I worked for over 4 years as a customer support representative at Ubisoft in the US. It's a soul-crushing job that really shouldn't have any reason to be. The customers are usually great, the coworkers are awesome, and the product is literally video games.
Naturally, the problem is the corporate work culture. Under capitalism, large businesses can't let anything be comfortable if cutting that comfort means more profit for folks at the top and for the investors. Growth is king.
So why did I stay for so long? I'm a gamer and I know how I'd want to be treated if I ran into an issue in a game or with my account. I felt like things could be better and I wanted to help make those improvements a reality. Recently, I finally remembered that great Ubisoft villain, Vaas, from Far Cry 3:
" The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. "
Quitting was not enough for me. I still wanted to try to leave things better than I found them. So I started writing my resignation letter. This was going to ruffle some feathers…
What follows is a version of that open letter. I do not and will not name any names and I have removed references to internal information.
I'm posting this here because the original was purged from the email servers before most of my colleagues could read it. Some of those that did told me it meant a lot to them and I wanted to try to make this available again.
Yes, this is a letter full of grievances but it's also a letter celebrating what I loved about the job and maybe inspiring the awesome people I left behind to demand better. Maybe you're in a similarly dehumanizing job. Whoever you are, this letter is for you:
. Where I can, I will try to keep this constructive.
Since we don't announce when anyone leaves anymore, I thought I would go ahead and take the liberty. After more than 4 years of deluding myself that Player First meant something, it's time for me to throw in the towel and follow in the steps of so many talented agents, specialists, and leads, back out from the cult of Ubisoft and into the real world with my head held high. This is effective immediately.
This letter is, among other things, a chance to say my peace and close the door behind me so that I may never make the mistake of coming back a third time. This will likely burn any chance I have of working on a high-profile game ever again but if there is even a chance this could improve things for the teams I'm leaving behind and the players I had the pleasure to work with, it's all worth it.
I'm going to miss many of you. In my time here I have met a number of my closest friends and most respected colleagues. In particular I want to share just how grateful I am to everyone who was cool when I made my big announcement. Your support literally changed my life.
To the players I worked with, I enjoyed speaking with around 97% of you. Even when I had to give someone bad news or let one of you know you were requesting something unreasonable I had an opportunity to have a human connection and a chance to show someone kindness who might just have been having an awful day. I will truly miss the chance to work with you all further.
Except the racists, the Nazis, the cheaters, and the phishers. You can all go screw yourselves. I've been waiting to say that for a while.
Players, demand better from Ubisoft and remember that the agents are just doing what they can with what little resources they are provided. If you want better support, leave negative reviews any time you are ever feeling underserved so that the powers that be can't pretend everything is rosy.
To all the agents and specialists who care about providing a quality service to players, even at personal cost, you're the real heroes. Maybe someday someone will reward you for your efforts instead of holding you hostage to stacked metrics beyond your control.
To everyone supporting the agents: I didn't know many of you well but I think the ones I enjoyed working with know who they are. Thanks for being the foundation holding this flimsy department aloft.
To Upper Management: I have nothing constructive to say to you that I haven't proposed in some shape or form over the last few years through the proper channels and been told there was no way it could happen.
It's going to take a lot more than me quitting for you to start caring about your employees' mental health and on the job stress, or about whether they feel like an actual part of one of the most profitable companies on Earth. We sure aren't paid like it.
I remain grateful to management for explicitly letting me know I made the same wages as Target employees, something I had not fully realized until that point. Target associates make more in base wages than we do at the NC CRC and are often offered more schedule stability. For reference, the Target base pay is $15. Support work for the RTP area ranges from about $14 to $30 per hour.
Even McDonald's and Walmart have expressed an openness to raising their base pay to $15 in the near future.
Ubisoft reported roughly $2,137,000,000 USD in revenue for 2019. How much of those profits did YOU get to share in after profitability bonuses were removed for all permanent employees below the Associate Director level?
Before I made this decision, I was in the process of applying, for the second time, for a job at the literal same rate of pay I'm already at, but with significantly expanded responsibilities. That's how much this company has made me question my own worth. No more.
A few parting thoughts for the agents I'm leaving behind:
– Do not work on the expectation that this job will lead to glowing professional references you can use in the industry outside of Ubisoft (except from other ex-Ubisoft employees). At best they'll confirm you worked for them and what title you had. (Check the employee handbook)
– Learn every skill you can there quickly and leave before you get attached, like I wish I had.
– Unionize. It would be catastrophic if there was a work stoppage in Support. What are they going to do? Grab a bunch of folks off the street and train them in less than a week (again)? Call back the folks they just finished furloughing? You have the power if you want it.
Be excellent to each other. I wish you all the best in your future gaming endeavors.
Finally, I want to draw attention to a video that I had wished gained more traction at release:
I don't know BikiniBodhi from any other player/influencer and I can't comment on the contents of this video, but you owe it to yourselves to give it a watch if you haven't already.
I hope my words helps someone whose job makes them feel less than human. We're all born deserving of love and care. It's the systems that need to change.
Thank you for reading.
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