At a bit of a plateau in my career

Hello All,

Long time troll first time poster…

I feel I have hit a bit of a wall in my ID career, I am almost 4 years into my career and it started out great, but now I feel I am in a dead end position not getting the necessary experience I need. Let me give you a bit of my history:

I graduated in 2011 from Univ of Bridgeport with my Bachelors in ID, right before I graduated I landed an internship with a large well known personal care product company working with their in house design team. It was a 6 mo position and it was great, I got great sketching experience and prototyping experience, including SLS and Objet machines. That ended and soon I found another temp internship working with a friend at a succesfull packaging design firm, I was here for a short time but got great 2d experience, ideation and sketching mostly. After a month and a half of working for them I had an interview with a small firm in upstate CT doing toy design, they offered me a full-time position with bennys so I jumped at the chance. Once I arrived it seemed the company was circling the drain, the retracted the full-time position and suddenly it was free-lance per diem. The place still gave a broad spectrum of projects giving me more experience in 2d sketching, prototyping (breadboard modeling) and some Solidworks (the most ive gotten but still not much). After talk that they might let me go and my hours being cut I found a small glassware company that was hiring. I soon was hired at what is now my current position but this wasnt a conventional design team…

Everyone with whom I currently work (5 in the design team) with have had only one design job, this one. The company essentially sells a ‘program’ to restaurants which includes logo’d glassware and drink menus. They also offer custom glassware to the restaurants, made of various materials, and thats my position creating the custom items. They dont follow typical design protocal, which I would consider funcitonal. Ideation ->Sketching → Prototyping/3d → Finalization → Production. Our concepts are rendered %100 before the customer even sees them all in Corel Draw with dimensions and everything, and thats it. If revisions are made then we have to revise a finished rendering over and over. Not to mention our bosses are essentially Then we outsource all 3d work to China. So that means no 3d experience for me, no sketching (although ive been doing sketching for myself) and no prototyping. They enticed me with saying they may be getting a prototyping department and having me do some 3d work but that all fell through. Ive been here for close to 3 years and tried to get other positions but no one wants to hire me with my lack of solidworks or 3d experience. Ive tried for a while to get a job but everyone turns me down for lack of experience…

Sorry for the novel but I need advice, What do I do?

TL:DR Current job uses backwards way of designing and no solidworks or 3d programs, not gaining experience so no one will hire me, What should I do?

Try for another job…harder?

but everyone turns me down for lack of experience…

Are you running into not having the correct experience for a Designer II position? Surely you have enough for Designer I with the opportunity to jump to the next level fairly easily/quickly.

Are other factors holding you back. Salary expectations? Family? Mortgage? GF? Whats keeping you from just winging it and taking an entry level at a firm thats more in line with what you do? Maybe be tough work/low salary. But it’ll put you on the correct path.

If lack of 3D is holding you back. Do it on the side. go there, do the tutorials. Learn, do side projects.

Sounds like you need to do some self directed projects that include 3D modeling. That is the only way to get out of a pigeonhole.

Also, you could do some CAD development of your own design’s that went into production or were passed over for practice.

Wife + Toddler money is tight as it is, Im hoping to make around what I make now (39k/yr) but have some wiggle room, I even have been looking out of state because we dont mind relocation (CT can be expensive!)

Mike, first of all big honor to have you comment on my thread, ive worked with some of your old college buddies! You and Sain are completely right I have to head some of my own projects for practice and portfolio bulking!

Thank you guys for the help, I will keep this updated as I go.

This exactly. I left school with very basic understanding of Rhino and nothing else. It wasn’t until hitting the job market that I realised that it was either Solidworks or Alias that most firms were after, mainly SW.

So I took it upon myself to learn how to use Solidworks in my free time by watching YouTube tutorials and getting on CADJunkie. The first thing I modelled was a 1911 Pistol and then moved up to more complex shapes. My first ‘real’ internship I was able to hit the ground running and knew enough that the more senior designers could just help me when needed.

As mentioned I’d do side projects and treat it like going to evening classes. Set aside a couple of hours each night and a Sunday afternoon + evening to work on new self identified projects that demonstrate all the skills that you feel are missing and hindering your job search.