Women are taking the reins developing, designing and marketing video games. In this article, Lisa Wackenhuth Svanström, a 3D Artist at Star Stable Entertainment, a multiplayer game full of horses, magic and adventure, offers career advice to young women who may want a career in the video game industry.
(BPT) - Careers in the video game industry are highly desirable, and for good reason. Working for a video game company can be rewarding, and equally important, turns a favorite pastime into an exciting career. However, for tween and teen girl gamers, the prospect of one day working in the video game industry may seem daunting. While 46% of the U.S. gamer population is female, women account for only 22% of video game developers.
Women are taking the reins developing, designing and marketing video games. Lisa Wackenhuth Svanström, a 3D Artist at Star Stable Entertainment, a multiplayer game full of horses, magic and adventure, offers career advice to young women who may want a career in the video game industry:
1. What inspired you to build a career in the video game industry?
I am a life-long gamer, artist and digital creator and now, my official title at Star Stable is 3D Artist. Working for a company like this allows me to unite my interests and skills to create magic for girl
2. What are the types of jobs for women in the development studio?
To build a game, artists (3D, 2D, VFX and animators), designers and programmers need to work closely together from start to finish. Artists work on the overall creative vision. Designers work with the mechanics and features. Then, programmers use their coding knowledge to bring it all to life. We work with producers to make sure that all tasks associated with the development process are completed on time and tracking with the overall vision of the project. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, developers focused on mobile and virtual/mixed reality are in high demand, as are tech animators, who use a combination of creative and animation skills to solve issues related to art production.
3. What other types of jobs do women have in the industry outside the development studio?
I have built my career in game art, but it takes dozens of people with specific skillsets for a video game company to succeed. Community managers interact with players daily to ensure they are having a positive experience with the game and make sure fan feedback is implemented. We also have women running the business at the executive level and as product managers and business developers. There are multiple opportunities, inside and out of the development studio, so you must embrace your skills and interests to find which career path you would enjoy most.
4. What are the most important skills needed to succeed?
I recommend that budding video game developers find a network, get to know different game engines, become familiar with 2D and 3D software, and try new games all the time. Then, become a specialist in the aspect that interests you the most. Developing specific skills is important but developing into a well-rounded person with a broad view of the world is equally important. It is also good to dive into sports, learn the arts, take a computer class or explore theater. Never stop learning and challenging yourself.
5. What advice do you have for young girls who want a career in video games?
It’s also important to find a company that embraces women in all roles and embodies a culture of inclusivity and accessibility — the Star Stable team is more than 50% women. Finally, give back. If every woman who is part of the 22% proactively mentors other young women, imagine the next generation who will one day grow up to become our colleagues!
You spend a good portion of your life at work. You need a job to live and thrive. Over time, you may realize that your current employment is not working for you. While it is nicer to be on vacation than to be at work, no one should dread going to a job. There are several important indicators that it is time for a new career.
There Is No More Opportunity to Grow
It can be frustrating when it seems like your colleagues are advancing while you are sitting still. It may be that you do not have the education to go beyond your current level at work. It may be that management likes you where you are. No matter how hard you try, you remain in the same position. If you keep getting passed up for promotion, it may be time to take your life in a new direction.
Your Workplace Culture Is Toxic
One of the challenges of a workplace is the variety of personalities you must interact with. There will always be difficult people. However, some workplaces have troubling relationship dynamics. There may be cliques or other unhealthy groupings. Poor management may have given more authority to domineering personalities. The place may have developed a culture where gossip and disrespect are tolerated. Your workmates may not be your best friends, but you should be able to work together to accomplish what is best for the company.
Your Unique Skills Are Wasted
Every person brings a different skill set to the table. However, your current position may not use some of the gifts that give you the most fulfillment. If you love to code but spend your days filing paperwork, both you and your company are missing out on your skills. If you love interacting with people but spend all your time in a cubicle, it is natural to be frustrated by your work. Look for a career that uses your unique skills and gifts.
Your Commute Makes You Contemplate Vehicular Homicide
Even if you have a great job, getting to and from work can be a real burden. That time you spend in the car is time you could be doing something more productive. Your commute can also be a source of heavy stress that can have serious long-term health consequences. Your commute gets even more dangerous if you're traveling through town, as intersections are famously prone to car accidents. Unless you have the perfect position at work, consider looking for a job a little closer to home.
You’re Only There for the Paycheck
With the amount of time you spend at work, it should be more fulfilling. You are going to spend years working. While the paycheck is important, you also should be looking to do something that gives you purpose. Think about your personal goals in life. If this job is not working towards those goals, it may be time to look for something else.
Seeking a new career can be a risk. You may not love your current position, but at least you know what you are getting. Instead of settling for a mediocre job, find a career that gives you joy. As the saying goes, “If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”
If you have an undying thirst for travel, combining your work with pleasure will provide the most opportunities to satisfy your wanderlust. Choosing a career in a travel-related industry will deliver exceptional opportunities to travel for free or at reduced costs. Here are three exciting careers to consider if you love to travel.
Cruise Line Worker
The great thing about working on a cruise line is that there is truly a job for every interest. As long as you love being on the sea, a cruise line career is perfect for those people who want to travel and explore. Your home will be in the same place as your job, giving you an easy commute each day and allowing you to save even more money since your room and board is covered. You will also bond with your co-workers and be able to hang out and have fun on your days off. Cruise lines employ people from all over the world, opening you up to new experiences and the opportunity to connect with people from different nationalities and cultures.
While the internet has made it easier than ever to book your own travel, there is still a demand for professional travel agents. This job has less travel opportunities, but if you’re already well-traveled, it can be the perfect way to help others fulfill their dreams of traveling. First, decide what kind of travel agent you want to be. Picking a specialization will help you to hone your trade. Be sure that you are up to date on the latest technology and trends in the industry. There are also a variety of certifications available that will make you more attractive to potential clients.
The travel benefits of being a flight attendant are vast. Not only do you get to travel for free and reduced rates, but many airlines also offer complimentary companion tickets so that your friends and family can travel with you. Flight attendants also enjoy flexible scheduling which allows them to work in more travel into their daily life. Overnight flights allow you to see the world, and get paid to do so! International flights are especially helpful for when you want to incorporate travel for pleasure into your work schedule.
Once you find the right career fit for you, your travel dreams can truly take off. The only thing left to do now is to pack your bags and start the career adventure of a lifetime.
Looking for more Career Ideas? Start reading here.
During the summer months especially, many employers plan events and switch up work schedules to give their team members a break to enjoy some fun in the sun. Extra days off, summer hours and company picnics are just a few of the ways employers create an enjoyable environment for their employees. One of the latest benefits to come to the corporate world is incorporating a dog-friendly atmosphere. Keeping these five tips in mind when bringing your furry friend to work can help ensure a fun and safe time for all.
5 Tips for Bringing Your Pet to Work this Summer
(Family Features) During the summer months, many employers plan events and switch up work schedules to give their team members a break to enjoy some fun in the sun. Extra days off, summer hours and company picnics are just a few of the ways employers create an enjoyable environment for their employees.
In a competitive talent market, employers are typically looking for new ways to provide the latest and greatest in employee benefits, eager to be the best place to work. One of the latest benefits to come to the corporate world is incorporating a dog-friendly atmosphere. In fact, a survey from Mars Petcare found that 87 percent of employers in the United States believe that being dog-friendly helps them retain and attract more talent.
“Having pets in the workplace can boost morale, increase physical activity and even improve productivity,” said Cheryl DeSantis, vice president of people and organization at Mars Petcare. “Our survey findings also discovered that nearly half of pet parents are concerned their pets are lonely while they are at work, and nearly 40 percent worry their dogs need to be walked and are either hungry or thirsty while they’re home alone. Bringing their pets to work with them can drastically eliminate these concerns.”
Keeping these five tips in mind when bringing your furry friend to work can help ensure a fun and safe time for all:
To learn more about how to safely bring your pup to work this summer, visit BetterCitiesForPets.com, where you can download the Pets Work at Work toolkit and find more information on the survey results.
Photo courtesy of iStockSOURCE:
To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs.
(BPT) - If you’ve ever felt tense, anxious or simply unable to relax while performing your job, you’re far from alone.
A recent survey by the American Institute of Stress found 80 percent of U.S. workers across industries have felt stress in the workplace; nearly half say they could use help dealing with it and 42 percent said their co-workers could use some relief.
To the delight of animal lovers everywhere, awareness of the physical, mental and emotional toll taken by stress is leading progressive employers to create take-your-pet-to-work programs. For example, for the past 20 years Purina has encouraged its associates to bring their pets to work, and in a typical week hundreds of dogs and cats enjoy spending time with their owners at the pet food maker’s St. Louis campus.
"Pets bring a wealth of benefits — both physical and emotional — to pet owners and their families, so it's no surprise those same benefits also apply to the workplace and employees," notes Dr. Kurt Venator, Purina's chief veterinary officer. "Whether a pet helps provide a calming sense during a challenging situation or encourages employees to take a walk during their lunch break, here at Purina we experience the benefits of pets at work every day, and want others to as well."
As more and more companies adopt a pets-at-work policy, consider these facts based on a recent Purina report about the many advantages of such programs:
* They can benefit health: Pet-employee interaction has been shown to reduce the employees' blood pressure and cholesterol levels in addition to alleviating anxiety.
* They can improve employee retention: Sixty-three percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces say they’re very satisfied with their work environments — nearly twice as many as those in other workplaces. In fact, respondents rank the option of bringing pets at work as the second most-valuable employee perk — more valuable than free coffee and parking. Overall, three in five survey participants wish their workplace would institute a pet-friendly policy.
* They can alleviate loneliness: Eight in 10 employees who can bring pets to work say that activity makes them feel more happy, relaxed and sociable. That's partly because talking about pets can be an ice breaker, making it easier for people to approach co-workers and get to know them better.
* They can promote physical activity: Many employees spend breaks and lunchtime playing with their pets or taking them for walks, boosting their own aerobic activity at the same time.
* They can increase pets’ happiness: Rather than staying home waiting for their owners to arrive, pets get to socialize with new people, play with other pets and enjoy more activity. Nearly nine of 10 people in the survey agree that bringing their pets to work strengthens owner-pet bonding.
In light of the proven benefits, Purina encourages other employers to consider allowing pets in the workplace. A toolkit with tips and information is provided at Purina.com.
“Our goal with our report is to continue to raise awareness of the benefits of taking pets to work and to arm employees and employers with insights that can help facilitate pet-friendly environments within their companies,” notes Dr. Venator.
Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape. If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed.
5 Ways to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace
(Family Features) Although women are making strides in the corporate world, there is still work that can be done to level the landscape.
Research from Catalyst, a global nonprofit focused on empowering and accelerating women in business, shows the needle is moving, albeit slowly. In nearly 10 years, the number of women in senior roles in the United States increased just 1 percent. At Standard & Poor's 500 index companies, overall women’s representation is far behind: 5.2 percent CEOs, 11 percent top earners and 26.5 percent senior-level officials and managers. Less than 5 percent of senior level positions are held by women of color. Men still lead more than 95 percent of the most powerful companies in the United States.
If you’re looking for ways to promote change in your workplace, explore these five steps that can help build a work environment where everyone can advance and succeed:
Engage in programs that celebrate women of color. Tap into resources that honor women in leadership and foster growth for aspiring women leaders from racially and ethically diverse backgrounds, such as those available through Catalyst. The nonprofit offers a host of ongoing workshops, programs, trainings and consulting services designed to promote inclusive workplaces, along with events around the world. For example, the “Catalyst Skyline Takeover,” which is a visual realization of the international business community’s commitment to greater diversity, inclusion and gender equality in workplaces around the world, features dozens of global companies “lighting up” their buildings with the female symbol.
Assess and formalize pay scales. As numerous studies indicate, wage disparity is one of the most obvious signs of inequality in the workplace. A fair pay scale outlines specific responsibilities and corresponding compensation rates, and can be applied to roles across the board regardless of race, gender or other potential discriminatory factors.
Ensure growth opportunities exist. Leveling the pay scale is an important step, but ensuring equal access to the positions at the higher end of that scale is an essential supporting move. Simply saying you’ll pay a woman the same as a man in the same job falls short if all candidates, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity are not given the same chance to compete for more senior positions.
Implement mentorship programs. Positive role models can give future leaders the vision to dream big and the guidance to make those dreams a reality. Putting aspiring women leaders in close contact with other women who have attained success in their field helps set a course toward achievement. It also helps men to advance and develop unbiased leadership. Since the majority of business leaders are currently men, change for women can only be accelerated if all those in leadership positions work together.
Support parental involvement. Historically, the issue of parenting and the workforce has been dominated by discussions around maternity leave policies, but more recently that dialogue has evolved. Men, too, desire more time with their families, and through equal parental leave policies, workplaces can allow women and men within all types of family structures to thrive in their careers and at home.
Find more resources and recommendations for promoting workplace equality at catalyst.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (woman in conference room)SOURCE:
(BPT) - It’s fair to call Charger a bull in a china shop. Well, at least a pit bull. The charming nine-year-old has a full-time job in the marketing department at dinnerware giant Replacements, Ltd.
“Charger’s been coming to Replacements since I rescued him from the side of a road as a puppy, so he’s really grown up here,” says Kevin Boyd. “Coming to work is great for Charger because he’s able to engage with people and other dogs so it’s really helped him become more sociable; he has so many friends who give him treats or want to take him for walks. Having him here helps me relax because I know he’s not home alone and really creates special moments in the day, like having him sit in my lap while I’m working.”
Charger is among dozens of pets you’ll find at Replacements. A walk through the warehouse and you’ll see dogs riding on carts pushed by their owners or perhaps encounter a cat or two. An opossum riding high on the shoulder of her human friend even graced the company's retail store with a visit.
Replacements implemented its pet-friendly policy more than 20 years ago, after Founder and CEO Bob Page received a dog for his birthday and couldn't bear to leave him home alone. Fast-forward two decades, and national and international media have repeatedly recognized Replacements as one of the top pet-friendly businesses in the country. The company invites all employees and customers to bring their pets to work or shop; in fact, Replacements’ front doors read, "All Well-Behaved Pets Welcome."
Gaining scientific support
Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University spent a week at Replacements, focusing specifically on the impact of dogs in the workplace. The VCU team monitored stress levels among three test groups: those who brought their dogs to work every day, dog owners who left their pets at home, and those who do not own any pets.
"We were surprised to find that stress actually decreased throughout the day among those who brought their dogs to work, while stress levels significantly increased for those who left their dogs at home," says principal researcher Dr. Randy Barker. "About half of those who bring their dogs to work said their productivity increased with their dog present. Some employees even commented that the presence of pets increases cooperation and builds relationships among coworkers.”
Barker also notes employees overall had higher job satisfaction than industry norms. He believes establishing pet-friendly policies could be a great benefit that doesn't hamper a company's bottom line. "I think leadership in many organizations may be hesitant to allow animals in the workplace, but our study indicates pet presence may serve as a low-cost wellness intervention that may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support."
Getting started as a pet-friendly workplace
Replacements hears from large and small companies across the country wanting to start similar practices and policies. Their best advice? Start small.
“Consider having a pilot day to gauge how a pet presence works for your organization,” says Public Relations Manager Lisa Conklin. "You might try allowing pets for a half day or a Friday to determine the best fit for your employees and your business. Being pet-friendly is truly a huge part of our corporate culture — so many of our employees tell us it’s one of the best benefits the company offers."
Replacements' formal pet policy requires all animals must be current on vaccinations, polite to people and other pets, and stay on a leash near their owners unless contained in an office or cubicle space. Owners are also required to clean up after any accidents.
Conklin adds pet owners must be sensitive to the fact some people have allergies or may be fearful of animals. Likewise, other employees aren't allowed to aggravate or intimidate pets. "We've seen many instances where employees actually got to know each other better through their pets. Seriously, it's hard not to smile when you're greeted by a wagging tail and friendly face!"
(BPT) - Does your employer consider community service part of a job well done? If you're wondering whether you should take advantage of your employer's offer to pay you for volunteer time, keep in mind employee volunteerism benefits everyone involved - your company, the organization you'll help and you!
Approximately 21 percent of employers now give workers paid time off for volunteering, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Sponsoring volunteerism can help a company boost employee morale, enhance recruitment efforts and even improve the business' standing in the community. Volunteering can also benefit you emotionally and in your career.
For example, through the Investing in America's Health initiative, employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield's 36 community-based and locally operated companies (BCBS) volunteered nearly 400,000 hours and provided more than $10 million in donations in 2015. BCBS workers volunteered and provided financial support to programs and organizations involved in improving public health.
Workers involved in the BCBS initiative reported experiencing many of the benefits commonly associated with volunteerism, including:
* Emotional rewards - Multiple studies have shown that volunteering makes people feel more socially connected and emotionally fulfilled, and can reduce feelings of loneliness and depression.
* Enhanced camaraderie with co-workers - Employees who volunteer together consistently report feeling more connected to their co-workers and their communities. Volunteering together can be a fulfilling and effective team-building activity.
* Improving their community - Because employer-sponsored volunteer programs take place at a local level, when you participate you're directly improving your own community.
* Add depth to professional credentials - Current and future employers don't just want people with job skills, they want to know they're hiring compassionate, caring and well-rounded individuals. Participation in employee-sponsored volunteer programs enhances your overall appeal as a professional.
If you would like to become involved in volunteering through an employer-sponsored program, here are some ways to get started:
* Talk to your human resources department about your company's program to better understand how it works. For example, does the company have an established volunteer relationship with a charitable or community organization? Or will your employer support your volunteerism with any qualifying organization? Will you receive paid-time-off for volunteering, and if so, how many hours per month? Does your employer also offer cash donations or a donation matching program to support charitable contributions?
* If your employer has a policy that allows you to volunteer anywhere, identify the group you want to volunteer with. Be aware of any standards your employer may have established for qualifying organizations. Look for a volunteer opportunity that allows you to do something you're passionate about and that supports your local community.
* Gather information from the volunteer organization on what you need to do in order to take part as a volunteer. For example, will you need to participate in any specialized training? Will you need to agree to a background check if you'll be working with children?
If your employer doesn't yet have a program, take the initiative and suggest they start one. This can be as simple as identifying your worthy cause and asking your employer for support in volunteering.
To learn more about how BCBS companies are improving the health and wellness of members and their communities, view the report at www.bcbs.com.
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