Staying Authentic in the Workplace

Christian Lovetere is a John Paul the Great Catholic University alumnus who graduated with the class of 2017. He works to maintain personal authenticity while following God’s will at his new job at Playstation. 

Joseph Venegas: How did you end up working at Playstation/Sony?

Christian Lovetere: What actually happened though, at least spiritually speaking, came down to… giving it entirely up to the will of God. Which is to say, since the day of graduation to the day I got the job, my thought was- “God, if you don’t want me to have this job don’t let me. If you don’t even want me to have a career in the game industry, that is Your will. If it would make you more happy that I was not in this field of game design, if I was in fact doing the thing I hated the most, career-wise, if that would’ve made you happy then that’s what I want.” Prayers and novenas, I’m sure those helped too, but in the end what does it matter if you pray for something God doesn’t want for you?

JV: What is your job description? How would you describe what you do?

CL: My job description is called “quality assurance,” or “game test analyst,” which is fancy way of saying game testing, but not the one where you would just play games all day, although that is technically what happens. A lot of it is we have monitors hooked up as we try to figure out ‘what’s going on in this game’s code? If this certain thing is happening, did other people encountered this? Is this issue already being worked on?’

It is, basically, finding the bugs. Let’s say it’s something with armour. I’d choose like fifty different armour sets and walk around in this one area and see if there’s any issues popping up. A whole lot of it is investigative work, looking for the flaws. 

JV: Do you play any part in fixing these flaws?

CL: I’m not the one who actually goes in and fixes these flaws, but I play a part when they need more information on the bigger bugs.

JV: What practical skills have become most important in your work?

CL: As for technical stuff, it’s a really good sense of being to write information down without needing to correct it often. Being good with your grammar to accurately describe an issue as clearly as possible. You need to have some know-how of programming.

General game knowledge… [and] you really need a good investigative brain, but like- game themed. You’re essentially a detective.

On the work environment you you have to be able to communicate well, collaborate, get the job done. Also, you can’t be a complainer because after playing through the same glitch a million times, you’ll never run out of things to nitpick about…Everyone has a limited threshold for putting up with from other people, and we all have the same frustrations, but we have a job to do, so let’s get that done.

JV: What is your favorite aspect of the job?

CL: Probably what keeps my interest the most is seeing what the process of making the game is like…Sometimes it almost feels like you’re working on a college project, just with a bigger budget and more professional people.

It’s very interesting because you get to learn more about how the developer deal with problems according to whatever the issue is or whatever gameplay they’re trying to implement, and you start to learn their quirks. Just looking at their dialogue, I recognize the voice of the writer, spotting all their filler words, where all these different characters are saying the exact same set of words in a given situation. It’s fun, but again, it can get tedious. The point being, I like being able to draw the connections between how everything is working.

JV: Where do you see yourself in five years?

CL: I think anything could happen to be honest. Ultimately, God calls the shots, but it’s not like I’ve made point of talking to people with connections to get me places.

JV: What are some of the best parts of being a self-sufficient adult?

CL: I can’t really say I am self-sufficient. Even now I still rely to some part on family, and of course God. I would say being an alumni though, the best part for sure would be finding authenticity in different aspects of my life. Friendships are more authentic. As alumni we’ve kind-of built a community…more authentic friends who support you and keep you accountable. Not just, “Oh hey, are you alive?” like in college. “You want to hang out, do something fun?” It’s grown beyond that now, with people actually wanting to help you be a better Catholic, a better love-relationship with God, and ultimately each other.

As Flannery O’Connor says, “All things that rise must converge”. So, as people come to God together, they start to come closer.

For art too, I do my own stuff on the side, but again, I try to make myself absent in the process and make it more God’s than mine, however I can. In terms of the creative process, I’ve been writing, just so it doesn’t go stale. But there’s more to it than that.

Probably one of the best things about being one of the alumni is being more authentic, in part thanks to running to God for everything, just asking him as a father, as a brother, as a friend, as God, saying, “I literally can’t do any of this. I am not self-sufficient at all. Not as an artist, not as an adult for crying out loud. I’m just not capable of doing this without you, and if this is not what you want of me, I don’t want it either. Even if there’s this idea that’s pleasing to me, if it’s not something you want me to do, I don’t want it. If you don’t want me to become friends with this person because it will be a detriment to me, if you don’t want me to write this project idea down because it’s going to puff up my own ego, or if it’s going to hurt someone else who’s going to read it, don’t let me do it. Don’t let it happen if it’s going to hurt someone spiritually. Or don’t go to this apartment, don’t talk to these certain people at work because it’s not going to be beneficial to either of us.”

And that’s basically it, putting every single aspect of your life before God, not scrupulously, but because you love God. Ultimately, again what excites me most about the future isn’t so much the jobs or the careers but in living more deeply in love with God.

Any interesting stories?

This one is more general, but when working in a secular environment, like at Playstation, obviously there’s a different culture of values. Unfortunately, the more vulgar subjects that coworkers will talk about, while not exactly shocking in this day and age, are sadly commonplace. One time, I went to lunch with a friend, and on the way back, he was talking about all the stuff  he did over the weekend- you can imagine- and I had to speak up. It was a real awkward ride home after I said this when I told him, “I don’t want to hear about this in my car.”  

 And he responded with- “Well, would you rather talk about Jesus instead?”

“That would be nice?…”  

It was quiet ride back after that.

And in other situations, if people are talking smack about another coworker, borderline bullying even, we do our best, we try to stop it. It was difficult at first to get to that point, because when you’re in an industry like that, one you really want to be a part of, you start off very much not wanting to upset the applecart. But it’s really not about how work sees me. No matter how big it is, as a Catholic it shouldn’t matter- and we’re talking about Playstation. It’s about being firm in your faith and not letting someone push you around or when they subtly try to seek your ‘Catholic approval,’ cause you’re their ‘devout Catholic’ coworker. Saying something just to see how I’ll respond. It’s about staying firm. And you don’t always have an answer. Let them know who you are and what you’re going put up with.

Yes, you’re going to have to act a certain way simply due to the context of where you are. Still, you never compromise who you are, which is something Kincaid taught me that difference, which is- you never compromise who you are, but you contextualize who you are. You don’t act the same in all situations, but you’re still you in those situations.