log in or register to remove this ad

 

Sean K Reynolds on working at Paizo (and other companies)


log in or register to remove this ad

TheSword

Legend
Thanks for the info!

and while there are more than 2 execs at the company, it's still a small family owned company. and in those companies its the owners who generally make all decisions that in any way effect the bottom line. and so I'm just saying that really Erik (it seems to me) has basically no say. He can quit or deliver the message of the owners, or not take the complaints to the owners cause he knows they're just going to jump on him and say no anyway.

To me that doesn't make him a bad guy, just one who is more concerned about his own job and paycheck than his employees.
I’ve seen people in this situation. Ultimately though they are the bridge between the owners and the work force. The owners will only ever change if the information they receive suggests it’s necessary.

Ultimately if Erik Mona isn’t helping the situation he’s hurting the situation.

He would find another job if he needed to. He needs to stop enabling bad business practice, before there isn’t a business to enable.
 
Last edited:

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I’ve seen people in this situation. Ultimately though they are the bridge between the owners and the work force. The owners will only ever change if the information they receive suggests it’s necessary.

Ultimately if Erik Mona isn’t helping the situation he’s hurting the situation.

He would find another job if he needed to.
We know from other statements by Paizo employees that Mona is doing very well financially from his position, and likes to brag about it to the employees under his supervision.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
We know from other statements by Paizo employees that Mona is doing very well financially from his position, and likes to brag about it to the employees under his supervision.
Yeah, and I think his "sounds like we shouldn’t be telling you how well the company is doing" quip to SKR is probably a good indicator of his attitude toward sharing around the company's good fortune in any consistent way.
 

Isnt a huge part of the problem that there are literally hundreds of rpg 'writers' lined up to take Sean's job for less money?
[All other perceived management issues aside]

There it is.

The real value of labor is in it's scarcity. When a company knows there are a dozen equally-qualified people dreaming of having every position they field, it has zero motivation to spend more on its labor force.

Everything else is a secondary factor at best.
 

Considering everything that Crystal Fraiser, Diego, and other former and current staff have said, Sean K is adding to a chorus of voices stating, quite simply, that Paizo needs to clear out upper management and engage constructively with the union.
It means exactly the opposite. A union only has power if it has the loyalty or control of a bulk of the labor pool (note: not just the employee pool). As noted, there are dozens+ of people who would dearly love to work as a RPG writer.

Until the ratio of unemployed writers to job positions changes drastically, the company's current model works.
 

Mordhau

Adventurer
Ugh. I deal with something similar in public education (in the US). Some new amazing reform that's going to just make everything run smoothly . . . . if management took the time to understand and implement it properly, that is. Seems fairly universal. :(
A lot of these things seem like they just exist to give management something to do and justify having so many managers.
 

Mordhau

Adventurer
It means exactly the opposite. A union only has power if it has the loyalty or control of a bulk of the labor pool (note: not just the employee pool). As noted, there are dozens+ of p
eople who would dearly love to work as a RPG writer.

Until the ratio of unemployed writers to job positions changes drastically, the company's current model works.
It's difficult to change a signficant amount of your work force in one go; there is important knowledge that needs to be learned, how things are generally done, the systems they use etc (and of course with a company like Paizo there's good system knowledge of Pathfinder 2 required as well).

That's part of the advantage of being unionised.
 

Sad indeed. Sours me on Paizo, a company I've really liked in the past.

They certainly put out good products, but at what human cost? Hopefully the new union can help improve the company's work culture, but the rot seems to be pervasive at the top.

I'm especially disappointed in Erik Mona. He, like SKR, started in the trenches with WotC and worked his way up. His editorials always made him seem a very personable and nice guy. And I suppose, if you don't work under him, maybe he is.
Let me tell you something: a lot of creatives make really bad managers, since it requires a totally different skillset to designing. Unfortunately we tend to see management as a "promotion" so for a lot of creative people becoming managers is their only way to getting higher pay, but they end up in a job they are totally unsuited for.

How to know you're a good manager? Your staff are working well and don't feel like they're being managed at all.
 

It's difficult to change a signficant amount of your work force in one go; there is important knowledge that needs to be learned, how things are generally done, the systems they use etc (and of course with a company like Paizo there's good system knowledge of Pathfinder 2 required as well).

That's part of the advantage of being unionised.
No, but you start firing people, with plenty of qualified applicants ready at the door, the union will fail as the rest look to their own futures.

That's one reason why unions have been so thoroughly defeated in most areas of the US economy.

Unions only work if they control a significant portion of the labor pool, and their members are prepared to put their incomes on the line.
 


How to know you're a good manager? Your staff are working well and don't feel like they're being managed at all.
Wrong. It is if you are meeting higher-higher's demands and expectations on time and within budget.

Otherwise, someone else will be manager. Managers simply enforce culture standards and uphold policy.

Good management starts at the top and filters down. So does bad management.
 


Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
So, anyone still think Jessica Price was making stuff up or exaggerating claims? Seems like most of them are lining up with Sean’s.

Sean’s comments make for pretty sad and slightly disturbing reading and I have to say Paizo sounds like a toxic place to work. Not sure I’ll be buying from them any more under the current leadership, which is disappointing as I thought they were a great company. Clearly not.
 

So, anyone still think Jessica Price was making stuff up or exaggerating claims? Seems like most of them are lining up with Sean’s.

Sean’s comments make for pretty sad and slightly disturbing reading and I have to say Paizo sounds like a toxic place to work. Not sure I’ll be buying from them any more under the current leadership, which is disappointing as I thought they were a great company. Clearly not.
I don't have any interest in Pazio's line, but honestly, I don't care about their work environment. Its not an overseas sweatshop; they're free to leave.
 


ReshiIRE

Adventurer
I don't have any interest in Pazio's line, but honestly, I don't care about their work environment. Its not an overseas sweatshop; they're free to leave.
People who go into threads about subject x to say they don't care about subject x clearly do care about x. They care in that they want people to shut up and accept things as they are, whether for ideological reasons or because... well, you tell me.

It means exactly the opposite. A union only has power if it has the loyalty or control of a bulk of the labor pool (note: not just the employee pool). As noted, there are dozens+ of people who would dearly love to work as a RPG writer.

Until the ratio of unemployed writers to job positions changes drastically, the company's current model works.
Like. This is just nonsense. Paizo has already had to deal with a strike by contractors and a withdrawl of labour that basically got them to accept the union in the first place. Nobody who wants to be an RPG writer is going to go into Paizo and not be part of the union, as they'll, you know, probably be abused if they don't have union protection.

If Paizo tries to not deal with the union constructively and well, bring on the strike, and deals with it by getting rid of the workers... they'll die. A significant amount of their dedicated community will straight up go, as will content creators, and they won't find replacements. And anyone who will try to work there will face a mountain of work and lost knowledge that they won't overcome.

Especially in a place like the United States, where workers are withdrawing their labour so companies are pressured not to be shitheads.
 

People who go into threads about subject x to say they don't care about subject x clearly do care about x. They care in that they want people to shut up and accept things as they are, whether for ideological reasons or because... well, you tell me.
I go into the thread because the economic reasons are of interest. I've been on both sides of the union issue over the years, both building and breaking. This is a thread about union issues.

Like. This is just nonsense. Paizo has already had to deal with a strike by contractors and a withdrawl of labour that basically got them to accept the union in the first place. Nobody who wants to be an RPG writer is going to go into Paizo and not be part of the union, as they'll, you know, probably be abused if they don't have union protection.

If Paizo tries to not deal with the union constructively and well, bring on the strike, and deals with it by getting rid of the workers... they'll die. A significant amount of their dedicated community will straight up go, as will content creators, and they won't find replacements. And anyone who will try to work there will face a mountain of work and lost knowledge that they won't overcome.

Especially in a place like the United States, where workers are withdrawing their labour so companies are pressured not to be shitheads.
There's a very good reason why union membership has been on a steep decline in the USA for the last forty years: because union control over the labor pool is weak in the economic conditions that have prevailed.

Paizo can simply relocate its offices to another state, recruit non-union staff to replace those weren't able or willing to make the move, and drive on. They're not marketing fresh fruit; their products have an infinite shelf life, and their committed gamers will forget about the issue in a couple weeks, if they notice at all. Would-be RPG writers will continue to flock to their doors for the exceedingly rare opportunity to write for a major game system. So they can absorb a temporary lull to their product line.

Or the investors can simply take their money and close the doors. They can sell existing E-books with a few part-time employees, re-invest the capital on Wall Street, and get on with their lives. You see, Piazo is only a big company if considered within the RPG industry; in reality it is a small company with a niche luxury product line and a sub-moderate bottom line.

What you're projecting is the same old union thinking that has destroyed the union structure in the USA, as the recent failures to launch in the Amazon warehousing system prove. And there are some real toxic environments there.
 

TheSword

Legend
To be honest I think that they will already struggle to get over this. The old adage of ‘all publicity is good publicity’ is simply not true any more. Otherwise TSR 3 would be incredibly successful by now 🤔

Why would you want to work for a company that has to be forced to behave by a Union and threat of withdrawal of labor when you could work for a company that voluntarily does these things.

What I like about this blog is that Sean makes it clear that Paizo is by no means the norm in the industry but is instead the outlier. Which gives me hope. I suspect on that basis, the goodwill and loyal fan base they generated creating Pathfinder will eventually dry up and they will seriously struggle.
 

ReshiIRE

Adventurer
I go into the thread because the economic reasons are of interest. I've been on both sides of the union issue over the years, both building and breaking. This is a thread about union issues.


There's a very good reason why union membership has been on a steep decline in the USA for the last forty years: because union control over the labor pool is weak in the economic conditions that have prevailed.

Paizo can simply relocate its offices to another state, recruit non-union staff to replace those weren't able or willing to make the move, and drive on. They're not marketing fresh fruit; their products have an infinite shelf life, and their committed gamers will forget about the issue in a couple weeks, if they notice at all. Would-be RPG writers will continue to flock to their doors for the exceedingly rare opportunity to write for a major game system. So they can absorb a temporary lull to their product line.

Or the investors can simply take their money and close the doors. They can sell existing E-books with a few part-time employees, re-invest the capital on Wall Street, and get on with their lives. You see, Piazo is only a big company if considered within the RPG industry; in reality it is a small company with a niche luxury product line and a sub-moderate bottom line.

What you're projecting is the same old union thinking that has destroyed the union structure in the USA, as the recent failures to launch in the Amazon warehousing system prove. And there are some real toxic environments there.
Oh, you've broken unions? What exactly do you mean by that?

This is a thread about union issues. Seems like as part of that, since you care about unions and their work, that you would care as to why they have been formed?

I'm pretty sure unions have been in a steep decline in the USA due to the political system in the USA being incredibly hostile to them, along with major components of culture, that have resulted in situations where workers are pretty heavily abused and companies are let ran amock. This hasn't really happened in other countries, even those along similiar economic lines, so it doesn't seem like union control is weak in 'economic conditions'.

Also, are you seriously suggesting Paizo can just move? They're, as you said, a small company - not a public one with investors - ran by their owners. Those owners, likely, would have to move alongside or change their own lives to move. That's already quite inhert.

Again, where are they going to find these non-union staff who are willing to work for an abusive place, that are delibertly running away from a union trying to actually fix the place for the workers, exactly? Ones who can work at the same level, ones who can keep their system working? How are they going to get their contractors to accept this, who make up the bulk of writing? Those people are already very willing to move on from companies - and they talk to each other.

I seriously don't get your point about investors. Paizo is a small private company akin to Valve; they're not like public investors who care mostly about returns.

I'm not projecting 'old union thinking' that didn't do naughty word to destroy the union structure in the USA.

My thinking is based on, perhaps, "maybe companies should stop being ***holes, actually give good conditions to their workers, and be democracies - which will increase returns and make the place a lot more productive. And maybe join the 21st century, where workers talk and communicate with each other and point out the shite that happens across the place."

Companies need to learn they are not our masters. And if they want to learn the hard way - great.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top