Oh Penny Arcade. If it isn’t rape jokes, or confusing Kickstarters, now it’s this help wanted ad, which seeks an IT person who will do four jobs at once and be on call 24/7 for seemingly low pay.
So yes, we run lean. Most of us would say maybe a little TOO lean, but being pushed to your limit is part of the job. I’m not saying that to try and scare you away OR impress you, but it’s in both of our best interests to understand and set expectations properly. If you have boundless energy and desire to work on both creative AND sometimes tedious work but in an environment that just might change your life, perhaps this is the opportunity for you.
As soon as the ad was listed, it sparked a satirical Twitter hashtag, #pennyarcadejoblistings. A sample or two.
We'll work you to death and treat you like shit, but hey, there's an X-Box in the break room! #PennyArcadeJobPostings
— Filby Pott (@filbypott) November 26, 2013
"Holiday Pay actually means we'll pay you in candy appropriate to that holiday." #PennyArcadeJobPostings
— Dianna E Anderson (@diannaeanderson) November 26, 2013
Glenn Fleishman, editor and publisher of The Magazine, has a thorough analysis of this latest controversy
This is simply unreasonable. In an established company like Penny Arcade with several mature lines of businesses and apparently significant web and IT needs, running lean means running stupid. If their single hire doing “four jobs” gets sick, has a mental breakdown, or quits in the middle of the night, the firm has no backup plan. I’ve seen what happens to “lean” companies that underhire. They have IT disasters, and some don’t recover, or are never the same. (Those stories are rarely told publicly, either.)
And some numbers:
The company raised $528,000, and used part of the proceeds to fund Strip Search, a terrific, positive reality web TV show that gave comic artists a chance to show their stuff, and launched a bunch of people into full-time careers from the attention. The first $250,000 was meant to replace lost advertising income, but that’s hardly a full benchmark for earnings from the website, and that number was floated over a year ago.
PAX Prime, its flagship event in Seattle, brought in about 70,000 attendees this year, and takes over the Washington State Convention Center and much of the surrounding hotel space in downtown Seattle. Numbers aren’t disclosed about revenue and profit, but a one-day pass is $30 and a four-day pass costs $95. That could conservatively bring in over $3,000,000, not including payments from vendors.
And then, to bring it all full circle, R. Stevens nailed it in a cartoon.
As Fleishman points out, this is probably the perfect job for SOMEONE—and 54 people have already applied. In some ways, this level of honesty in a job listing is preferable to those bland boilerplate warnings “must be detail oriented and willing to work long hours” but still…comics are just not a great way to make money, are they?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.