Got laid off... want to relocate, but where to?

There are CAD jobs out there, and if you’ve been mostly using 2D or surface software then knowing a proper solid modeler like Solidworks or Pro E would be important to a lot of fields.

There are draftsman jobs which are just about creating 2D drawings etc, but most of those are fairly low paid and more about supporting an existing business outside of a design career (a friend of mine moonlights by doing CAD drawings of commercial electrical boxes and then having a mechanic friend fab them for him after hours for example).

At the end of the day though, people in this industry get hired based on a portfolio, and attitude. Saying you have zero interest investing in a skillset is not the right attitude to have. I regularly invest in skillsets I may or may not ever use because I enjoy learning new tools, processes, programming languages, just for the technical challenge. As it turns out, eventually those skill sets can become valuable and you don’t need to worry about ramping up, you can jump into a project and say “oh by the way, I know how to prototype this from that weird time I learned Arduino in 2012”.

Investing in those skill sets also has the side effect of allowing you to grow your portfolio organically. Side projects that you do can now become showcases of your process and skills, making you more interesting of a candidate.

I interview a lot of people, and I’ve sat across the table from rock start designers who I’ve let walk out the door because their attitude was shit, and it comes across as very apparent. I had a recent candidate get mad at me because he was clearly the most qualified, but simply put I couldn’t see myself dealing with or interacting with him on a regular basis - he acted like employment was a drain to his life energy and he was doing me a favor by even offering to come in. Likewise, I’ve given under-qualified or inexperienced candidates position based on a clear sense of them being outgoing, optimistic, and eager to learn and grow.

I can’t make you to change your lifestyle and attitude over the internet, but it may be worth some soul searching to see what would actually make you happy in life and figure out what steps you need to take to get there. Slumming along in a low level CAD job just to pay the bills isn’t going to make you any happier in the long run.

Serious side note: Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I am a sarcastic SoB who spent most of my early life dealing with substance abuse and depression. So it’s extremely ironic for me to be preaching an optimistic attitude, but I have had a lot of time to reflect on myself, my career, my actions and use all of those as a means to grow personally and professionally. Looking back now I simply wish I had realized more of that sooner.

Do you even realize that these two statements are entirely incongruous?

ID is a small part of the NPD process. And as a hiring manager if I had a 40-year-old thinking that all you have to do, or even all you want to do, is make pretty renderings, I would pass on your resume. You don’t get it. Why would I want you?

Variant: I worry about getting in the same boat as you. I went for diversity over specialization in my career. So far, it’s worked out OK, but I worry about looking for a job again. When I do talk to people now, so many people are hiring a rendering specialist, or a CAD specialist or a research specialist. I kinda know all 3. Not as many people are looking for that.

On the other hand, I’ve always been hired at small companies that required me to do multiple disciplines. Maybe that could be a route for you to get back into design (if so desired). Find a startup that is low on cash, but high on ambition. However, it will probably require you to delay a big pay day. On the other hand, you could be in a position to have control over your life & a pay day in 2-3 years.

Since you want out, theres no reason to try and convince you to stay.

If you like to cook, find a hipster city that has food truck permits, design your own artisanal pretzel truck and use your design skills to form your own business. Then at the end of the day the only person accountable is the guy in the mirror, and any joy or misery you get out of the work will be wholly your own. That’s the American dream as much as the C-Suite.

Honestly, I don’t know how to find an optimistic perspective on things. > :neutral_face:

You could try reading “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz. Found it to be a very inspiring and uplifting book. There’s actually a section called “How to make your mind produce positive thoughts.” Highly recommend it to anyone.

Not sure if this is what you’re feeling, but I’ve experienced the downward spiral of getting bad results (also while living in a place I didn’t like), getting even more frustrated or negative, and then those negative thoughts just bringing more bad results, to get more frustrated about. It can be a downward spiral that needs to be broken somehow.

Reading this type of material and being around other uplifting people helps to break out of that cycle and see opportunities. Opportunities are always there, but a mind clouded by frustration can rarely see them.

Would be great to hear you’ve found great work that you enjoy in a place you’re happy to live. I’m working on this as well - same age, looking to relocate (again), and possibly shifting careers slightly. Let’s make it happen :wink:

Could the OP, or anyone like him, just move to the city he wants to live in, even if there is not much design work there, and farm himself out to companies doing his kind of work in other parts of the country?

of course, you can do whatever you want, the question is will a person be successful and that is all on an individual basis… but that is very possible.

I escaped AZ. In terms of ID its a barren wasteland. It stems from the nature of the state where music and art are the first things cut from education budgets. It is after all #49 in education spending nationwide.

Have you seen the job at MTD in Tempe ? Do an Indeed search for ID in Tucson. You could always apply for one of the many Honeywell ID jobs they never fill. Boon on Tempe. Ping. You might find it to be more njoyable…

Unfortunately, ID is a young persons game and by young I mean under 40 years old.

PM if you want to know more.

So I see that the same comment has come up a few time from the OP and others, stating that ID is a young persons job - What has given you this point of view? I will be 46 next year and at the age of 42 i had 3 job opportunities too chose from, i have had countless headhunters and corporations contact me which i have not pursued because of either salary or responsibilities. I also had many opportunities i applied for over the last 20 years of my career that ended with “we thank you for your interest but…”

Now a key to what i believe i have done is to ensure that my skills are relevant and that i can provide value in a diverse range of areas as well as keeping my execution skills honed (i do renderings and cad work for fun) I have continued to grow my knowledge in areas that are relevant to today’s industry. I was always taught that at the end of the year you should be able to look back and determine how i am better then a year ago.

I’m sorry i just do not buy the I’m to old to get a job" excuse.

I think this might be the point though…
I am not sure the problem is that there aren’t enough ID jobs but that there need to be the right ID jobs for where people are in their late 30’s and onwards.
A lot of ID positions are really badly paid unless you have managed to really build a profile and have become a leader in your field.
Just being a mid-level staff designer might be difficult to handle if you have certain expectations on quality of life or a family to care for. I get contacted quite a bit by recruitment as well but honestly, most of the offers are just not interesting to me as the pay is way off.

When I effectively started my ID career in my early 30’s, I felt the pressure immensely to have to progress at twice the speed as my colleagues that were 5,6 or 7 years younger. I felt that I had to catch up in order to be at a place I felt I needed to be going towards 40.

So I absolutely agree that if you stay current, there are indeed jobs but I am not sure that these are necessarily the jobs you want or need when you are a bit older and that getting there does get a lot more difficult as times goes on.

That nails it. depending on where your needs take you can make it harder to find that next job… I have a friend who is a Sr designer and his company wants him to be the design director, but he wants nothing of it. he like what he is doing and is damn good at it, and his desire to keep doing what he is doing out weighs his need to have a higher salary.

I have another friend that misses doing traditional ID work with a focus on execution but her path took her to more of a director lvl - she now struggles trying to obtain a job that fits because he skills have fallen so far behind…

The size of the company is a big factor as well. When I was running a small in house team at Sound United, I couldn’t afford to have a lot of layers of designers. I had two directors below me and everyone was either staff or senior staff below them. When I was at Nike and frog however, the organizations could support different roles for someone who still wanted to be paid a lot, but didn’t want to manage. In both cases these positions were called “principal designer” and were essentially like a super senior designer. Typically the person was super efficient, needed little to no oversight, and was too good to let slip away to the competition.

Those roles exist but in my experience they are typically someone who comes up from the inside, maybe has a manager or director position for a few years and realizes it is not what they want or are good at.

And, by the way, I totally get it. I enjoy both ends of the spectrum, leading a team, setting the vision, as well as rolling up my sleeves and doing the work (isn’t that why we got into this?) so ultimately starting my own studio was the right move.

Finding the right position is very complex. There are a lot of factors and they change on both the job seeker and employer sides of things as time goes on. What an organization needs today is not what it needs tomorrow. What you need today is not what you will need tomorrow. It tends to work better when someone embraces the chaos of it and realized that paths overlap for only so long. sometimes they cross right over each other, sometimes they run parallel and never touch. In rare cases the align for long periods of time.

I don’t want to hijack the OP’s thread. In the US ageism is rampant no matter what the field and as far as ID goes the US has a preconceived notion that only young people can generate fresh ideas.

Either that or your talent and skills are many light years ahead of the rest of us gifted folk.

I haven’t found this to be true personally. I’m in my 40s. Most of my friends are in their 40’s and early 50’s. A lot of us are still getting job offers. I think the common thread though is that all of us spent the last 20 years building our network and leveling up our value. It is an exponential investment. I’ll never forget having lunch with the vP of design at Nike when I was just starting there. I asked him to get lunch to get his advice on my career and he ended up turning my view of it completely upside down.

He said “you know Michael you have this all wrong, you think of your career as a series of choices that narrows your path down. If you do it right, the opposite is true. If you make each decision carefully it leads to more options, not less, so after 20 years your career path is totally divergent, not convergent”… I paraphrase, but something like that. And he was absolutely right, but like any design project, it has to be done with intent. And like every design project, it wasn’t a straight line. Sometimes I messed up. Sometimes I had to go back a little in order to go forward a lot. Not trying to be preachy here, though it might be coming off that way. In the end, there is no right way to do this.

You’ve inadvertently made my point. You are in your 40’s and seemingly never experienced ageism with 20 years of experience. Try 60 + with 40 years of experience and you’ll see things differently.

So i have to disagree, I was given very much the same information as Yo had been given early in my career. I am now close to 50 and (still 4 years but close enough) and my job opportunities are more then they where over the last 15 years. And i have the ability to move into different areas, with my creative thinking and ability to strategically look at innovative options and solutions. And this goes beyond developing physical products. By sixty i hope that i am retired and have gone back to consulting and sharing my knowledge of design and development at a high level to help companies speed up their leanings and reduce their mistakes. (or i could be in a retirement home)… I have also worked with some designers who are at 60 plus and they are at the top of their career and extremely respect by the companies that retain the them. In the end we all have different experiences and mental models which shape our perception.

Maybe your reality. I think the point everyone else is trying to make is that they are not encountering the same problems you are and I don’t think complaining about it here is helping you.

I remember your portfolio from when you started that thread. It was subpar. That is the only reason you don’t get any design employment. You could be 19 and wouldn’t get work with that portfolio (at least not in the traditional industrial design field). You should stop blaming the system and society and look at your skillset and analyse what is lacking.
Also don’t hold your breath for any “management”/“consultant” whatever position, because there are plenty of industry veterans and specialists standing in line for those jobs you can’t compete with.
Why can’t you even get a CAD-monkey job? I don’t know… if I had to guess: because of your “punk rock, fuck you all”- and “I am so smart but nobody gets me”-attitude, if you talk the same way in person as you write online. You know, nobody owes you a job.

A LOT of people figure out rather quickly that design isn’t an industry they can thrive in and switch shortly after graduation. I know tons of people who studied with me and ended up somewhere completely else. And that is totally ok. Most people go into design because they like the idea of it but figure out that the actual work is not quite as glamorous. Most people find that out within a few years after starting to work. If you would be half as smart as you think you are you would have forseen that this industrie isn’t your cup of tea. But you didn’t - probably told yourself how satisfied all your clients are and all that… and sat on your ass for the next 10-15 years. Now you are in a tight corner - but that is on you.

I would suggest to leave the industry entirely and start from scratch somewhere else. Far away from design. Open a sandwich shop, start repairing phone screens - whatever. There is plenty of stuff where you can be your own boss, make a living and thrive without anybody who asks for your age or wants to see your sketches. You just need to find the courage to finally do it instead of being miserable in an industry where apparently nobody wants you.

You crazy.

This is murka. We deserve to be snorting coke off of a hooker’s ass. Anything less is gubmint treading on me, taking away my freedumb. My way or the damn highway, I deserve my to have everything handed to me.

You Germans. Talking about personal responsibility, how dare you. We are free to whine and blame everyone else. MURKA!

OKay, thank you. that was a good chuckle!