It’s Nice to Be Important, But It’s More Important to Be Nice

There are lots of different kind of people out there. You can see all around you people who think differently about titles. I’ve seen some publicly awarded game producers and leaders who “know” that they are important and make a big notes about their titles and achievements. I’ve also seen people who keep a very low profile (maybe even lower than they should!) and don’t give a rat’s (bottom) about titles.

Some educated people are also very keen to remind everybody about their achievements. While it’s nice to be important… I definitely think it’s much more important to be nice. Game producers who make a big note about their importance won’t go very far with their team if they think they are more important than the other team members. You have probably worked in a team who had a team leader – or someone with “higher rank” than you. If you think about those times, do you think you gave more respect to those who were “more important” than you (or made sure you knew that they “were more important”)? Or was it perhaps so that the leaders with fancy titles were okay – as long as they treated you and the rest of the team well?

Do you know what Dalai Llama responded when he was asked what he thought about people who spoke to him as “His Holiness The Dalai Lama”?

If you think about that for a moment. One of the most known religious figures in the world – how would he react when somebody spoke to him with such respect? I’m sure some religious figures would be proud. He didn’t. In fact, he laughed warmly. He didn’t make a big note about the title he had. Surely, others did – but when he spoke to others he concentrated on the “being nice” rather “being important”. He left titles away, and concentrated on relevant issues. Can you see what a big difference it makes in being respected? If he would keep saying and mentioning how holy he is, it might make him just another (religious) “leader” in the world.

I must add that it’s okay to tell what you have accomplished. It’s okay to be proud about your accomplishments. If you finish a game or demo or can help someone, that’s great and definitely something to be proud of. It’s okay to tell what you have done so that other people can get a better picture about you and your work. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t tell others what you have done, I’m simply saying that the moment you start to think that “being important” (or “more important than others”) is your goal then you are heading to wrong direction. It doesn’t matter if you call yourself “game producer” or not. What matters is what you do and how you treat others. If you treat others well in your team, and if you make games – you’ll see that it means nothing (in terms of importance) to call yourself a “game producer”. That is just a title which helps other people to know what you do. Nothing more, nothing less.

You can call yourself “game producer” if you wish, and that’s completely fine. It’s much easier to distinguish “car seller” from “game producer” if people have labels after their names. Similarly it’s much easier to talk to the right person if you can see “assistant game producer” or “executive game producer” next to people’s names.

Titles are fine as long as they serve a purpose – and their purpose is not about being more important than others.

6 thoughts on “It’s Nice to Be Important, But It’s More Important to Be Nice

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  5. benjismith

    I couldn’t agree more.

    When I was a teenager, my mom bought me a poster with those exact words on it. “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

    It’s one of the most important lessons I learned as a kid (probably second only to the interminable work ethic I learned from my dad), and I always try to keep it in perspective in my professional life.

    I used to be a junior programmer too, making mistakes and learning how to develop software by trial-and-error (I don’t have a CS degree), so I try to be patient with (for example) the guy from QA who is desperately trying to establish himself as a developer.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Reply

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