Fitting in to new job


#1

Hi,

I recently started a new position as a vfx/tech-artists a very well known company and I feel like I might not be living up to expectations? I’ve been on a proprietary engine for the first three years of my career and yeah lots of things are similar but the place I’m at uses unreal and I feel like I’m having to constantly ask people around me questions and it gets to the point where I’m spending a lot of time simply googling things to see how to do something I want to do and how it’s done in unreal.

This is only my second job out of college and I just feel like I’m not producing stuff as fast as they want me to even though, to be fair it’s only my first week.

Any tips on how to get over this anxiety? Is it all in my head? I definitely have what it takes to make the things I want to make happen, but it’s taking me longer than I would usually be able to do at my old studio and I feel like it’s taking longer for me to complete a task (like a day or two) that others here could do very easily in literally two hours or so.

I was very clear that the last time I used unreal was in school so I don’t think I misrepresented myself and they saw my portfolio, so not sure where I should be right now in terms of “being on the ball”

What’s the usual ramp up time? Any advice is welcomed, thank you.


#2

Asking questions is usually not a problem. Make sure to keep notes though (Evernote or Onenote are good tools for building your own knowledge base) because asking things more than once may annoy people.

If you feel you are asking a lot, have a chat with your lead and colleagues. Finding a dedicated mentor can be a good thing. Your lead then knows that one of his guys will work a bit slower due to helping you - but that’s okay because it’s known and work can be planned around this. A mentor can also help you to better direct your learning so it fits with your role’s requirements.

Good luck!


#3

I second the talk with your lead / get a mentor advice.

Also its your first week, with new tools, new pipelines, and new teammates. Of course you’re going to be slower.

I can’t speak for others, but it took me months after my last job shift to really start feeling like I knew what was going on and how I fit into everything, and honestly months more before I was really back in my groove productivity wise.


#4

Getting used to a new environment is always hard : besides the “above the water” issues (new tech and tools to learn) there are always a lot of submerged issues that don’t become obvious right away:

  • this process is broken and nobody wants to tackle fixing it
  • this tool sucks but the person who wrote it is politically powerful and you can’t complain too loudly
  • that department is unreasonably demanding
  • … etc

There’s no shortcut to learning that stuff – you just have to keep your eyes and ears open, and talk to lots of people. It’s great to find an ‘sponsor’ or ‘mentor’ but don’t listen only to one person: being a TA is all about building a network of relationships anyway so don’t be shy!

As for tech stuff, a really good first task in a new environment is to write or update the documentation for the basic artist workflow. Almost every company does a terrible job of documenting things – it’s rare for a new hire to sit down at a fresh machine and have a clear, well written set of steps to produce content with the studio toolkit Talk to your lead about creating or updating whatever docs there are – it’s a good way to learn how to use them while also providing value. Writing the docs will also force you to talk to people, since most tools have odd edge cases or bizarre limitations that you’ll have to investigate. More often than not each strange bit goes back to one person who had to make a tough call – finding that person and understanding the call is a great way to start learning how those underwater issues affect the tech.