When CGS (Championship Gaming Series) closed it's doors in late 2008, I tried very hard to stay full-time in the world of gaming... but unfortunately I had difficulty finding a company who was hiring, and paying enough for me to support my family (Jade519, miniWHEAT, & the Cats) in Los Angeles (which is a very expensive place to live... and raise a family).
In early 2009 I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I either had to put my family at risk and try to make ends meet with various (and inconsistent) gaming gigs, or I had to fall back on my IT background and rejoin the Workforce in Corporate America. Technically, the decision WAS easy because family will always be #1... but what made it difficult is that my heart belongs to gaming and the thought of going back to "regular work" was not something I was ready to do.
So in 2009 I rejoined a company I had worked for previously, and took over the position as the Manager of their Remote Cloud Backup Service. This "8 to 5" job brought a level of stability back to my families lives and that allowed me to step back into gaming... but strictly from "hobby" standpoint.
For the past two years I've continued in this fashion. And below is an insight to my everyday life (under OneMoreGame) as a husband, a father, an IT Professional, and a broadcaster:
6:30AM - 7:00AM: Wake up. Get ready for work. Put on the shitty shirt and tie that we're required to wear. Say goodbye to the wife and the miniWHEAT.
7:30AM - 4:00PM: Arrive at work and get ready for a day of managing the team, improving the infrastructure, bringing on new clients, maintaining our current customers, 2nd level support... and whatever else gets thrown into the mix. I take a small lunch, usually dedicated to eating quickly and trying to catch up on everything going on in the world of eSports/Gaming. I try to sneak in some TL and reddit time during the day, but for the most part I am on the phone with customers and/or employees. I don't like my job much. It's not challenging, it's very repetitive (except when there are disasters - and it's sad to say these are my favorite times at work... simply because they present new challenges) - but the biggest benefit from the job is stability and knowing that this job provides everything I need for the family.
4:15PM - 5:30PM: Come home from work. Immediately begin working on the setup for the shows for that evening on OneMoreGame. I usually get about 15 minutes during this time to hang out with my wife and son.
6:00PM - 7:30PM: Shows are on air. This is a fun part of the day I am always happy with a Microphone in front of me.
7:30PM - 7:45PM: During the break before EG Masters Cup (or whatever we are covering) I usually say good night to miniWHEAT since he will probably be going to bed while I'm on-air. It's sad to think that I get about 1 hour with my son everyday. And I only hope that when he grows up he'll understand why I put so much time and effort into my hobbies.
EDIT: I feel less guilt about this now because miniWHEAT has begun school! And now that he's actively learning all day I feel much better about our quality time in the evenings. Thank goodness for Kindergarten!!!
8:00PM - 11:00PM: Casting EG Master's Cup.
11:00PM - Midnight: The one hour I get to enjoy with my wife. Whether it's just chit-chatting, watching TV, or playing some games... this is another valuable hour of the day that I can't imagine not having.
Rinse and Repeat.
At least on Thursdays and Fridays (which have no shows) I get to increase the time spend with my wife and son by several hours. This is also about the only time I get freetime to myself. It's usually poured right back into playing games or watching SC2 VODs.
Saturday is typically reserved for FAMILY day, and we always try to do something together to make up for all the lost time during the week. Sunday is a half-n-half day since the shows begin, but there's no work so at least I can put in some family time.
As I write this... I almost feel ashamed. Someone could look at this and go, "God Wheat... you put more into gaming than you do your own family". And I guess I can't deny that. Thankfully, I'm married to a wonderful woman who's been with me on my entire eSports journey. She knows that gaming and broadcasting are my passions and that I want more than anything to dedicate my entire professional career to it. The fact that she can even endure this type of schedule is beyond me... but she knows deep down why I do it... and she lets me continue to chase my dream.
As for miniWHEAT... I honestly hope that I'm laying a solid foundation for him to follow in my footsteps. Whether he turns out to be a Fireman, a Space Marine, a game commentator, or a pro-Gamer... at least he can see that if you pour your heart and soul into something you believe in... you can make your dreams happen.
I'm trying very hard to get back into gaming full-time, and I hope that OneMoreGame will be the start of that. I don't think about the content I'm currently producing... I think of all the content I COULD be producing if I could dedicate my 100% to it. The balance is very difficult though, and it's something I may have to deal with for my entire life.
It could be easy to just say, "FUCK IT"... accept the desk job for the rest of my life and be done with everything. But frankly, I think I would become a lifeless shell of nothing if I didn't have some level of gaming, production, and eSports in my life. I don't like to sit on the side lines... I like to be right in the middle of the action.
Thanks to everyone for supporting the new project, eSports, etc. but if you've made it this far... I want to ask you a favor. I want you to take a moment and thank all the people BEHIND the people in eSports. The JenJen's (@jade519 - my wife) and the miniWHEAT's (@djminiWHEAT - my son) of this industry who deal with the dedication of those in pro-gaming. Without them, I can't imagine any of this would even be possible.
For all you aspiring casters out there, who are also looking to do these things full-time... I offer you a bit of advice:
- Don't get burnt out. Trust me... it's VERY easy. And the more you juggle the bigger the possibility is that you will get completely burnt out. You never want to feel burnt doing the things you love... so be careful (I have to tell myself this constantly)
- If you're going to be in a relationship, you better find someone who is going to support you in EVERYTHING YOU DO. I'm fucking serious here. I would not be who I am in eSports if it wasn't for the support of my wife. My own best friends don't even understand why I dedicate so much time to eSports, but JenJen is different. She's seen me compete, she's seen me grow as a caster, she's always been there to bring light to even the darkest of times. If you don't have this support behind you... you will fail.
- Better have a backup plan. I'm fortunate enough that before I began casting (when I was first playing Quake Professionally) I put alot of time and effort into schooling and specifically Information Technology. While it's great to be working in gaming full-time, you have to remember that we're still a fairly unstable and fragile industry. One day you could have a job doing this or that, and 2 years later everything could change. For your own sanity, safety, and future... you should be able to answer the question: "What would I do in life if I wasn't working in gaming full-time?"
I'm happy to finally write this blog... I hope that it can provide some good insight for those wondering and for any aspiring casters, players, writers, etc who want to get into full-time gaming. I'm always happy to advise and consult in these types of things, and make myself available to anyone who may have questions or seek direction.
Bortlett Asks: How much do your coworkers know about your casting? Is it tough to get time off work to travel to various events such as MLG?
I'm glad you asked that question. My co-workers know that I'm this "guy who goes to gaming events", but I'm not sure that any of them quite understand just how deep my involvement goes. And that's fine with me. I'm happy to separate the two from one another (even though it would be awesome to work with a StarCraft nerd to two [we have zero... they all play CoD and crap like that]).
But more importantly, I wanted to talk about that time off. I have 3 weeks of vacation (because I've worked at this company for so long). When I take time off to do an event, I have to tap into my own vacation in order to do it. It really sucks. Because I would love to say YES to every opportunity that comes around. A great example is the Dreamhack series. I love those guys over there and would have loved to be involved with them this year, but with such a limited amount of vacation I have to consider things like, "how many days would I be traveling", "if I go do this event, can I go do these other events?". It's another aspect of delicate balance I have to deal with. It's also the reason why I have to favor the NA events over the EU events. Because an EU event can mean 5 days away from work which is a large chunk of vacation. I want to cry every time Day and I talk about doing an event that I cannot goto because of this limited vacation. Probably one of the worst things about the job.
Another problem with this is that my "bank" job can't always be so flexible. If a big project is underway or a major disaster happens, I may be called to duty. So every time I sign on to do an event, I'm praying that shit works while I'm gone :D I'm lucky enough to not have dealt with this (minus a few conflicts with work meetings/trips that prevented me from doing some coverage).