one man show, design chop shops good or bad?

Well, I guess the subject line says it all.

I have been working for a couple years. No design boss, no real assignments, and no colleagues. My only mental stimulation is lunch time and telephone. I haven’t learned new software past what was taught in college. However, I am being paid but no interaction with any other designers.

What do you think? Should I keep up with the routine of one man show, doing practically nothing, or return to the job hunt having to worry where my next meal is coming from.

No doubt you need some sort of external stimulation/influence. You can’t design in a vacuum. I find that I work so much better with engineers, other designers, or even “lay” people to bounce ideas off of and brainstorm. I work at a small consultancy (10-12 employees) and also work on some small freelance projects. I sometimes have a hard time getting in a groove when I am working on my own freelance projects. I can develop some interesting ideas, but it is rare that I have all the pieces to the puzzle.

When it comes to software and technology, I find that there are so many tricks and techniques that you can pick up from coworkers. In Photoshop, for example, I always thought that I had a good handle on the program. I’m no wizard, but I feel very confident in my skills. It seems that whenever I sit down with someone else, they will have different ways of creating an effect. “What? How did you do that? No shit, I didn’t know that.” It happens more than you would think.

…being a one man show can be a bit isolating…been there a few times myself but i’ve never wanted for something to do…find something important/valuable to do and do it…form and lead a project team…be pro active…or…get that resume and book dusted off and find another gig…it is really up to you and always will be…

I did it that way for fifteen years . … … wouldn’t do again. Designers need other people to react to/with.

The software learning curve and constant upgrade expenses alone will bite you on the ass. Long gone are the days of a box full of markers, and a few ellipse guides.

So, when you start talking to yourself about whether or not this is a good way to continue, listen to what you are saying. Just don’t wait too long to act.

hey Lmo

just curious…what kind of design work are you doing up in pismo?

Regretfully not as much as I used to. SLO went the opposite direction I though it would… wine tourism (witness the movie;Sideways (shot locally)) vs. high tech. Most of the ‘high tech’ up here now is bio-engineering, and software development; not exactly ID (at least no for me). Cal-Poly is the other local ‘industry’. We’re pretty islolated up here, LA & SF are two hundred fifty miles away; too far to be readily accessible for most companies.

Mostly was doing re-work projects for some local manufacturers; reverse engineering, prototype and engineering models, engineering documentation. Lately, whatever walks through the door including, but not limited to, custom motorcycle stuff, fiberglass tooling and lamination for marine applications, lawn service . … … . well, I haven’t gone that far. … yet.

The median home here price hit $485,000 this spring, it’s just too damned expensive to run manufacturing operations up here. You can’t get qualified professional personnel to move here because they can’t afford to buy a home; production personnel have it even tougher. i.e. a 2 bdrm apartment goes for about $1,100. Wife and I bought our current home for $335,000 in 1998; it appraised in January for $875,000. … . it’s crazy. If you bought it today you would have to pay $8,750 a year in property taxes (1%) … $3,350 is tough enough as it is; but our mortgage payment is only $1,050 a month so we’re ahead of the ‘rental’ rates anyway.

$1,050…is that your ‘total’ mortgage including prop. taxes, or just the actual mortgage? I wouldn’t complain too much about prop. taxes. I pay almost double what you pay on a $200K house!!! Sadly, we live in one of the highest taxes counties in the country. UGH!

bearcat, $1,050 is just the mortgage. Property Taxes are another $3,350 a year; roughly $1,339 a month total. We don’t ‘impound’ the taxes, I hate the government using my money.

I’m not complaining, at all. Considering that the San Luis Obispo County, California housing market was the most expensive market in the United States (not sure if it still is), I count my self lucky to even be able to own a home here. It wasn’t always as desireable a market as it is today, but thanks (or not) in part to the .com boom the population of this county has almost tripled since we moved here in 1978.

I just inherited my mother’s house back in Indiana; a one acre city lot (with municipal services), three bedroom, two bath, two and a half car garage, with upstairs room, huge screened porch on the back of the house, 12’x16’ free standing garden ‘barn’ … appraised at $116,000; taxes, $1,176 per year.

I keep hearing ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ floating though my head.