Rule #1 is not as crude as it sounds. It has to do when you're in the digital industry and life itself. Its not about selfishness. Its about taking care of yourself first in order to help others.
Its simple: How can you take care of others if you can't even take care of yourself?
Disclaimer: Like with most of the entries of this blog it comes from personal and professional experience.
There are going to be times where you will want to help your family/studio-mates or even be responsible for them. How can you help anyone if you're sleep deprived, physically ill, or worse? You can't. In order to be able to help anyone you have to be physically, mentally, even sometimes, spiritually fit enough. You must have some sort of balance in your life to help others. If not you will be drained of all energy to the point that you'll end up hurting yourself and others without realizing it or meaning to do so.
There is potential for this in the industry, less nowadays. For many of us the work/life balance is actually very important. To be able to spend time with our loved ones and have time for yourself to recharge. I was in the AAA industry for a time and there was a great deal of pressure put on me even when my managers stated there was no pressure. However, everyone in the studio felt the pressure. I knew a change had to happen, between missing a chunk of my son's early childhood and when I fell asleep at the wheel of my car on my way home from work (another story for another time).
- lack of restful sleep
- worsening of eating habits
- shortening temper
- lack of empathy towards others
- not getting any of your own work done
- a growing addiction to something (alcohol, drugs, food, games, whatever)
- suffering personal relationships
- these are just a few
Now, there is also a gender bias. "The man works so hard! He deserves a break. She wants a break just for taking care of the kids? She's so selfish!"
This is not a modern standard so much anymore, yet it still exists. I know sides in both camps.
No matter what, you have to take care of yourself. You have to make sure that you have an abundance of energy to give before you give or you'll be empty before you know it. Make sure you can get your work done before helping your teammates finish their work (don't do the work for them, of course)
Your industry teammates are your extended family. You'll spend more time with them than your real family. Don't kill yourself for them. The industry does not need martyrs. It needs problem solvers, teammates, and real leaders that can see beyond the projects. To the human side.
Don't fall into the trap of being guilted into staying past your scheduled work hours. Neither your health, nor your pride, is worth the damage. If the project is scheduled properly, and if everyone does their job properly, this won't happen.
Making games or films should not kill any part of you. Its entertainment, for crying out loud!