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Penny Arcade web dev / sysadmin job posting (linkedin.com)
26 points by harto on Nov 26, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

> We’re terrible at work-life balance. Although work is pretty much your life, we do our absolute best to make sure that work is as awesome as possible so you at least enjoy each and every day here.


edit: oh haha I get it, it's a joke:

> - Annual Salary: Negotiable, but you should know up front we’re not a terribly money-motivated group. We’re more likely to spend less money on salary and invest that on making your day-to-day life at work better.

I was disappointed til I realized no one in their right mind would be asking someone to get worked to death for low pay. See? Joke!

edit 2:

C'mon this is probably one of the worst job listings I've seen in my handful of years looking at developer job listings. This cannot possibly be serious.

In addition to the "We're gonna work you to death" and "We're not gonna pay you what you're worth", there's also the awesome addition of "We don't have a plan and it's basically up in the air what you're going to be doing every day":

> Flexibility adapting to deadlines, changing schedules, priorities and unpredictable events in a fast paced environment.

And don't forget that you should be highly experienced, multidisciplinary wizard who won't mind doing desktop support:

> the (dreaded) GENERAL IT for us here that need help configuring a firewall for a dev kit, etc. Sorry, I know that’s the WORST, but it’s absolutely part of the gig.

This is legit, at least they're being up front with it instead of springing it on the poor schlub who gets hired.

Are you familiar with Penny Arcade? The author's not kidding when he says it'll probably be the most competitive opening they've ever had. They could lower the desired experience just a little bit, offer this as an unpaid internship and they'd still get more applications than they could handle. There are people who would would essentially replace everything in their entire lives to work there - it's about the culture, the people and the access.

Yeah I'm very familiar with PA and a big fan of the strip. Less interested in the auxiliary work though.

I get what you're saying and you're probably right, but it seems almost malicious to take advantage of someone's fanaticism so boldly.

It's absolutely malicious, and what's more, they already know that: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/1/25

I'm reminded more about their actual reality show that ended with a job http://penny-arcade.com/strip-search/

So the tester got to be in the beta for Soylent?

It's not "malicious", what a silly word to use. It's just business.

It's Penny Arcade, he's concerned with getting too many applicants, not too few.

I'd like to see a split test on whether it's better to set the bar low like they're doing and immediately disinterest a lot of very qualified people or to set the bar very high and intimidate the marginally qualified or unqualified people.

I doubt qualified people are as disinterested as you think. Some people have knee-jerk reactions to job descriptions like this but I think most do not.

Honestly, 3 years of web dev plus system administration for what looks like a junior-ish position in a small but busy and high-profile shop is not outrageous. If I was actively looking for work and willing to relocate I would contact them to get more details before writing it off.

They don't seem terribly desperate to fill the position. If that's true they can probably play a waiting game to find someone who matches what they're looking for.

As for the salary line, either it's true that they're not a "terribly money-motivated group" and thus you should feel free to ask for whatever you want and if they really want to hire you they'll cave. Or, it's true that they aren't willing to pay the salary you expect and negotiations won't last long.

Either way it's really nothing to get worked up about.

I think one of the points of this posting is that if you take it too serious you already are not fit for the job. Thus, it's helping to weed out candidates that may not fit well with the company.

If I were a fan of Penny Arcade, my interest would be piqued - it'd be a challenge that I'd be interested in.

That said, pay would absolutely have to be stellar to put up with that.

Hey, at least he is being honest. Not talking about xboxes/playstations at work and how there is free lunch, dinner at work.

It's Penny Arcade. I'd be surprised if they didn't have XBoxes and Playstations at work.

My comment was to point that that a lot of companies (big and small) in the tech space use these "benefits" as a way of getting you to stay at work for as long as possible while doing HR selling of these as "benefits". I would rather not have XBoxes/Playstations at work (unless I was actually building shit for them) and just get my work done and get home and do my own creative fun shit at home.

The video game industry is generally much less explicit about the fact that they are structurally dependent on exploiting enthusiasts to work for them for below-market wages until they are burned out and replaced by younger, cheaper enthusiasts. So props for transparency.

Career advice: Like video games? So do I. Buy them. They're cheap at programmer salaries and will, when used as directed, very rarely ruin your life. The same cannot be said of burnout-inducing jobs.

n.b. Structural realities of the video game industry are common knowledge but you can take a grizzled old hand -- say, a 30 year old engineer -- out for coffee if you want to hear about what a typical development cycle looks like at a company you love.

Job requirements:

* Ability to move in a fast paced environment, at a speed of 180 mph or greater.

* Demonstrated physical capacity to produce calefaction directed from eyeballs, at or exceeding 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

* Signed note from esteemed scientist showing capability for producing X-rays (preferably 5 nanometer wavelength) from eyeballs or eye sockets

* Affidavits testifying to eidetic memory.

* Ability to physically resist and rebuff projectiles, including but not limited to arrows, baseballs, rocket propelled grenades, bowling balls, and bullets between the range of 1 and 50 caliber.

* Established reputation for instantly understanding and speaking any language sufficiently established by a human culture, after initial exposure.

* Distinguishing characteristics: Faculty for achieving flight, and resourcefulness.

Are these job requirements impossible? Absolutely not! They are laid out explicitly, so the list is perfectly reasonable. Being up front makes all the difference here.

I feel like I'm supposed to find this funny or angering (given the context of being posted on HN), but I'm not really sure why I would be. They're being up front about the demands they'll put on an employee, and they think they can find someone who will do it. More power to them. Any developer willing to relocate to seattle and meeting those requirements should have no trouble getting a higher-paying or easier job, so if they take this one, it can only be by choice.

I wouldn't take it, but I'm not so presumptuous as to assume everyone wants the same things in life as me.

I assumed it was posted because whoever posted it thought some people here would be interested enough to apply. If it was posted as angst bait, well, whoops,I fell for it.

If this job offering came from just about any other company, we'd be snickering about how clueless their HR department was. Actually, we'll be snickering anyhow, but it's surprising to see it coming from PA. This reads like PA just hired EA's HR dept.

I have no doubt that PA is a cool place to work, and the people are probably nice, but this job posting is pretty cavalier about the fact that you're going to be overworked, underpaid, and life isn't fair, so tough.

Yesterday my opinion about Penny Arcade was 'jesus christ that one dude is an asshole' and now I have a much more sophisticated opinion, namely 'jesus christ both those dudes are assholes.'

Khoo, the CEO (generally less in the public eye), is actually the third asshole. Krahulik and Holkins are the artist asshole and writer, respectively.

no comparable foot-in-mouth public displays of assholery, but if you think the other two are, you are very likely to think he is too

I am always willing to update the asshole registry.

Does this come with a free dickwolves T-shirt and lecture about how transwomen are men?

  We need someone young, naive, with stars in their eyes 
  going gaga over internet fame about a website they'll 
  never have any creative input on, unless they swear a 
  blood oath to never take credit for an idea that already 
  aligns with our PG rated middle school sense of humor.

Hrmm which one to believe?

'We're not a terribly money-motivated group' http://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/9887522

'I developed humor as a defense mechanism. Now I drive a fucking Mercedes.' http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/magazine/15-09/mf_...

Possibly the most realistic job posting I've read.

I feel you should always give somebody props for brutal honesty vs. hiding the truth, so good on ya Gabe & co for at least laying it all out up front.

This reminds me of being in the running for a job at WOTC some years back, not being terribly fanatical about the card game, but wanting to move to Seattle to be with friends. The job was very similar, a sysadmin+build-our-website+fix-the-printer AND bring-me-coffee(NOW DAMMIT! NOW!) type gig, but back in the mid '90s when web developers were about as rare as a VengeVine card.

Things kind of fell apart when they wouldn't even match my salary at my (then) current job nor cover relocation. The guy I was talking to kept trying to talk past that impress me with how cool it would be to work for them and how that would MORE than make up for such mean concerns as a paycheck scaled to the size of the job and cost of living.

In the end I failed to be sufficiently impressed and politely turned him down, which he scornfully assured me would be a career-ender(and what's up with that?--why do these things always seem to end with "You'll never work in this town again!!!" type closings ?).

To the young fanper(s) sweating over their resume for this job: Think VERY carefully what it would be worth to you to have PA as a line on your resume and where you intend to go with this all once you get there.

"Creative" companies seem to be like this a lot. They're used to dealing with artistic, creative people who need a LOT of self-validation and are willing to be treated like crap just for the privilege of being treated like crap by a specific person or group of people. They just assume that everybody in every field of effort is the same and tend to get very bent out of shape when you push back at them or just even have boundaries and requirements.

The next time you wonder why a major online game launch didn't seem to have exercised the proper care for quality, redundancy, and the other factors that go into keeping your site up -- go back and re-read this job posting.

The link was not working for me while logged in in LinkedIn. Shows up fine in an Incognito Window.

Copy&paste for others wondering what the fuss is about:


Job description


Given our audience and the job at hand, this could potentially be the most competitive position we ever hire for. We're looking for a web developer / software developer / sys admin to join our small family. We’re a team of 15-20 people that essentially run Penny Arcade proper, the online store, our fulfillment center, the PAX shows, Child’s Play, PATV, and a bunch of other smaller things that no one ever hears about. We rely heavily on outside partners and vendors, but as far as managing and helping run/deploy the technical infrastructure to most of the things we do, we rely on one person. That person is you.

So yes, we run lean. Most of us would say maybe a little TOO lean, but being pushed to your limit is part of the job. I'm not saying that to try and scare you away OR impress you, but it's in both of our best interests to understand and set expectations properly. If you have boundless energy and desire to work on both creative AND sometimes tedious work but in an environment that just might change your life, perhaps this is the opportunity for you.

We are quite literally looking for a person that can do four jobs: Web Development, Software Development, Sys Admin, and the (dreaded) GENERAL IT for us here that need help configuring a firewall for a dev kit, etc. Sorry, I know that’s the WORST, but it’s absolutely part of the gig.

So yeah, we know that’s a lot to ask of a person, but all of us here work tremendously hard to do a lot of things, and if you’d like to be at the technical epicenter of it all and don’t mind having a really bad sense of work-life balance, this is the job for you.

Desired Skills and Experience

General Requirements - You need to have a crazy-person level of attention to detail. - Strong project management skills, organizational skills and time-management skills. - A motivated self-starter who can overcome or workaround issues independently. - Flexibility to travel up to 30% of the time. - You should have no problems working in a creative and potentially offensive environment. - Flexibility adapting to deadlines, changing schedules, priorities and unpredictable events in a fast paced environment. - The ability to communicate and work well in a team environment as well as on an individual basis. - Must have the ability to prioritize tasks and balance the immediate and long term needs. - You should have no problem appearing on camera. - It’s rarely we call on it, but if something breaks in the middle of the night, you are expected to be on call to address that issue 24/7.

Some things you should know about this job.

We’re terrible at work-life balance. Although work is pretty much your life, we do our absolute best to make sure that work is as awesome as possible so you at least enjoy each and every day here.

And here are some other things we’re using to weed people out. It’s not fair. I know. Life’s not fair.

- A BA/BS or greater degree in Computer Science or a related field - A minimum of 3 years in development and project management, preferably in a professional workplace - Strong experience in PHP, MySQL, Javascript (jQuery and AJAX), CSS, Apache - Strong experience in one of Java, Python, Ruby, or other object-oriented language - A history of running and configuring multiple-server environments, including load balancers, web accelerators/caching systems, and databases - A history of running and configuring multiple server environments, load balancers, and varnish. - You should probably be a fan of Penny Arcade. Probably. Yeah.


- Annual Salary: Negotiable, but you should know up front we’re not a terribly money-motivated group. We’re more likely to spend less money on salary and invest that on making your day-to-day life at work better. - Full Medical, Vision and Dental - 401k (SEP) retirement contributions (2% of annual income per year) - Holiday pay - Periodic bonuses - Flexible vacation time - We're willing to relocate you if need be Send me your resume via the linked in system. If you don't submit your resume, I won't look at your application. Sorry - I gotta streamline the process.

About this company

Based out of Seattle, Washington. If you are applying for this job you should know all the nuts and bolts to us already.

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