Well...I'm not quite sure where to begin, so I'll start with an apology to anyone I may have offended with that initial joke - it was never my intention to hurt or belittle anyone. Having had a gay roommate for several years (one who was overtly comfortable with his sexuality and incessantly cracking jokes about it), I'm afraid my perspective on the problems facing the LGBTQ community may have become slightly warped - though I know that's no excuse for my lack of censorship. So if I did actually hurt anyone's feelings through my carelessness, I am truly and deeply sorry.
Secondly, I want to thank you all for the insight and feedback you've given me. I did not expect that so many people would feel strongly enough about my work to even reply, and I really do appreciate the comments you've left. While they were a bit tough to read at times, a swift kick in the ass is probably just what I need at this point. And many of the points that have been brought up have been lying somewhere in the back of my mind already; I suppose I just needed to hear them from someone else before deciding where to go from here.
Now that being said, if you'll humor me, I'd love to respond to and bring up a few points:
Cyberdemon wrote:It comes off as someone once telling you "the best way to get a job is to get noticed!" - and that in the design field is not the full statement. In design "the best way to get a job is to get noticed...for having fantastic designs and skills!"
At first, I read this and thought, "yeah, I mean...that goes without saying, right?" and then realized that clearly it does not, or I wouldn't be reading it right now. I realize I have a tendency to get a bit carried away with making my presentations...ahh....unique? fun? nauseating? Probably a bit of all of the above, and perhaps that's actually not for the best. There were several comments throughout all your responses that cited similar reactions - to paraphrase, that maybe I need to channel my energy more into showing the process, as opposed to the aesthetic "click-baiting" I often find myself coming back to. You might find this hard to believe, but in reality, I'm actually a very quiet and low-key guy (too much so for my own taste). As I sat thinking about that last night, I came to the realization that perhaps my innate urge to present my work in a loud and vibrant way (regardless of how it came across, that was my intent) could be boiled down to three things, which I'll call Thing A, Thing B, and Thing C. They may or may not be rational things.
Thing A is that I feel the need to (over)compensate for my quiet demeanor in the real world. Namely due to the aforementioned paradigm that getting noticed = getting hired. Probably. Thing B is that I have been a proverbial Pavlovian dog in terms of my presentations throughout my college experience. The more they stood out, the more people enjoyed them; given that one of my favorite things to do is remind people to enjoy themselves, I took that and ran with it. However, I am starting to see that taking something (like my style, or scissors) and running with it for as long as possible, as fast as possible, isn't always the best plan. And Thing C is that I have been shamefully negligent about focusing on my audience (as mentioned by yo, Cyberdemon, and Sain). I can only say that I may have gotten too used to Thing B, and in my quest to make those 5-hour design crits more bearable, I jumped to a dangerous conclusion. Namely, that my job hunt/the "real world" would be much of the same - that the audience would be 4 hours deep into a set of minimalistic and tasteful slideshows and bored out of their skulls. What they want, what they really need, is a presentation that will burn itself into their retinas and haunt their dreams for the next week, right? Now as I was typing that, I began to notice how absurd it must seem from the outside. But wake-up calls typically come in the midst of strange dreams, yeah?
So another question posed by a few of you was where I want to be, what I want to do. And to that, I say...I'm still working on that. I honestly don't expect to know yet, which is as frustrating as it is exciting. I have been leaning towards toys and playthings for some time, but I also find myself interested in more "serious" directions such as exploring the frontiers of space & the oceans, renewable energy, and oddly enough, sensory deprivation tanks or other tools for the exploration of consciousness. In order to avoid burning those bridges before I even reach them, I'm thinking it would be prudent to take all your advice to heart here and stop pouring gasoline on them.
Thank you all again, I've been putting off this reality check for far too long already, and I really appreciate you all taking the time to help me find a foothold here. I'll take some time to digest everything and rethink my outlook. I can't say where exactly I'll go from here, but you've given me a lot to work with. Hopefully I'll return soon with something a bit less "cringe-worthy" - but only time shall tell.