Former VFX Lead Chris Sayers recently took to Twitter to reveal his experiences at Blizzard Entertainment. He cited mistreatment, misinformation, and a lack of HR support as the primary reasons for his resignation. Sayers described his tenure as a mixed year with great teammates, but management mistreated, lied, and gaslit him, ultimately leading to his decision to leave the company for the sake of his mental health.
Despite his positive experiences with his teammates, Sayers said he could have been more energized and relaxed. In a tweet thread, he spoke on often managing an excessive workload due to unfulfilled promises and unrealistic expectations from management. The disillusionment came to a head when a promised promotion to Lead VFX Artist on the cosmetics team was a mere change of responsibilities with no accompanying pay increase.
Moreover, Sayers divulged the company’s handling of a close friend’s situation. This and the refusal to hire additional support exacerbated his workload and contributed to his overall dissatisfaction and exhaustion. His efforts to seek clarity on the promised pay increase were met with delays, excuses, and an apparent lack of consideration for ethical salary practices.
Reading through these posts, in a business sense, HR handled things the way most businesses do. Senior positions are stressful, and the company won’t do everything you want just because you want it. Many issues need hard answers because this is a business, not a club.
However, the part that actually is disturbing is how they handled his promotion. In fact, it’s really messed up and I can guarantee many of us have experienced this unfair and unjustifiable situation. According to Sayers’ retelling, his promotion was essentially brushed off after his workload increased. That’s not okay.
In a notable turn of events, Sayers detailed an interaction with HR where he was informed that the long-awaited promotion was, in fact, not a promotion at all and that there would be no pay increase. This revelation prompted Sayers to file a formal complaint, only to have HR assert that they had followed all processes correctly. Not that surprising considering how Blizzard has handled complaints in the past.
The situation reached its climax when Sayers decided to resign, only to face an unexpected restriction in the form of a non-compete clause, effectively preventing him from working elsewhere for three months without compensation.
The work clause should have been something Sayers looked at before signing the contract. Many companies have those clauses in their contracts; it’s not just Blizzard. This is especially the case when you have a higher position. However, they didn’t give him any of the benefits that come with signing that kind of contract. This isn’t to say I support them. Personally, I am one of the people who despise non-competes and think they should be illegal, but we have to consider both sides when reporting the news.
It sounds like they gave him all the tough, awful, and bad things that come with being a supervisor without any benefits. That kind of thing is awful and is never okay to do in any business.
All this said, we’ve got to remember that this is just one side of the story. We haven’t heard Blizzard’s yet. I’ve seen many people blame their workplace when they were on the chopping block for poor performance and bad attitudes. However, it is hard to argue that this is the case when he apparently had a lot of proof, and it sounds like Blizzard. Blizzard has been seen as a pretty bad place to work due to their constant lawsuits. So it’s pretty easy to side with Sayers here.