WotC Layoffs - Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, and Chris Sims - Page 11
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  1. #101
    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin Drader View Post
    Every six months or so people are laid off and when someone suggests not supporting them anymore, someone else says that this suggestion is shortsighted. Nevertheless, they keep getting rid of their talent. The sad thing is that in all likelyhood, there are a number of others from throughout the company who are also getting the boot, but you rarely hear about them because they aren't names in the business. At any rate, most of the people who worked on D&D when I was there are gone now, and the ones who are left will probably be gone sooner or later and replaced by newer employees who are brought in at lower salaries. It's a despicable practice, absolutely unconscionable, but it's become par for the course since WotC was sold to Hasbro. Personally, I've taken to giving my gaming dollars to companies that don't fire their senior talent every year.

    And for those who have said that it's hard to work in that kind of an environment, you're right. It's one of a handful of reasons I opted to leave the company on my own terms when I had the chance. My stress induced ulcer went away shortly afterward, and I no longer have the joy of going into work wondering if I'll still be able to support my family a few weeks down the line. When I worked there, I couldn't imagine the heartbreak of being laid off, but once I realized that being laid off was a foregone conclusion and showed myself the door, I couldn't imagine ever working for them again.
    Kudos to you for that Darren. It takes steel ***** to recognize when things are going south, and leave of your own will.

    And I agree.....any environment where layoffs are occurring...particularly if they're expected, is a pretty stressful environment to work in, and not at all pleasant.

    Banshee

  2. #102
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveMage View Post
    I remain amazed that people even apply for jobs at WotC anymore.

    Well, I suspect that there are enough up and comers in the industry, wanting to cut their teeth in the industry, and enthused about the prospect of working on D&D that they'll always find new staff willing to overlook a bad corporate environment in order to "make" their resume (the assumption being that in the industry, if you've done good work for WotC, you have an excellent chance of getting jobs designing for other companies).

    Banshee

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banshee16 View Post
    Well, I suspect that there are enough up and comers in the industry, wanting to cut their teeth in the industry, and enthused about the prospect of working on D&D that they'll always find new staff willing to overlook a bad corporate environment in order to "make" their resume (the assumption being that in the industry, if you've done good work for WotC, you have an excellent chance of getting jobs designing for other companies).

    Banshee
    If they are using it as a stepping stone - that I could see. As long as they go into it knowing it's likely a temp job.

  4. #104
    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Also, companies can be fairly successful at managing their costs by getting rid of more expensive experienced talent in favor of lower-cost new employees, particularly when there's a lot of competition for the work as there is in the gaming industry. Same with getting rid of permanent staff in favor of freelancers and consultants. Sure, you often pay them more per hour of work, but you don't pay for their benefits. And that can be substantial savings.
    My emphasis above....

    Health and Worker's Comp insurance are pretty expensive and is one of the reasons why companies go to layoffs and/or freelancers to reduce their operating costs.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by Frylock View Post
    A company that fires their best employees doesn't last as long as WotC has.
    This is not correct at all. Sometimes they're lucky enough to find new talent. And sometimes the rot, and damaged caused by the layoffs simply takes awhile to have an effect......look at Nortel, for instance. That company's been crumbling for a decade.....but they were doing layoffs in 2001, and it's been steadily downhill from there.

    When companies are really large (in gaming terms, WotC is a giant), they can take body blows, like losing top talent. Sometimes they can come out of it, and sometimes the damage just takes a long time to really be noticed.

    I knew another company that a family member of mine ran. It was about 2000 people, and he held them at some of their best profit levels. And when things tightened a bit due to overseas competition, the owners brought in a manager who decided to get rid of that family member, and several other staff. It allowed them to claw back pensions, save money from salaries etc. for that year. However, turns out that those high salaries paid to the people they just got rid of were justified, and without those minds helming the ship, the company did worse. In the end, they went into a tailspin, and were gobbled up a few years later as a result. It happens.

    Layoffs may be a standard practice nowaways, but I'd contest that they're a sign of a desperate business, or bad management. They make things better less than half the time.

    Banshee

  6. #106
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    Good luck to those recently let go.


    I will say though that I think people are being too hard on WOTC. America is in double digit unemployment right now....many other countries are worse. While the firings might be regular, especially right now they may be justified. I'm still glad to have gaming companies, in a recession I suspect they are badly hit.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drkfathr1 View Post
    As others have said, this just gives some of us even more reason to no longer support WotC.
    Are you declining to purchase products and services from all other businesses doing layoffs? As in, are you simply not buying anything at all these days?

    I don't get this attitude that people should try to harm the companies that produce the things they like the most. You do understand that if you were successful, your success would be measured in yet more game designers being laid off, right?

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0 View Post
    Good luck to those recently let go.
    Agreed. These are some talented and respectable fellows. The best of fortune to you all.

    I will say though that I think people are being too hard on WOTC. America is in double digit unemployment right now....many other countries are worse. While the firings might be regular, especially right now they may be justified. I'm still glad to have gaming companies, in a recession I suspect they are badly hit.
    Doubly agreed.

    This is the RPG industry, which has never been a huge contender as far as entertainment industries go, during the biggest recession and period of massive unemployment that it has faced in its lifetime to date.

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mistwell View Post
    Are you declining to purchase products and services from all other businesses doing layoffs? As in, are you simply not buying anything at all these days?

    I don't get this attitude that people should try to harm the companies that produce the things they like the most. You do understand that if you were successful, your success would be measured in yet more game designers being laid off, right?
    So, what would you suggest?

    I mean, seriously, if you disapprove of things that a company is doing it seems rather silly to continue to support them out of fear that they'll do more of what you're disapproving of. Do nothing? Rail impotently?

    We're customers and the only thing we've got is our patronage and dollar. Period. Sure, you'll hear talk from companies saying that they listen to their customers, but what they really mean is that they watch how customers spend their money.

    Sure, removing our dollars from WotC's future coffers would result in tighter times, more folks losing their jobs, but if you expect a change from WotC, if you expect them to notice that you're irked at them, withdrawal of purchasing power is the only real way to impact them. It sucks, it's sad, but that's the nature of economics.

    Maybe if they were better about layoffs, maybe if they showed a record of hiring folks back, then maybe a lot of folks wouldn't feel the way that they do. As it currently stands, I wouldn't take a job from WotC without a grain of mercenarial salt in my pouches, since I'd only be as loyal to them as I expected them to be loyal to me. I'd jump for a better job elsewhere, just as I know they'd throw me to the wolves if they needed to.

    It's a sad state of things, I think, but that's life right now in this economy.

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by catsclaw227 View Post
    Did you leave because of a specific incident (or series of incidents) or was it because you saw the layoff writing on the wall and got out earlier?

    I'm not looking for details.... just curious if there was some bad blood when it happened. And I only ask because I recall some of your posts reflect a lingering resentment (surely unintentional) and some other posts show an open dislike of WOTC.

    Did someone there give you a major screw-job? You did some really good stuff for them (and a few other companies as well).
    That's a fair question and I don't mind answering it. First of all, my job was not in jeopardy, and it wasn't a Cartmanesque "Screw you guys, I'm going home!" In fact, I gave them a month notice and continued to do a good amount of freelance work for them after I left.

    There were decisions that were made at the highest level that I disagreed with. Some of them affected me personally while others just annoyed me, but none of them were the types of things that would have ended my job or put me on the short list for termination. I'd delve into details, but they really aren't the types of things that need to be aired, and they weren't deal breakers.

    The main issue for me was layoffs. I highly doubt that anyone working there has any sense of job security. In the four years I worked there, I didn't see any. At the time, my second child had just been born and the one thing that I needed was job security. The stress levels caused by the uncertainty were increasing and it was taking a toll on my health. Having worked for places that weren't so random and unpredictable when eliminating employees, I knew that there were more stable places to be, so I made arrangements to leave.

    Ultimately my path led me back to school to finish up my undergrad degree (I'll have it in a couple weeks. Thanks in advance for your congratulations). The next question for me is whether to go to grad school, which I'm being urged to do by two of the three people who sit on the grad school admissions panel, or do something else. Right now I'm leaning towards more school, as academia tends to have the security that I'm looking for, not to mention the opportunity to shape the minds of the next generation of up and comers.

    At any rate, when I left WotC, I was asked if I was certain that it was what I wanted to do by my supervisors, I gave them more than a month's notice, and I continued to do freelance work for them for a couple years after I left. My separation from the company was on fine terms. The reason that I'm critical of them today has to do with the fact that I've seen several more of my friends laid off, many of whom struggled to find quality employment after they left, and because of many of the decisions that were made regarding the rollout of 4E. I'm not going to rehash all of that as I'm sure that my posting history speaks for itself, but I feel that a number of those decisions had harmful effects on the industry at the time.

    But, there's also evidence that the industry has recovered over this past year and I'm not particularly worried about the way things have realigned. In fact, it looks as though things are healthier now than they have been for several years. I haven't been this busy as a freelancer in about three years. In other words, the reason I speak up when WotC lays people off is because these are talented people, many of them have families, I consider these yearly cuts mostly unnecessary, and there is a human toll when this happens. It is possible to operate a company ethically and profitably, and while this year is particularly hard on most businesses, yesterday's layoffs are part of a well established and easy to track pattern with WotC. I have nothing but good wishes and respect for the few people I know who still work there.
    Last edited by Darrin Drader; Saturday, 5th December, 2009 at 05:34 AM.

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