An interview with a Ukrainian who relocated to Amsterdam and got hired by PUBG
Tell me where you worked after CCP, how did it happen that you got hired by PUBG Corporation?
I wanted to take the time and think about my career, life, the universe and all that, but I got headhunted by Mycom (Mail.ru Group) following the layoffs in CCP while I was at the event for players in Amsterdam. I visited their office, attended several interviews, everything went well. They made an interesting offer, and to be honest, I always thought that I would like to live in Amsterdam, so I decided to take their offer for a senior position and relocate. I really like Iceland, but I have to admit that it is not the easiest country to live in, so it was easy to make up my mind about relocating.
As for PUBG, I started playing it in September 2018, for me, it was more of a casual experience, especially when compared to the hardcore level of the game in EVE Online. PUBG undoubtedly grew strongly and became a noticeable phenomenon, this game always intrigued me. And in Amsterdam, our offices were located nearby. I learned about an opening in PUBG from a couple of friends, I also learned about it from a recruiting agency with which I spoke. At that moment I already fell in love with life in Amsterdam, so I applied.
Tell us about relocation to Amsterdam (documents, housing, difficulties), did the company help with the relocation?
Helping employees with relocation is a fairly common practice in the game development industry, so in both cases Mail.ru and PUBG offered support. In the Netherlands, if you apply for a visa for highly skilled immigrants to be able to work in the country, the process must be initiated by the employer. For me, this greatly simplified the situation because I did not have to deal with papers.
The biggest problem was the transportation of my belongings to the Netherlands from Iceland. It took a lot more paperwork than I expected, so I had to spend almost 2 months without my stuff.
Finding an apartment was also quite easy, especially when compared to Iceland, where nothing can ever be found for rent and everything that is there is wildly expensive. A friend had been looking for housing for me before my relocation, so I was able to check in literally two hours after landing. A huge number of hotels is also available here, so when I was looking for an apartment at the end of my first year in Amsterdam, I stayed with friends for a while and then briefly moved to the Student Hotel (and I highly recommend it).
In the end, I managed to win a rental lottery (this is literally a lottery between the potential tenants, the local rental market is also problematic). I settled in an excellent three-story house in the south-eastern part of the city, near the park. The only oddity was that I had to redo the flooring there, install the lighting and paint the walls. But, as I was told, it is a common practice there, especially for new buildings. You can even sell your flooring to the next tenant or, um, take it with you when you leave.
Can you compare with previous relocation experience?
The Netherlands is very friendly to expats, from my personal experience. All immigration requirements are simple and clear, and the mountains of paperwork are much lower than in Iceland or the UK. The last two, to put it mildly, are unfriendly to immigrants. But the Dutch, it seems to me, understand the value of this phenomenon, so the system is built reasonably in this regard. Dutch compared to Icelandic is far simpler, I still do not speak it, but the context is more or less clear.
Here, obviously, you can see much more than in Iceland, transport seems to be also cheaper. The weather is much milder, although the winds often resemble Icelandic ones.
The easiest way to commute in the city is by public transport or, of course, by bicycle. It seems to me that getting a car here makes no sense, it is very expensive because of the crazy parking fees (besides, by 2030 Amsterdam will ban petrol and diesel cars – Ed.). And in Iceland – on the contrary, one cannot do without a car.
About working at PUBG:
Tell me about the selection procedure, interview, is it difficult to get a job in the company? Were there any odd requirements upon enrollment?
Interview at PUBG so far has been the best experience of my whole career in game dev. The process is surprisingly fast and hassle-free. I think there were only five interviews in the span of one month. I don’t recall any odd requirements. I had to start almost instantly, but it was even to my advantage since my contract with the previous employer had ended.
What are the conditions of work here? Is it forbidden to play Fortnite?
PUBG is a great place to work in. There’s a myriad of perks, the office is a mere two minutes’ walk from a large metro station and train station, the team is constantly expanding. This is probably the most multicultural company of all the companies I worked in. We have over a dozen different nationalities here, employees always converse with each other, we play games together.
Tell me about your area of responsibility: what are you doing?
Usually, my friends, speaking of my work, suggest something to the tune of “Oh, so you spend days on Twitter,” which, of course, is far from reality. Job requirements differ from company to company; roles that vary in seniority imply different responsibilities. But in general, SMM is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s strategy in social networks: on which platforms the company is presented, why, what is its “voice and tone of communication”, budgeting, etc. The work actually never ends, even if you have set everything up, you continue to research, analyze, collect data to adjust future projects.
What distinguishes the audience of PUBG from other games? What is the best (and worst of all) thing the audience reacts to?
I cannot comment on this.
Was there any experience resolving some kind of a tricky situation (disgruntled players, etc.), how did you manage to cope? Does the company have any guidelines in place for such cases, or are you free to do whatever you deem necessary?
I cannot publicly share the docs, access to which is restricted to employees (speaking about guidelines). In addition, my role is not related to communicating directly with the players. However, I am involved in resolving conflict situations at a strategic level.