saying that the studio does not demand employees work overtime.

    "After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this."

    However, it seems that some employees were under the impression that it was mandatory.

    Variety notes that Rockstar held an employee meeting on Friday to discuss and clarify its overtime policies. It was explained that while extra work hours are not required, they are sometimes requested and scheduled.

    “Some people have said that they felt it was effectively mandatory because it was expected of them. In light of the discussion around this issue, we got the team together today to make sure it is clear to them that OT work is not mandatory,” said Rockstar’s Jennifer Kolbe. “We are also pushing to make any OT worked more flexible in terms of schedule (i.e. 'work when makes sense for you’).”

    Whether it is game development or any other industry, deadlines bring crunch times. It’s just the nature of doing business. While nobody wants to be forced to work extra, it is important to keep in mind that overtime pays more (sometimes even double) and that although it may not be required, there is significant pressure in any job to look good and be a team player.

    Now that Rockstar has cleared the air, employees will probably just go back to working overtime when needed like they always have comforted with the thought that they don't have to if they so choose.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Jeff Re

    Jeff Re TS Addict Posts: 151   +115

    At my company we call it voluntary mandatory overtime, since that's pretty much how it's phrased.
    Humza, EEatGDL and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  3. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,769   +428

    At my wife's, the supervisors just say, "We want to see everybody putting in at least X hours voluntary overtime." lol
    Darth Shiv and OanhS like this.
  4. StanKBalzac

    StanKBalzac TS Rookie

    Sounds like wage theft to me. Do they even get comp time?
    OanhS likes this.
  5. Adi6293

    Adi6293 TS Maniac Posts: 215   +193

    I work 72 hours weeks sometimes and I'm not that bothered about it. I get double time and time and a half if I do over my 36 hours a week. I don't get made to do it, I ask to do it :p
    Cal Jeffrey and Dimitrios like this.
  6. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,963   +577

    Getting compensated is fine. Having 70 hour weeks at a desk job programming but getting paid 40 is crap.
  7. Adi6293

    Adi6293 TS Maniac Posts: 215   +193

    That I agree with although my job does not come with a desk but that might actually be better :)
  8. RedGuard

    RedGuard TS Enthusiast Posts: 71   +34

    I don't really get how high-skilled people in the industry can be forced to work overtime. You just go work for something else. Yeah, maybe you won't get the same amount of money, but you won't starve.

    I live in Romania and make about $36 000 a year and think of looking for something else for less than 6 hours per day. And if I don't find it, this amount is bearable anyway.

    My wife is pressured into unpaid overtime at her hospital and I always ask her: Go home when your contract says you can. I dare them to fire you. And even if she's fired, I earn enough for both of us and doctors will always find some other place to work.

    And since this is about USA, I don't understand people there. They can go and work anywhere in the world, they don't have 1 issue with visas anywhere. Sure, you won't be making $120 000 a year, but is $70 000 all that bad?
  9. yeeeeman

    yeeeeman TS Addict Posts: 169   +140

    People are fearful and are afraid that their boss will fire them. Many of them create a bond with the place that they work on for a few years, so it is hard for them to depart so easily. It is not easy to change jobs like socks if you are not used to and many people don't change jobs very frequently. Also, many people have credits to pay for expensive cars, houses, stuff and usually they get in such a debt that any other job with lower wage might make them unable to honor the monthly payment.
    The scenario that you envision is for people that either don't have a family or credits to pay and can move easily from place to place or are used to changing jobs. In the US, the competition is fierce and usually there are more people than the offers from companies since everyone goes to work in the US. In Romania, few people are qualified for well paid jobs and in the last years there was a flood of new companies that came here because of low wages and good engineering skills.
    senketsu and Dimitrios like this.
  10. RedGuard

    RedGuard TS Enthusiast Posts: 71   +34

    The only thing that I don't understand is that there are more people than there are jobs. I know somebody who is hiring for Microsoft (the headquarters, not in Ireland or wherever) and he had to run interviews for almost one year to find 6 lousy people.

    Mostly all the people putting their CVs were having more than 15 years of experience in the software development (and with big other companies like HP, IBM, Department of Defense, etc.) field and couldn't solve some baby-level problems. I mean the general-logic questions that are put during the interview are things we, at least here in Romania, did in high-school.
  11. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,547   +1,767

    You are talking about a country that, over the last 40 years, has lost a huge base of manufacturing jobs, and only brought in service jobs to compensate. For anything remotely skilled, there are more people then jobs in many cases.

    Your buddy at MS has a different problem. MS, along with every other tech company, is pulling from a single pool of workers in one corner of the country. That is why they cant find people (that and the wages they are offering are likely not competitive with California living expenses). The supply of skilled tech workers is long exhausted over there, and young techies have no interest is working for old microsoft, they are convinced that working under horrible conditions for google or amazon is somehow better.
  12. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 466   +348

    Same here I worked at a large Wine warehouse and October-December it's an easy 72hrs per week. Many temp workers pass out or quit within 1-4 days. Working nights suck but money is good and no traffic lol.
  13. R00sT3R

    R00sT3R TS Guru Posts: 161   +342

    Yeah..But I'm sure you'll remember who did and who didn't, the next time you need to lay people off.
    senketsu likes this.
  14. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,769   +428

    Ugh! Your post prompted me to calculate my own I work 76 per week, but at regular rate. (only because I work one full time and two part time 7dow.) Oh well, I'm not bitchin'. At least I'm working.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  15. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    "While nobody wants to be forced to work extra, it is important to keep in mind that overtime pays more (sometimes even double)"

    Not if you're in a salaried position in the US, it doesn't. The "good" companies will give you extra pay at whatever your equivalent hourly rate would be. Most companies however go "You are salaried, you work however long it takes you to finish your work", as I am willing to bet is the case with staff writers at a video game company.
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  16. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 466   +348

    Yup it's either feast or famine when it comes to work. I'm still trying to find that middle ha ha.
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  17. Sarcasm

    Sarcasm TS Guru Posts: 380   +48

    This is true for Salary folks. Some of my colleagues are Salary and do not get compensated for additional hours, while also feeling under pressure the work needs to get done.

    Meanwhile, hourly folks (like me) tend to freely avoid OT even if it means some things have to wait.

    Interesting topic.
  18. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,769   +428

    That is a blanket statement that is not completely true. I have had jobs that paid overtime when I was hourly, but as soon as I became a manager and was put on salary, I was working 60 h/w with no OT. However, I've had other jobs where I was salaried and did get OT. Salaried employees generally get OT based on their salary/an 40-hour work week (most of the time it's time and a half). It's not uncommon. I've had more salaried jobs that pay OT than those that don't. However, a lot of salaried positions have certain productivity standards. If it take you 50 hours to complete 40 hours of work -- no OT. However, when extra work is requited then OT comes into play. That's been my personal experience in the US.
  19. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,209   +670

    Its like you didn't even read my second sentence.
  20. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,769   +428

    I did read your second sentence, but you continued by saying that "Most companies however..." And that has not been my experience. Most companies I have been with have been good companies, as you put it.

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