Good points. Thanks.
Sorry for the rant. It’s been building up for two and a half years.
Good points. Thanks.
Sorry for the rant. It’s been building up for two and a half years.
Your anecdotes sound about right. A smallish family run patriarchy is just that…a patriarchy. I have several experiences that match yours. Some as a consultant, and some as a staff designer and manager of design.
It sounds like you are ready to spread your wings. Your next position at a new firm will benefit from your frustrations and the learning curve that you have been on the past few years.
The first sign of burnout (and loss of respect for your superiors) is making up cute names in order to deal with the personalities that you have to deal with on a day to day basis.
Haha! yeah, actually those names I didn’t come up with - they were concocted by one of the engineers who is on the other side of my cube. He’s been there for ten! And as far as finding work at another firm goes, this town, which I like very much, is juuuust small enough that there isn’t much else going on ID wise so it’s going to take some major digging. Even then it would probably be much the same. I’m beginning to think I’ll have to start fishing in bigger ponds.
Thanks for your insights.
Any concerns about posting this on a public forum and not trying to remain anonymous?
I probably wouldn’t do it.
Not just in regards to your current employer but also considering how future employers might feel about you sharing intimate facts about the company in a rather sarcastic tone. There are always multiple sides to a story.
That being said, your situation sounds frustrating. However, if you can’t live with it and have other options, leave.
Your chances of changing this place fundamentally, I’d say, are rather slim.
You don’t own that place.
And you never will.
Posting all these details on a public forum without preserving the anonymity of
the ones concerned is not very professional. I’d say:
Thanks for the reminder.
That’d be nice, we’ll see.
It is hard to change a culture if you are not in a position to do so. My recommendation, stay focused on your personal end game. Where do you want to be in 15-20 years… back track to where you are now and figure out what steps you will need to take. You have a job in design and that is a great start. Put some weekends into some portfolio building concept projects. If you were in charge of you company what would you design? If you were in you dream job what would you design? Channel the negative situation into positive action. Get that folio together, post it on coroflot, behance, et all and make the next step on your path.
The alternative is acceptance of bitterness.
Good to see you took that rant down, entirely. Shows you
are willing and able to deliberate what you do.
I know too well how the 'net invites one to rant like that.
And like most fellow designers I have been there myself.
(Part of my own decision to stay less easyly traceable.
(A debatable one.)
Try to work with the situation you are in the best you can.
I am pretty sure there are better places around for junior
execs., but what you experience is pretty typical. Corporations
are not run in vacuum, there is friction.
If you really care that much about what you do during your paid
time just think about what you’d do IF it was your place.
The term you coined for the company “XX*Rus” wasn’t
Could you compete with your old company? Doing the creative
work yourself, outsourcing the production towards people with
the right attitude and modern production equipment?
awww, i wanted to see the rant.
Haha me too, the thread title was intriguing.
I did get a chance to see it, but from what I remember you wanted to stay in your area and mentioned that it might not have many other design possibilities other than starting a business of your own. How attached are you to your town/area?
I read the original. From what I recall, what you are experiencing is pretty par for the course, be it in a small company, consultancy, or even a larger in house division. There are always those up the food chain that have their own ideas, are difficult to work with, have unreasonable deadlines, etc.
It’s up to you to decide to move on, if it’s a situation you can’t change or don’t want to put the effort into changing. “That being said, the grass is often greener” does apply. I’ve had rant sessions in the past when working at a small brand with friends working at billion dollar brands and they too had similar complaints about resources, office politics, etc.
Remember, there’s nothing keeping you anywhere. Keep your head down while you look for work, and find something new if you’re unhappy. It’s always nice to have a continual paycheck when you’re looking for work.
I liked the original post. If it had elements that were traceable back to the original company then good to take those out, but the post was, for me a good one.
The basics were that you were put into an almost impossible crunch of expectations, new technologies, inflexible management that perhaps did not understand the parameters involved in moving from point D to point X.
I have shared those kinds of experiences, they really help me to grow. You are trying to push your own boundaries and asking at the same time if you are just whining.
I have always felt it is better to go out in a fireball and learn something than to bail out early and acknowledge that a task is impossible. Fortunately in my experience the fireball never happened, things came together and the projects happened. Of course the there is no upside, no one will recognize that you pulled a rabbit out of a hat, they will just expect that they were right all along. Which means as we all know, your days or weeks or months before your next move are numbered.
I think the original rant could have been edited a bit to be a tad more professional (especially the nicknames) and more anonymized. It was good to have for context, but it seems like most of us read it anyway
As hard as I can.
Not exactly an alternative, right?
I suppose. Deliberating a bit more before clicking “Submit” might have been prudent.
Well, that’s sad. Although, I suppose it depends on what kind of friction.
Not really crazy about the industry in general.
It wasn’t that great.
It’s a pretty great town, but certainly i’d skip the joint for the right opportunity. Had an interview a couple hours north a couple months ago. Didn’t get it, but I didn’t really want it that bad either since I didn’t really like that industry either. As a couple others have said, it’s nice to have a job, one of the plusses being I at least can be a little choosey.
Jeez. Figures I guess. People are people.
That’s pretty much the reason I’m not looking too hard and confirms a lot of my suspicions. Day-to-day is a real… sometimes.
Well at least there was one.
That’s good to know. Yeah that’s the she whole thing. I love the work, the expectations are just not realistic. And then when what I predict comes to pass and I’m still given unrealistic deadlines… The density of some heads is just incredible. But then you start thinking that maybe you are the unreasonable one… Maybe you can get all this stuff done in a week… maybe you are just lazy… maybe you are just whining.
Thanks. That’s the thing. I doubt they’re going to just pull the plug on all these projects. They’re going to get done. Just not by next month. Of course it will be all my fault and it’ll be a big shitstorm till the end, but they’ll eventually get done. At least I hope. And the moment they do…
Would you restore a Pontiac 6000? As I also mentioned, most of the nicknames were not mine - I’m not really one to come up with lame nicknames for people I don’t like - and there were some much worse ones to chose from I decided not to use!
Thanks for steering me in a positive direction. That was a real turd, I should have been banned from the boards for something so puerile.
Not at all. Don’t worry about it. If you didn’t post it you would not have gotten so much input. Good luck and keep us updated.
So everything was supposed to go to the show Thursday. And most of it did. The original product (the one they’ve been working on for ten years and the updated one we’ve been redesigning for six months) was passable. Barely. Product #2 was a very rough working prototype. But it worked and looked OK from 10 or 15 feet. A week and a half ago it was looking very much like product #3 (my very clever concept) was not going to ship. So Boss had us work on a second, very simple version. That did, barely, get finished. it was also a very R_O_U_G_H POS but it shipped.
Is this all too specific?
Tomorrow is the show. Boss has been out of the country the past couple weeks so he hasn’t really seen any of this stuff, so it will be interesting to see what happens when he shows up to the show. It will be even more interesting to see what happens when he gets back into town… Fortunately the sales guy is super chill about it all and realizes how absurd the timelines were and how hamstrung we are by ancient technology. He’s going to attempt to pitch them as working prototypes. At this point I’m just kinds happy it’s all over at least for a few days and I can just zone out on some wire grids.
They didn’t fly. Still aren’t flying. Not that I didn’t try. But I don’t care. I’m no longer there.
June came & went. Came & went again.
So I didn’t check back.
The recruiters started calling me in Jan. '15. The first one, on my birthday, was a 6mo contract gig. I should have taken it. A couple out-of-the-cube phone calls a month were taken. Several “dentist appointments” happened.
I kept working on personal projects.
In October of last year I bought a general admission ticket to the local “round A” startup pitch event that I actually pitched at a couple years ago (project still in progress). Figured I needed to get out of the routine of Lameness I was in. I was fired at the end of that same month.
I only wish I hadn’t acted so defeated. I should have been like; Cool! Welp, I know where the door is!
Through a connection I landed an interview at a company in town that does some “product design”. I’ve known about them for a while, but through the connection I gathered that they didn’t pay that well and it wasn’t a lot better than where I was at. The interview went OK, but they admitted at the time that they weren’t ready for a full time IDer yet, but they were pretty sure they would be needing one “in the near future”. OK…
At the pitch event I spoke with one of the finalists and advised him on what software he should use. The following week he was asking me when I could get started. I don’t even recall pitching my services, but maybe I did. I guess at the very least I sounded like an expert (thanks two free drinks).
I’ve come to realize that, as a designer, you have to have some kind of a fallback plan. For some it’s waiting or bartending. The guy that quit a couple years before I was let go was a line cook. My other coworker who quit one year before took a job in a grocery store deli. Fortunately, my brothers do landscaping work. I love being outside and there’s a certain zen to mowing grass and setting patio stones. Working with family has it’s own set of issues, but at least I know what I’m up against. Unemployment checks help, but for how long?
The startup work has finally begun, so that’s pretty cool. It does feel kinda badass writing contracts n sht! It’s not a lot at first, but could certainly develop into pretty consistent work for a year or two anyway. Of course, now I’m going to have to have an accountant & lawyer on retainer & all that great stuff. Cool sht?
Against my better judgement I started using one of these pay-to-play bidding websites. Yes, it’s slimy, but I thought I’d give it a shot. To my surprise, I’ve actually gotten a couple paying gigs out of it with a couple more, bigger, cooler projects in the works. I dunno. Whatever. If they fall through I’ll probably burn off the rest of my credits and focus on more personal networking.
A couple weeks ago I got called up about a second interview at “product design”. I had seen the ad for “Graphic Designer” but hesitated because I didn’t want to get trapped in Photoshop & Illustrator for God knows how long. It was basically the same interview but different, since it was a slightly different position. The interviewer (SVP) could tell I was enjoying my independence a little too much. Basically I’d be doing graphics for packaging & products with an ID project crammed in between every month or so. Sounds great right…?
They’ve been calling my references, so I guess I’m on the short list.
The problem is, now I’ve got 2-3 freelance/contract ID clients that are counting on me to get work done. It’s not like I can realistically do this stuff on nights & weekends. I mean I probably could, but… ugh.
So I’m thinking about pitching doing contract ID work for them whenever they need it. There are a lot of plusses. I’m 5min down the road. I could come in and work in the office if need be, even if for a “kickoff meeting” (old place term - I don’t know what real ones are called). I would get to do work for them and keep my current clients happy. They wouldn’t have all the overhead & baggage of a full time employee (not so great for me) and I wouldn’t be stuck doing monotonous packaging graphics 90% of the time. They would get to see if they think they need a real IDer (they do) or not, and I would get some consistent contract work (at least until they realize they don’t need me or like what I’m doing for them. Then I don’t have to get fired, just unceremoniously excommunicated, if that’s any better. And a friend pointed out that it makes me look sort-of like a badass and not quite as desperate, if it looks like I have other awesome stuff going on and gives me a little bargaining power, if only hypothetically. If I can pull it off without being a weirdo, which is hard for me.
At least it sounds totally kickass in my head.
Also in my head there is a decent chance they will balk and say they “need to have someone there full time to be a part of the corporate culture” & all that kind of malarky. Then my chances of getting an offer go WAY down. But all their ID now is done by crude CAD work done in house by the self taught CNC tech, and whatever factory they’re working with in China. So why wouldn’t they go for it, right?
So I wrote all this because I know you guys have been sitting around in your spare time desperately wondering whatever happened to me
I don’t know that I’m looking for advice or comments or anything, just. You know, internet therapy.
You guys are great.
I say pitch the part time work to the firm as contract. The worst they can say is no which is right back where you are, but if they say yes, between those projects, the other work you are doing, and the start up you have patched together a nice little work stream. A couple of years of that and your network will be so strong that it will probably be a lot easier to find a job, or you won’t need one.