A lot has happened since my last update, but so much of it goes far beyond my career and into my personal life… So the only way I know how to tell this is as a story. I hope that’s okay!
A New Goal
Back in November, I had been living at home with my parents in Queens for about 5 months, since my graduation from RIT in May. I had spent those months building up skills in the areas I felt lacking, while working doing freelance work on the Music Theory Trainer. I had created a website, started building a portfolio, participated in multiple game jams, and was regularly attending classes and networking events in NYC.
But even though I was enjoying this lifestyle, my life was suddenly accelerated by a brand new goal that changed everything. I wanted to move to Boston, and I wanted to do it by Spring 2014.
Why Boston? A number of reasons:
- My girlfriend Marie and I were getting serious, but we were still long distance and wanted to end up in the same city.
- Boston is new for both us. We were thinking longterm and wanted to build a new life together in a new place that neither one of us was more familiar with.
- Boston has great school districts for Marie (she is a Music teacher), and a game industry far more developed than my hometown NYC.
- Boston is in the Northeast, which means we are close to our respective hometowns, and also means that people are in general more liberal in lifestyle and belief.
- Boston is, independent of everything I just said, a wonderful city.
And why the deadline?
Because Marie was set to finish her Masters in Music Education (University at Buffalo) by May 2014. That meant that she could be applying to jobs as early as March. I knew that if I could be living and working in Boston by that time, then taking a job there would be much easier for her.
A New Drive
Moving to Boston meant leaving the financial safety net of my parents’ place, which meant I needed a more stable job than my freelance work. I had avoided job applications up until this point, because I was so insecure that I actually tricked myself into believing that it wasn’t worth it! But this new goal and deadline gave me a whole new level of motivation, and I was ready to face my irrational fear of failure.
So I began applying to entry-level programming, design, an QA positions at game companies in Boston. It was a long and grueling process, ending in both bad and good news.
The bad: I learned that I was indeed under-qualified for many positions because my skills were too broad and developed enough in any particular direction. I also learned that I had a disadvantage because I was not living in Boston and networking with my potential employers.
The good: I learned that I actually wasn’t that far behind! Even though I didn’t land a job, I definitely turned some heads with the unique nature of my experience, the quality of my cover letters, and my general ability to articulate my understanding of Game Design. I knew that I was at least a typical aspiring designer and that I definitely had the talent and drive to become a standout one.
Filled with new confidence, I set out to try again and try harder. But before I could even begin my second round, something unexpected happened: The NYC Games Forum, an organization that ran Demo Nights and classes on game development was looking for a “Boston Community Manager”.
A New Opportunity
I’m not one to believe in fate, but this was simply unreal.
These guys wanted someone who could plan and run quality events – skills I built running/planning concerts and gigs as General Manager of Eight Beat.
They wanted someone who could design classes – something I understood very well after 3 years of experience teaching a cappella music to engineers and computer scientists.
They wanted someone who understood the Games Industry and what aspiring game creators want to see and learn – which I knew very well after a lifetime of dreaming and a half a year immersing myself in the NYC community.
And to top it off, they wanted someone they could train in NYC and then send to Boston – which matched me perfectly especially since I was living with my parents and not tied down to a lease.
I did the math, and I realized that the part time job could let me finish my freelance work and potentially fund my own personal projects. Applying was a no-brainer so I gave it 200% and landed the job!! The next two months I trained in NYC and found a 6-month lease in Boston. Things were moving fast and yet none of it compared to my next life-changing realization…
I realized that I want to spend the rest of my life with Marie.
A New Destiny
Out of nowhere, it was suddenly so obvious. The drive I felt to get to Boston was like nothing else I had ever experienced before in my entire life, and I knew that at the core of it was love. I realized that I had long ago learned to truly love Marie for who she was as a person, far beyond the summation of her qualities; and rather than flaws I could only see differences that I loved just as much. I couldn’t picture my future without her, and there was no one else I would rather start a family with. It was time for me to take the next step.
At first I chose May (near her graduation) as the month to propose. But I couldn’t fight this feeling inside of me – I knew that we were both ready, and I couldn’t stand to keep my newly developed feelings inside of me anymore. I needed her to know that I was ready to commit to marriage and I couldn’t wait any longer to make her my fiancé.
So in the course of just three weeks: I found myself a ring, rounded up my a cappella brothers, invited Marie on a full-day Rochester date (where we met and fell in love), and surprised her in our favorite park with a heart of roses in the snow and a custom a cappella arrangement of a song she loved. On March 8th I asked Marie to marry me and she said yes!!
A New Life
So fast-forward to today, and this is where I am:
- I am the Boston Community Manager of The Games Forum. I run Demo Nights and classes and I get to work directly with aspiring game creators just like me.
- I live in Boston, and I am loving every new experience in this beautiful city.
- I am engaged (!!!!!), my fiancé will be moving in with me this September, and we are getting married in Fall 2015!!
And I have never been happier =)