Inktober BurpDoodles: Kizuna Ai fanart + on crunch & letting go from being a workaholic perfectionist

Inktober BurpDoodle: Kizuna Ai fanart

I watched some of her videos ages ago because I was fascinated; she’s a funny & cool virtual YouTuber/Vlogger! I’m not sure if I’m the target audience but I appreciated her sweet appeal 😀

Inktober BurpDoodle: Cute but deadly Kizuna Ai

Wanted to do another one ;D

Haven’t watched a lot of her videos but from what I’ve seen, I like her sense of humour! :0 This is a blatantly manufactured online/virtual personality and it’s such a clever way do it!

Thoughts on crunch & letting go from being a workaholic & perfectionist 

Due to Rockstar’s article a lot of discussion over twitter happened. You’d find a lot of insightful, eloquent perspectives if you seek it so I won’t repeat it here. I’m learning and my own perspective is limited too. I don’t have a family to raise for instance. So…read what others say, not me, I’m not that wise or experienced.

Reading about the “be grateful you have a job” mentality, 

  • “working hard is only for people doing 100 hour weeks” like a silly badge of honour,
  • “passionate/dedication to the company = how many hours of your life away from your family is spent”,
  • how the game industry is built on young, impressional people who are workaholics,
  • how crunch conditions is not the way to produce good work,
  • the need for game industry unions,
  • how one needs to research into the company when you go for a job or you’d get exploited by potential “passion for the company” work culture,
  • how voluntarily working 40 to 100 hour weeks is a result of being bad at time management and consequently harming your colleagues and people in the industry by normalising it,
  • the difference in hourly and salaried employees and the need for people to pay for all overtime hours,
  • talk about work/life balance when you’re forced to take on workloads of many people and over work without extra pay,
  • and how most people are blind to how all of this is progressively burning out people away from the industry altogether.

Oof. This is difficult and not clear cut as it seems as everyone’s circumstances are different.

It’s hard for me to hear as I’m apparently a perfectionist and workaholic…and I’m not proud of it. I feel super terrible because I’ve been like this since I was in high school…I believed that it was the only way to make whatever I was doing and struggling with to work. Especially recently so, when I voluntarily crunched and burnt out for over two months. I slept less than average, had next to little weekends to myself, used a lot of my weeknights as I tunnel visioned to get things done. Mighty did an intervention when they realised because they’re super against crunch and are cool, supportive and lovely like that.

I’m mostly recovered now while mentally and creatively I’m still somewhat burnt out and feeling emotionally tired and apathetic about almost everything. It might stay like that for a long while unfortunately. This creative rut since last year or so is going to take as much time as it needs. I’ll keep hanging in there.

Now you might be asking why I crunched.

I do this when I’m doing something I haven’t done before…and yes I need to tone the “all or nothing” vibe down. I usually see things as a newbie and I push myself to learn…whether I actually enjoy it or not. What matters to me is doing what is asked of me the best I can…even if I feel like I fall short.

I have these high standards like a silly perfectionist workaholic. I’m not confident in new challenges until I’m super experienced at it. I don’t want to let people down. I want to be able to play, be creative and experiment too with a comprehensive process and I don’t want to be limited by the deadline. Consequently I maximise the time I have by giving up my own.

As much as I strive not to…I always feel like I’m not good enough or know enough…there’s always something to nitpick and I find it hard to see what value I bring. I’m not perfect. Still I want to do the best I can at my job. I want to problem solve things on my own so I’m not inclined to ask for help…oh my silly pride! I’m getting better at this now that I’m slowly more involved in projects with people again. I have a huge fear of being a burden onto others and failing too much…because of my ignorance, lack of experience, slow pace at working things out and weaknesses. I get nervous if I feel like I’m making people wait too long for me. I often keep to myself whenever I’m trying to push through difficult work. I feel ashamed for taking a slower pace to process and work things out so I compensate by working longer hours to catch up.

In retrospect, I definitely have a strong case being grateful and feeling indebted for having a job in the industry at all even though it’s not my ultimate passion. I feel like I have to make the most with what I have due to my fear and shame of not being relevant anymore…the games and entertainment industry is a fast evolving field. Been comparing myself to others less as now I see that I’m paving my own path, however slow and inspired I am. I’m not even 100% sure what my ultimate passion is yet and perhaps I don’t have one…that’s fine too! At worst I want to do my best at the things I do at the cost of my personal time and well being. I want to eat all the cake so to speak.

And my heart goes out to contractors and freelancers.

I’ve been there. Countless people are in this boat. I’ve crunched for almost every freelance job several times over the hours that is paid during my rocky years of just freelancing. I’m usually underpaid because there is no overtime pay, how I need to take my time with my comprehensive process and I haven’t reached the point of being able to confidently do things effectively and efficiently for clients yet. I enjoy slowly exploring, learning, researching, studying and experimenting options too much. Some little degree of mastery.

If I wasn’t with Mighty, I fear and suspect that I wouldn’t survive as a freelancer in the industry.

Perhaps it’ll make me work harder on my art skills so I can reach that level of effectiveness…who knows. I’ll probably be lost, struggling to keep afloat, pretend to be a more extroverted self in order to survive and refusing to be on the horrible dole again. I consider myself privileged and lucky and for better or for worse, all this makes me work harder at my own expense and health. It’s an empty and depressing way to live…to always do things out of fear and insecurity.

As mentioned this “work ethic” and diligence of mine started since high school…where I crunched and usually focused on studies just to get good grades. Partially it’s because that’s when my mother got diagnosed with cancer and I wanted to make her happy by doing something stable as a career…especially as the eldest of the family. My parents were also immigrants from war so I was raised to work hard and be grateful that I am able to grow up and study as an Australian at all.

When I was studying at university and working during my brief teaching career, I crunched and burnt out consistently without overtime pay…it was definitely the norm for newbie graduate teachers and “hard working leading teachers who do extra curricular activities” where I worked. Sure there’s job security but since teaching was not what I enjoyed or was good at, it was one of the worst chapters of crunch and stress in my life.

Generally I’m usually pushing myself and doing new things each time…and I have that drive to do my best and make something I’m proud of at the expense of my sleep, time and health. Sometimes I have horrible tunnel vision and during my lowest of times, dangerously make it about my self worth and take it too seriously. It’s less about prestige for me…it’s more about whether I’m proud of it, if it’s close to what I envisioned and what I aspire to. I want to make good and effective art and I’m always not quite there yet in my eyes :<

All of this makes it hard for me to come back down to earth, be more realistic and figure out what’s “done, good enough and functional” versus “put in my best and soul into things to a high standard”.

Yes I’m getting better at figuring out scope and narrowing down what the client or people in my team actually need before I go into it too deep with my high expectations. Checking in and consistently establishing expectations before I go too far. Learning to care less about standards and prioritise my well being better. Learning to ask for help better. I’m not good at all of this but this crunch discussion has made me more self aware of my own flaws, weaknesses and a lifetime habit of working long hours.

Logically I know there’s more to life than art and creating.

It’s hard for me to reel it in when emotionally…all I want to do is have fun, play, learn, research, push the limits of time and make something I’m proud of. I don’t even dare call this “passion”. It’s pure stubborn perfectionism and tunnel vision at learning and creating.

Nowadays I’m learning to focus all these emotional desires in art and creativity to my personal work where deadlines are up to me to establish and are more flexible. Sometimes I’ll stay up late now and again but managing it so it’s flexible and that there’s recovery/recreational time afterwards with my well being in mind. Taking things in stride. I hope to figure out healthier ways to satisfy my creative needs. Still trying things out :<

With work it’s another beast.

This year I’m very much learning out of my comfort zone so I’m fighting that temptation to do more overtime even now…because I don’t want to crunch again, let down my colleagues and rack up even more overtime debt! Currently I’m slowly making up my overtime, find a better rhythm of working and unlearning my habit to work longer hours. I’m lucky people at Mighty have my back and are so understanding, patient and helpful with me <3

Why am I sharing all this vulnerable stuff and feelings??

Won’t people judge more harshly about me? Well that ship has sailed years ago. For selfish reasons, typing is how I best reflect and learn. Perhaps someone might actually read all of this and it helps them a little. I think most people don’t read this anyway because it’s too personal, rambly and sentimental. People don’t really care that much. Perhaps I should make future thoughts like these into a podcast to make it more accessible? ;P

Ultimately and always I have a lot of learning to do, I don’t know what I’m doing and that’s okay :’)

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