In the biz..

So I just hit my two year anniversary at my first job in the Video Games biz.  
 
I grew up playing a load of games ( like im sure every other reader on this site did ), and I, like so many others, always wanted to be a part of making these things! 
 
10 years of programming and education later: here I am.  
 
I am just wrapping up the crunch period on the first game I have seen from start to finish ( helped on 2 other games, but this is my first full cycle ), and now I am asking myself: is this everything that I thought it would be? 
 
Yes and no.. Yes it is badass to just say I work in the biz, and its badass that my desk in my little private office is littered with xbox and playstation controllers. I honestly feel like, as a programmer, this is the most challenging and fantastic way to use my skills, and I feel like I am still learning all the time from my peers ( even though I finished school up two years ago ). I love the banter I can have with other like minded people about things I enjoy. 
 
What sucks about this industry? Well the hours are kind of ridiculous. Wrapping up crunch time right now and realizing I have worked after hours and on weekends for over 4 straight months now ( Im stoked to see how I feel after 3-4 weeks comp time post project though ). The stress is a killer. Things must be implemented carefully and thoughtfully or you might suffer the wrath of 150 people working on the same game that dislike your methods. Layoffs hit the industry so often, that no matter the studio, you are always paranoid about making sure you do your best ( and that your good work is seen by the decision makers up top! ).  Also, the pay could be better. Im making enough to have a decent living, but there is little room for moving up in an industry that is flooded with 15 year veterans ( often times looking for jobs cause studios are randomly closing! ).
 
I love the job, but there is a constant debate in my head about if the hours and reduced pay are made up by the fact that I am doing something that I wanted to do since I was a little kid.   

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