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Joining Sumo Digital...

Three months ago I left the best job I'd ever had to step out of my comfort zone, challenge myself, and go on a new adventure with my growing family. It was a leap of faith that could have just as easily paid off as much as it could have blown up in my face. Luckily, life at Sumo Digital has lived up to all my expectations (and much more besides).

I didn't get off to a particularly smooth start though. A horrendous stomach bug, brought home by my lovely daughter, wiped out our entire household during my first week. Within a month of joining, we had my Father-in-law's funeral (a passing none of us had expected), and then I became a Dad for the second time and was off for a fortnight on Paternity Leave. It was A LOT of non-work stuff to try and juggle at the same time as a career change.

That aside, Sumo were incredibly supportive of me and my family, with lots of flexibility. This has been the case post-partum as my wife recovers from surgery and we start to find our new groove as a family. It has really taken the pressure off us. I'm not in a panic that I'm letting anyone down and it has enabled me to work through what has been quite a difficult time of change and upheaval. I'm so glad I got that chance.

Although, three months on, I've still not met any of my new colleagues in person (which is a problem that the impending Christmas party will soon solve), I've felt no less a part of the team and that really started during the onboarding process. Sure, there's been a lot to learn as I comprehend exactly where I sit in the structure of my new team, but I'm really enjoying the difference in how Community Managers are utilised within Sumo.

I hear what you're saying, a Community Manager is a Community Manager, right? How different could it really be? As a CM, your responsibilities can be broad and wide-ranging depending on the team around you, but generally, you'll be based within a comms or marketing team responsible for social media management and sentiment analysis. This is often quite siloed away from the development team (the people who make the games).

It's a relatively recent change within Sumo Digital, but Community Managers actually sit within the development team itself and are brought onto projects much sooner than you would be elsewhere. As a result, the visibility you get on the granular details of the game and its features is much better (in my limited experience) and your ability as a CM to directly impact the game and its features is much improved.

For the first time ever I'm co-authoring feature request documentation, directly impacting the shape of the game...which is something I've never had the opportunity to do before. Having community so integral to the design and success of a game still under development makes me very happy. Obviously, I can't say anything about it, but I'm very excited for Jenny and I to be able to talk about what we've been doing (and why you should be excited) on a more public platform. All things in good time.

This week I passed my probation and officially joined the team for the long haul, and just like most of my career milestones now it has been reason enough to write a blog. You're welcome. Realistically, passing your probation doesn't mean much changes, but to me, it means finally feeling settled and welcome within a team I've been so excited to join.

Despite my relatively short time with Sumo, I feel like I've already had the chance to contribute a lot to the project. Nothing I can be too specific about here, sadly. I've even been featured on a couple of their social media campaigns, including a cool myth-busters one where staff got to dispel some of the myths about their disciplines, and one where my dog, Mike, got to show off his Halloween fit.

It's really nice. I feel like I'm already being seen. I feel like I'm already making a difference. Isn't that kinda what we're all searching for in a fulfilling career?

EDIT: A great time was had by all at the Christmas party (and my team are just as lovely in person as they are remotely).

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