Full Time Job maybe wasn’t the best game to try on the day I turned in my resignation at my place of work. In this game by Dylan Gallardo, you play a hapless job searcher tasked with job application test after job application test. These tests take the form of a two moving images you must make match by adjusting the hues, colour intensity and moving grey filters that scroll on top of them. It’s an exercise of minutia, abstract in your giver directions and brutally specific on what it demands. Adjusting which filters to overlay on your image and in what varying intensity is opaque even when you ignore the short 60-second timer.
But in many ways Full Time Job is a really great visualization of a job search. Much like a job hunt, Full Time Job is esoteric in how it presents the player’s goal. Sure it’s abundantly clear that you have to match the example picture provided, but fiddling with the sliders and colour picker feels alien. The preciseness of the tools betray the fact that the player has little grasp of how to manipulate them to produce one specific blur of grey. It’s reminiscent of sitting down to write a resume, aware of your own strengths and the language to present them but with no idea which to pick and highlight to attract the attention of an employer. An employer so distant from your own place in life it feels like you might as well be speaking different languages. Will they understand or value my attributes even if I could present them properly. This game certainly captures that deep uncertainty.
Much like how a job application ends with a cold, abrupt “yes” or “no”, Full Time Job comes down with an equally objective ending. Each attempt at the matching game ends with an exact score, to the fifth decimal place. The player leaves the game with a tidy wrap up of their attempt, but emptiness remains. The player doesn’t actually have a grasp of whether that assessment is just or not. Could they have got a better score with more time? Did their blind guess let them coast by? There is no satisfaction in Full Time Job.
This end score is the part that unsettles me the most. You see I got quite good at Full Time Job. I can consistently score over 71 points, which the game’s itch.io page describes as “pretty difficult”. Yet I still feel as little mastery over the mechanics as when I first tried to grasp the game’s concept. If my upcoming job search is going to be as much as a crapshoot as this, I am in no way ready for that. I sure don’t have the confidence for this.