Job History in 10 Questions
An Independent Game Developer

"I'm a good example of 'follow your passion,' but I think it's bad advice."

“I’m a good example of ‘follow your passion,’ but I think it’s bad advice.”

Name: Tim
Age: 31
Industry: Video games
Title: Independent game developer (self-employed)
Location: San Francisco, CA

Most interesting job you’ve ever had?

I would say the most interesting moment in my recent career was when I was hired at my previous job and got the opportunity to design and develop my own game. I happened to join at a good time when they’d just received a lot of investment money and were looking to create interesting content for a new online world. Every new hire was asked to pitch and build a game. I had a few ideas I’d fleshed out a little bit, and there was one was the most obvious choice. That idea became Corpse Craft. It was totally unexpected and exciting.

Least interesting job you’ve ever had?

Working as a dishwasher. That was torture.

Any role models or mentors?

I wish I did have a mentor; that’s been something I’ve felt is lacking in my career. I’ve had a couple of role models at previous jobs – both were the heads of the company I worked for at the time and I respected and admired them. My biggest role model is my dad. He started his own non-profit organization when he was thirty one – the age I am now. He just retired from that job this year.

A difficult decision or situation you’ve had to deal with recently?

Oh, I have a mini crisis every couple of weeks or so where I lose faith in my ability to design a compelling game that people will play.

One goal you have for yourself?

I want to ship a game!

One rejected goal you have for yourself?

I recently chose not to stick with a project that I had already worked on for six months. It’s something I still think about and would like to resume at some point, but it’s unrealistic for me right now.

Most embarrassing work behavior you’re willing to admit?

Occasionally – but not frequently! – I will spend the entire day playing video games.

Is your career what you thought it would be?

No. I did think I would be a computer programmer, but I did not anticipate getting into game design. I still feel like I need to prove myself in that area. I think I have a long way to go.

A job or career you’d pursue if you could start all over again?

I wouldn’t change what I do. I would have made some different decisions in how I went about things, though, particularly trying to do professional design work earlier.

Follow your passion, or let your passion follow you?

I am a good example of following your passion, but I don’t think it’s very good advice and it’s not how I’ve thought about my own decisions. When I was younger it wasn’t something I concerned myself with, and when I got older I was lucky to be in a field that could pay me a nice amount for work I genuinely like to do. I don’t like the “follow your passion” slogan because it’s too simplistic. It feels like history being written by the winners – whoever is giving you that advice happens to have a passion that they were able to turn into a career, but that is a narrow way of viewing your options.

Read more from Tim on Twitter.


  1. steph

    Such an interesting profile! Thanks for sharing, Tim, and for your honesty about the difficulty of following your passion.

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