Friday, December 16, 2011

The last day

It's my last day at Ubisoft today. I always end up working late on my last day somewhere, usually because I've underestimated both how much stuff I needed to pack up and how much work I needed to get done before leaving. 

Ubisoft will be no exception, although since my last day falls on the same day as the Christmas party, this will be the first time I also leave drunk. 

Also, candy pills to match the
party's medical research theme.
Seriously, there are a lot of negatives to working for a company this big: the projects are gigantic, the feel is impersonal, you don't know anyone... on the other hand, the production values on everything are amazing. They are circulating a map identifying the locations of bars around the office for the pre-party 5 à 7That's pretty cool.

Not that BioWare's party last year wasn't great. It took place a week before my last day; I was applauded for my 5-year service award and won a 50$ EB gift card in the door raffle. Did I mention my date to the party had just left the company a month earlier, too? Awkward. (Ubi is solving that problem by not allowing me to bring a date.)

I was even going to keep the gift card in the family and spend it on Mass Effect 3, but then Skyrim came along... forgive me?

Ok, ok, so things to do before leaving Ubisoft:

  1. Use my super-secret door pass one last time. 
    • Ubi is really big on security, so you pass through imposing metal gates to get into the building. The only other place I've seen these things is on the NYC metro (see picture). There's also a fire door next to each of these, which is normally locked (except, presumably, in case of fire...) but can be opened by producers. When I changed from being a production manager to a tool support specialist, I never lost my door access. Now I'm one of the lowest level people on my team, yet the only one with the ability to bypass the turnstile. That makes me something of a superhero with large groups, or when the revolving door breaks down.
  2. Eat an awesome lunch.
    • There are some great places to eat around Ubisoft. Downtown may have had more selection, but it was almost all in food courts. The quality here is definitely better. Some Mile End highlights I recommend:
      Pizzeria Magpie
      1. Fabergé - Breakfast food. Try the 'eggs in a nest', two eggs cooked into slices of cheese bread. 
      2. Pizzeria Magpie - Neapolitan-style pizza. Try the creamy vanilla orange juice. 
      3. Wilensky's - Not for the food, but for the Canadian literary cred you'll get for having eaten somewhere mentioned in Duddy Kravitz
      4. Le Comme Chez Soi - Homemade burgers and lasagna. Try the bison lasagna.
      5. Quicker and equally delicious options include Eurodeli Batory (Polish/Eastern European food), Charcuterie José (sandwiches), Soupesoup (soups and sandwiches), and Café Falco (non-sushi Japanese).
  3. Party!
    • As I mentioned earlier, Ubisoft does know how to throw a good party. Since I started working here in January, I've gotten to take advantage of a full season with the Ubisoft rooftop terrace... 
        A view from the Ubisoft terrace
      ...and I've also gotten to attend the most extravagantly polished annual company meeting I've ever seen - pre-show entertainment, sound effects, dramatic videos starring project directors, and not a single "*tap tap tap* Is this thing working?". All that remains to be seen is whether the Christmas party lives up to the hype. For now, my team is milling around looking thirsty, and we have a cold 2-block hike to the other building...

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