I started at the company as a junior game dev so I did QA and old legacy games. I did that for about a year. I thought it was an appropriate level for a fresh grad just out of university. I went on mat leave for 3 months after working there for about a year. The manager at that time was happy with my work so he gave me a 10% raise when I came back to work.

While I was on leave the manager became the CEO and he hired a new guy to oversee the devs. They also had to fire one of their clients and get a bunch of new ones.

When I came back boy did the work environment really change from before. The new manager also gave me 2 new games and expected me to complete them both in 4 months including QA and delivery! Qa was no longer my duty. He is always focusing on 'discipline' and squeezing the last drop of effort out of me every week to the point where I am burnt out and exhausted. This is not good for me as I have a baby at home. I cry and lash out at my family.

I'm in Canada by the way. I have brought this up with both management and HR and nothing has been done yet. It's been a few weeks. It's affecting my personal life a lot - I am miserable. HR said the company values work-life balance and not to do overtime but that seems to just be a theory for the new manager.

I cannot just quit and walk out the door because I can't afford to and also we have planned a 2-week holiday for June and we need the money for the trip as well. I can't handle the pressure and extreme deadlines. I asked them if they are trying to get me to quit and they said no. I want my old job and responsibilities back. It was much easier. I told them I am willing to take a pay cut too. Now that I have a family I don't want a huge, high-flying, rapid-progression career but just to coast for a while at an OK salary.

How would you deal with this situation?

What would be a reason that they would treat me like this after my leave?

Should I bring it up with the old manager?

  • 7
    Sounds like the change wasn't related to maternity leave, but a company change in focus (and management) - a CEO change is a big deal and probably signals larger issues at the company. Lots of people would love a job where they can just coast, but few companies provide such jobs, especially not in gaming, which is notorious for bad working conditions. If work is getting in the way of your family time, my advice would be to get a new job, in a different industry - lots of companies need good QA people, if you work for a more traditional larger company you may find a more relaxed pace.
    – Johnny
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 13:15
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    "coast for a while at an OK salary.". not exactly what an employer wants from their employee.
    – Andy
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 23:17
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    @aubz would you hire a babysitter that only wants to do the absolute bare minimum? don't you think that projects an "I don't really care about the quality of my work" mentality? I do.
    – Andy
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 23:33
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    Lets straighten out the priorities. Your job makes you miserable but you cannot quit because you need money for vacation. Hmm. My suggestion: Cancel the June holiday, tough out the rest of April/May but don't overwork. Instead of going on vacation, use those 2 weeks to stay home and job search as much as possible. Research opportunities. Apply, apply, apply. Save the money you would have spent on the vacation and use it toward 'rainy day' e.g. to hold over between jobs, if you will have to quit before starting a new position. When a new opportunity materializes, leave the old job.
    – A.S
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 12:45
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    You should probably rewrite your question to take out some of the more emotional components. For instance, if I read your question I get the impression that the case is not really that your boss is expecting too much of you, that's how you feel about the situation, the objective reality is that the requirements of your job have changed in the time you were away.
    – Cronax
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


Family responsibilities and working for a game development shop don't mix. Find another job and get out. If you don't believe me, take a straw poll and figure out how many people have kids. That'll tell you. In many VC-backed startups and game development shops there is a tacit expectation that you'll be working 60+ hours a week, and the people who work in such places deliberately avoid, shirk, or delegate family responsibilities.

Your company has changed direction and working style since you left. It is not the same company as far as you're concerned. You could go to management or HR and talk it out, but it won't change the direction of the company.

There are lots of software companies which have higher profit margins, steady business, and development teams comprising people with family responsibilities. That would probably be a better fit for you.

  • 1
    Throw in the towel and not even try to improve the environment? Really? Not saying this isn't a fall-back position, but if your default answer to every problem is "just find a new job" you're going to never be happy. Besides, they're saying "Don't do overtime". That's pretty clearly not the situation you're describing.
    – Jared
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 1:56
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    It wasn't the manager saying "no overtime". It was HR. If the manager is setting deadlines which can only be met with overtime, then the tacit message is "do overtime". That's hard to do if you have a small child at home.
    – Jay Godse
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 15:52

The best way to deal with this is to go to your current manager and say:

  • It's been made clear I'm to not work overtime, yet the amount of work assigned to me doesn't seem in line with that.
  • This is what I'm capable of doing in the 40 hours I have here.
  • Here's my take on the prioritization of work, does that match what you want?
  • This prioritization means the following things won't get done without overtime.
  • Here is a list of work items that could easily be transitioned to other team members if you'd like to discuss that.
  • I'll gladly work on whatever is most important to you, but my capacity is finite. (drop the "qa isn't my responsibility any more", your job is to solve your bosses problems),
  • Work your 40 hours, report that on any timecard, then go home and enjoy your new baby as stress free as possible.

Bring this up with your current manager with the mindset of bringing solutions to an issue, not raising problems. If they get confrontational, then discuss with HR and/or the CEO.

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    Good answer! I'd like to add one thing, though - make sure to have documentation on whatever you and your boss agree to with regards to priorities, which items to stop doing, etc. If it comes to a confrontation, you'll need it.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 9:48
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    Keep in mind this approach might very well get you fired. It's dangerous to strong arm a manager who is domineering with this approach may end poorly...
    – enderland
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 15:23
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    @enderland - This isn't "strong arming" anyone. She was told "not to do overtime", so prioritization is exactly what is necessary, and that prioritization should be set by the manager. As a manager myself, I WANT employees to do this. I would much rather they come to me when they are overwhelmed and us discuss ways to keep up than for them to get burned out and quit or get disengaged.
    – Jared
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 1:39
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    @aubz, don't generalize one bad job to all jobs. There are places supportive of working mothers. But this one is not and the only real option you have is to find another job and to avoid known bad situations like startups and game companies.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 18:48
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    Given that most employment in North America is "at will", many employees will not push back at aggressive or overwhelming manager-set schedules, especially if they are financially strained. They will simply "take it", and do their best, and either burn out or leave or both. And pushing back on such schedules can get you labeled as a whiner or a slacker, and that usually leads to a termination, especially in startups and game development shops.
    – Jay Godse
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 15:57

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