I’m constantly fascinated by the paradox that sits at the heart of job hunting. We are encouraged to make our CV and covering letter stand out from the crowd and display unique qualities, but in the process make sure it looks the same as all the others and follows a certain convention. Maybe it’s not as dramatic as I’m alluding to, but regardless, there is a certain procedure that one follows for applying for new jobs.
Tim Schafer, the absolute hero of a game developer for many ordinary geeks such as myself has posted his application to the Lucasfilm games division on his website to celebrate his twenty years in the games development industry and it’s really worth a read, if only for the realisation that this actually worked.
Tim Schafer, for those who would know the work but not the name, was the mastermind behind Grim Fandango, an adventure game taking the afterlife equivalent of a travel agent on a sprawling journey through the land of the dead, Psychonauts, a platform game where you controlled a boy who ran away from the circus to attend a summer camp for psychics, and the upcoming Brutal Legend starring a roadie trapped in a heavy metal themed fantasy world. He is nothing short of an inspirational genius. Had he not taken an oddball approach to applying to Lucasfilm, the gaming world would have been a somewhat duller place.
What I find interesting is that he considers himself to have been massively under qualified for the job that he was offered. This strikes a chord with me as I am constantly driven to a state of melancholy when job descriptions for things that I would love to do seem incredibly far away from my actual abilities.
I should really have learnt this lesson long ago when I applied for my current job and was informed by the job listing that I needed to be “fully literate in Microsoft Excel”. What that actually translated to was to know what the icon looked like.