Be Nice to Non-Gamedev Staff
Updated: May 21, 2021
As I was writing my post on interviews (coming tomorrow), I was reminded of something that bothered me a lot when I joined the industry on-site in 2018.
I'd like to introduce the topic with a short story:
When I was in high school in Brazil, our curriculum had philosophy classes. One day our professor started the lecture by telling us of an incident that happened in another class she was teaching:
It was the last period, so as the students were packing their bags and leaving, the janitorial staff began to enter the room to clean it. None of the students acknowledged the staff and just left without saying a word. Upon seeing that, the teacher stepped out to the hallway and called everyone back to the classroom; she put them in a line in front of the door and made each of them say goodbye and thank you to the staff as they exited the room one-by-one.
That story really stuck with me. And it came to mind a lot when I was still working on-site in the games industry. I've worked at studios with lots of people, and just like the students in my teacher's story, developers don't usually say "Thank You", "Good-bye", "Good Morning!" or "Hello!" to janitorial/cafeteria/front-desk staff.
What bothers me the most is when devs say "Good Morning" to everyone in the room except to the janitorial staff present, like they're invisible. I mean, it's dehumanizing. It's even worse when you consider that a lot of these staff members are POC, so racism/xenophobia might play a part in it.
These people are not "white collar workers", so our society categorizes them as "unskilled labor", in an attempt to justify low wages and lack of benefits, as well as hazardous working conditions.
But to call them "unskilled" is to completely disregard their importance to our private and public spaces. I mean, can you imagine the world without cleaning staff during a deadly pandemic?
And as far as being a decent human being goes, it's not hard to show someone basic respect. It can be the simple act of saying hello and/or acknowledging their presence with a smile.
I remember feeling very ashamed as our teacher told us that story, because I realized that I too wasn't giving these people the respect they deserved. However I think shame is an important human emotion because it can push us to change for the better. I am very shy, so saying things out loud to strangers can be a struggle, but you'd be surprised at how much a smile and a nod can do for people. And 99% of the time the response is also a friendly nod, smile, or "Good Morning!". It ends up making my day a little brighter as well :)