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How to stay resilient during times of uncertainty

OPM's Kim Parker Adcock and former Frontier dev Konstantin Semionov discuss how to navigate uncertainty as waves of layoffs keep affecting the industry

Image credit: BAFTA/Quetzal Maucci

In light of the ongoing layoffs and studio closures in the games industry, a panel at the recent BAFTA Games Mental Health Summit looked into how you can navigate uncertainty and stay resilient in times like this.

Hosted by psychologist Stuart Chaun, the panel featured One Player Mission founder Kim Parker Adcock and sound designer Konstantin Semionov as they spoke about their experiences with layoffs from two different perspectives.

Parker Adcock, who recently spoke to about the closure of OPM, now works outside of games as operations manager for charity Thyroid UK, while also remaining the vice chairperson of Safe in Our World's board of trustees.

Semionov joined the games industry full time in 2023 working at Frontier as a technical audio designer. He was affected by the round of redundancies made at the developer last October, and became an employee representative during this process.

While Parker Adcock and Semionov shared their experiences from different positions in the industry, the focal point of this discussion was to highlight how you can navigate such challenging times even when it may seem impossible.

Recognising and understanding emotions

Chaun highlighted the importance of processing emotions, identifying what you are feeling in a given situation can help focus your mindset on how to deal with it, and eventually approach the situation more objectively.

Take the time to sit with your emotions and name them, so you can better move through them.

For Parker Adcock, sadness and guilt were the most prevalent feelings when making the tough decision of closing OPM, most noticeably due to the impact it would have on her team.

"It's difficult to begin that grieving process when you're also trying to look after your team, trying to get them jobs," she said, adding that OPM is still in the process of liquidation. "It's a bit like when somebody dies, and you just start to get your head around it, then there's a funeral and it takes you right back into it – particularly if it's delayed."

For Semionov, it was panic that came first which quickly settled into a period of stress which he likened to playing Silent Hill 2.

"The whole point of that game is uncertainty – you don't know what's coming or when it's going to happen," he explained. "And then you take those [experiences] and put it back into waiting for someone to announce whether you've got a job or not.

"I feel like it's not just a situational panic – it's clearly a horror situation. You could probably make a game about redundancies and it's going to scare people as much as Silent Hill."

This feeling of instability is why Semionov became an employee representative.

"I wanted to get information and to help other people get information because as soon as you do, you can at least plan things, and you can know for sure [whether] something's happening or not happening," he noted. "And because of that, you can make those decisions."

The importance of venting

The ability to vent with trusted team members can be essential before talking solutions with management.

"Before you make a bad or good decision, just let it all out," Semionov suggested. "It sounds like something that doesn't yield a result, but it does. Because when you sit down with the head of a department, you don't just go, 'Well, it's all your fault that this is happening.' None of that spills out, you start talking about actual solutions."

"The point of venting is not necessarily getting support, it's more the case of getting it out of your system"

Konstantin Semionov

As Semionov explained, the strategy is to vent with your colleagues before talking to higher ups about the situation.

He added: "The point of venting is not necessarily getting support, [or] getting specific instructions on how to behave and what to do next. It's more the case of getting it out of your system."

Semionov suggested setting up a channel, like in Slack or Discord, for team members to vent and share their worries.

"This doesn't necessarily work for all workplaces and all people," he noted. "I felt incredibly supported by people just speaking about their lives, because they said the things that I wanted to say but maybe didn't because I thought, 'I'm not sure if I should be shaking the boat too much.' But as soon as you see people open up, you start opening up, you start talking, and you see that it's not only you [feeling this way]."

Semionov continued: "It's [a place] where people can express themselves without being blamed just because it does help."

Parker Adcock agreed, adding that a safe space like this can be reassuring.

"You're all kind of scared to say [certain things] because you don't want to be the one that says something inappropriate, but then you realise everybody else is on the same side.

"And I think that's really what [Semionov] is saying, is that you can rant in your private area, then you go ask questions in a reasonable human way."

Left to right; Konstantin Semionov, Kim Parker Adcock, Stuart Chuan | Credit: BAFTA/Quetzal Maucci

How to ask tough questions

As an employee representative, Semionov needed to ask tough questions about Frontier's redundancy process not only for himself, but for his team.

"When [the process] started in October, I was ten months into my role and it was my first job in the industry actually getting money from it," he said.

"I (virtually) stood in front of the CFO and asked tough questions just because we had to – there was a lot of uncertainty that we wanted to clear up. It's all about how you ask the question.

"Because you can sit there and say, 'Why have you done this to us?' but you could instead say, 'Could you explain what's the reason behind this decision? Did you consider these options before you did this? Have you thought about this? Can we look at this option?'"

As Chaun noted, it's about making the question "less adversarial" to get the desired answer. You may not get everything you want or need to know, but you'll get more of a response as opposed to making demands.

Where to find the right support

Venting and discussing issues with team members can be helpful, but some may feel as though they don't have anyone trusted to talk to, and fear that what they discuss may be communicated to management. Parker Adcock suggested that whoever you vent to or ask for advice doesn't necessarily need to be someone within your team, or even in the industry.

For instance, she found solace in speaking to her dad about the situation she found herself in, as he had also experienced closing down his own business. Despite working in different industries, they had shared similar adversities.

"You don't necessarily need somebody to understand your exact picture to understand your emotions"

Kim Parker Adcock

"You'd be surprised at who will actually be there," she said, adding that a lot of her friends helped her too, even though they didn't necessarily understand what she did in her professional life.

"You don't necessarily need somebody to understand your exact picture to understand your emotions."

Semionov agreed, but maintained that being able to vent to someone within the games industry has an added benefit.

"It's good because they can understand from [that] perspective," he explained. "Like if I say to someone, 'Oh, I lost my job because of a redundancy,' they go 'Oh, yeah, that's not great.' If I say this to someone in the industry, they instantly go 'You as well?' There's this kind of understanding and support."

Parker Adcock also said not to be afraid to find support in colleagues that are more senior.

"Don't ever think because you're new and junior, that you can't talk to somebody who's been there for 25 years, because they might appreciate the conversation just as much as you."

Look at the bigger picture

Staying resilient is easier said than done during a period of unpredictability, but there's solace to be had in taking stock of the situation and looking at the bigger picture.

"You can't change what happens, but you can change how you respond to it," Parker Adcock noted. "And I think that's the key to resilience. And that's all you can do."

And there are positive things to be taken out of such a dire situation. Semionov suggested that noting down what you contributed to during your time at that role can boost your self-confidence.

"It might be a coping mechanism, but trying to understand what you contributed to, what you achieved, finding all of the things you learned in that job," he said. "Because in every role that I've done, I managed to make a list of things that I've learned.

"There's been stress and there's been anxiety and all that stuff, but it's been incredibly rewarding personally from the work I've done. It's probably the best work of my life and I'm just happy to show it to people"

Semionov also highlighted that taking time away from the industry could provide a new perspective on your career.

"Take a different job, pick something else then come back, and see if you want to go through this and still be a part of this industry," he said. "And if you do, you'll come back stronger because you've had the time to take it a bit easier. If nothing comes out of it, if you never work in games again, appreciate the fact that there's such a huge and incredible community of developers that can still continue connecting with going forward.

"I feel blessed that I've even been a part of this short journey. Hopefully, it's not going to end. But if it does, it's been great."

Parker Adcock concluded: "Disaster can be opportunity."

Sophie McEvoy avatar
Sophie McEvoy: Sophie McEvoy is a Staff Writer at She is based in Hampshire and has been a gaming & entertainment journalist since 2018.
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