Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Good Job: A Commentary On Corporate Nepotism

 By: Patrick Morris

In the rat race that is corporate America established practices have been perpetuating and increasing the severity of many institutionalized problems for decades. On its surface the game Good Job appears to be a fun wacky workplace comedy game without any significant depth. But when looked at more critically Good Job is much more than just a throwaway game. At first glance Good Job appears to be a silly game meant to entertain for a few hours but beneath the surface is a powerful commentary about nepotism in corporate America and how success is not determined by what you know but instead who you know. 


The premise of the game is simple, the player character or characters (the game is playable in co-op) is the son of the CEO of a corporation working in the mail room. They are then given menial tasks that amount to nothing substantial with no oversight or time frame for those tasks to be completed in. As the player goes about completing their tasks the game keeps a running tally of the total cost of destruction to company property caused by the player. Despite this tally being kept throughout each level it never yields any results either negative or positive. And after every three levels the player is promoted and told to report to the floor above regardless of how they actually performed, the only determining factor being whether or not they completed the tasks assigned to them.


So how does such a silly funny game have so much more to it? From the moment the game begins it is clear that the player character was only hired because of their relation to the CEO. While it's unclear whether or not there was any interview process it is made very clear that the player really has no standards to meet and is encouraged to complete their tasks by any means necessary. The tasks the player is given are made up of stupid meaningless things like fix the internet, setup the projector, and gather everyone for a meeting. None of what the player is assigned is anything that would be considered productive work in a normal office environment but the player is given nothing but positive feedback when completing those tasks. All throughout the players career at their fathers company they are not only not warned against it but actively encouraged to show a total disregard for their coworkers and company property. Showing what is undoubtedly physical abuse to your coworkers is never reprimanded and strictly rewarded. At the end of each level regardless of their job performance the player is always given the highest grade possible and regularly promoted for, once again, doing the bare minimum of the world's easist job description. 


Good Job makes for excellent satire of the current state of corporate America. All over our country bosses younger relatives or relatives of friends are benefiting from gross displays of nepotism despite constantly proving their own incompetence. While the tasks, reactions, and rewards of the game are meant to be hyperbolic it's a sad state of affairs when a cartoonish game is a much closer depiction of the real world than any cartoon ever should be. Good Job stands as a perfect example of how video games can bring to the spotlight issues that would otherwise be considered taboo to discuss and does so in such a irresistibly charming way that surely even Jeff Bezos would be disarmed.

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