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I'm going to try not to make this too long, because I could go on forever with how badly I'm being taken advantage of, but I'd REALLY like to hear anyone's thoughts/advice on my situation. Actually, I'd LOVE any advice, because I don't know how much longer I can sacrifice my own self-respect.

I just graduated ID school this year, and was hired into what ON PAPER is essentially my dream job. It is within the area that I've been focused on since day 1 of school (since 11th grade, actually), and the company I'm working for is owned by one of the most successful companies in the world (aka they have their resources backing them up). Plus I'm in the city I want to be in, and the office location is GREAT.

Thing is, since I'm a recent graduate, I'm a LOT younger than everyone else at the office. I was hired as a full-time freelancer/consultant (aka NOT an intern, and NOT a junior designer), and I'm actually the new boss's first hire. I've worked in corporate design offices before, and so I thought I had a good idea of what it would be like going in. Little did I know that I would not only be treated like an intern, I've basically just been used for manual labor.

My boss is incredibly busy, and so his assistant is generally the guy who runs things. This guy, let's call him A, is one of the most condescending, pretentious ________s I've ever encountered. He literally has started calling me by the intern's name!!!! If that's not a clue as to how he views me/my role/capabilities, I don't know what is. He is the most anal micromanager I've ever met, and I have the great misfortune to have my desk right next to his. He is CONSTANTLY over my shoulder asking, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? Who is that for?

If I'm on core or notcot, or some blog looking at design stuff he immediately gets suspicious and assumes I'm just wasting time. He'll immediately give me some manual labor task to then get me busy and 'useful'. He constantly has me walking over to far reaches of the office to ask someone a question when he could save everyone time and energy by just emailing or calling that person himself. He sent me out to pick something up and one of my coworkers gave me a confused look and said, "wait a second. Don't you work full-time for us? Why isn't he sending the intern to do this instead?" He is also always asking me if I'm helping the intern. It's gotten to the point where the intern will actually start telling me what to do!!!!!!!!!!!

The other designers themselves are almost no better. In previous offices/studios I worked at, everything felt communal and exciting. At this place, I saw a designer looking at a blog, and the next day I asked him what it was so I could check it out. He refused to tell me, saying he didn't "want to share it with anyone yet" because he was working off of something inspiring from it. I'm sorry, but wtf?! I smiled and walked away.

I've been making 'allies' with some of the more down-to-earth designers, and we came up with a plan for them to give me some design-related assignments, so that when A comes around, I could say sorry I've got to work on this. But any time I sit down to sketch, A will of course be over my shoulder, telling me that what I'm doing is NOT my first priority, and he'll put me on some cleaning task. And what makes me really sad is that even these 'allies' will come to me with guilty looks on their faces, asking me to do some quick task they could just as easily do themselves but clearly just don't want to do because it's 'beneath' them.

So, after all that, here are the positives:

- I pick up a LOT of knowledge, because I WILL ask questions, even when I know the people at this place don't appreciate my curiosity, and view it with suspicion. God forbid I should want to know more about the company/the production processes of what we do.

- I'm probably/definitely making a lot more $ than I would elsewhere. Which begs the question, if all they needed was another intern/manual laborer, WHY DIDN'T THEY JUST HIRE ONE FOR LESS.

BUT.

If I continue grinning and bearing it, I'll be staying in what essentially is a dead-end job. This is doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for my career.

I've been around for exactly a month now so I'm a little bit afraid of voicing my concerns to my boss just yet. I spoke with him very briefly and I'm going to sit down with him at "60 days" to discuss the future of this freelance gig. When I interviewed with him (now that I look back on it and know now how busy he is, I cannot fathom how he took the time out of his day to speak with me for forty minutes) he spoke about wanting to have about three new full time designers in the near future, and so I assumed when I was hired that I was on some sort of trial thing. When I speak with him, how do I mention that I'm being COMPLETELY TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF, treated like CRAP, viewed with suspicion, and have barely been able to put pen to paper? He's the kind of guy who wants people to just take their own initiative and just do whatever needs to be done, but I literally cannot even do this when I have this monster assistant of his constantly breathing down my back and telling me WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHEN to leave. I kid you not, he literally asks me if I'm "on my way out yet?" every day. One day, he *actually* waited for me to come out of the bathroom right before I left and he accompanied me in the elevator and started grilling me on what sort of work I was doing for one of the designers. I can't even imagine what he THINKS I was doing that he should be so suspicious.

Please please please share your advice. I don't want/mean to sound whiny and ungrateful that I have a job, but it's so ridiculous.

(Clearly, I failed at not making this too long. Thank you for bearing with.)
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First off, this sounds like a terrible situation and you need to jump ship as soon as you can. You boss does not sound motivating, nor does he sound like anyone that should be managing associates. Also can I ask what kind of company this is? Do they have IDers? Do they understand how ID works? I am a bit confused on these manual labor tasks you are referring to. If they are Model shop type task this could be a good thing, but if they are shipping boxes, or cleaning the office type tasks this is a different story.
I've been around for exactly a month now so I'm a little bit afraid of voicing my concerns to my boss just yet.
I would advise not to be affraid to bring this up. If you were hired as a designer, you should be working as a designer. If you stick it out for longer without bring it up to your boss things are only going to get worse. Negativity is lack of motivation only grows and may even destroy your dreams as a designer. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. It is a very hard thing to pull yourself out of.
He's the kind of guy who wants people to just take their own initiative and just do whatever needs to be done, but I literally cannot even do this when I have this monster assistant of his constantly breathing down my back and telling me WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHEN to leave. I kid you not, he literally asks me if I'm "on my way out yet?" every day. One day, he *actually* waited for me to come out of the bathroom right before I left and he accompanied me in the elevator and started grilling me on what sort of work I was doing for one of the designers. I can't even imagine what he THINKS I was doing that he should be so suspicious.
This is a discussion you need to have with your boss. If this is truly the way this guy acts, then you boss needs to know about, especially if you are working for a corporate company. These actions are unacceptable and need to be dealt with. Next time you boss is in the office ask for a half hour of his time and put it on his calendar. Be prepared to discuss your future with the company, the guy that is managing you, and what projects you should be working on. Plan to do this WITHOUT his assistant. Unless his assistant is you boss, he has no business in a personal one-on-one conversation about your career.

Another way to approach is to work out objectives. It kind of sounds like you may have a lack of directions and may need some formal objectives to help guide you in the right direction.

I hope this helps
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So, wow, that sounds not good. There is such a thing as paying your dues, and I've done my fair share of mounting sketches on boards, scanning stacks of sketches, driving to FedEx, and even getting the boss coffee, BUT this has always been in an environment that was healthy working for a boss who was invested in my future. What you are experiencing is not that from the sound of your description.

There are 2 major things I think you should do:

1) obviously start looking for another position. When possible employers ask you why you are looking to leave your current role when it is what you want to work on and where you want to work, explain politely that it is not the best fit for how you want to grow as a designer or something equally polite and vague. Do not go into detail as you never know who knows who. You could also say that you are a freelancer there and that you are interested in securing full time employment with a company that wants to invest in your growth and mentorship so you can fully dedicate yourself... no one will argue with that.

2) and this is the hard one (if you thought 1 was hard get ready), you have to change the way you see yourself. This assistant guy, he is an assistant. The boss hired you. Your going to have to, in a firm, and possibly public way, explain that you were not hired for this, that you are designer and you are here to do design work.... very carefully and in away that is tactful. I'd also talk to the HR department and set something up with "the boss" right away. Don't make it about you, make it about the environment in the office being counterproductive, device, and not suitable for growing people into profitable long term employees, and then use example of things that have happened to you.

This is all going to be very difficult and emotionally taxing... and you could get let go.... but the alternative is just taking it, which I've never been able to do well personally. This is essentially a huge design problem.
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PackageID wrote:First off, this sounds like a terrible situation and you need to jump ship as soon as you can. You boss does not sound motivating, nor does he sound like anyone that should be managing associates. Also can I ask what kind of company this is? Do they have IDers? Do they understand how ID works? I am a bit confused on these manual labor tasks you are referring to. If they are Model shop type task this could be a good thing, but if they are shipping boxes, or cleaning the office type tasks this is a different story.
I've been around for exactly a month now so I'm a little bit afraid of voicing my concerns to my boss just yet.
I would advise not to be affraid to bring this up. If you were hired as a designer, you should be working as a designer. If you stick it out for longer without bring it up to your boss things are only going to get worse. Negativity is lack of motivation only grows and may even destroy your dreams as a designer. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. It is a very hard thing to pull yourself out of.
He's the kind of guy who wants people to just take their own initiative and just do whatever needs to be done, but I literally cannot even do this when I have this monster assistant of his constantly breathing down my back and telling me WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHEN to leave. I kid you not, he literally asks me if I'm "on my way out yet?" every day. One day, he *actually* waited for me to come out of the bathroom right before I left and he accompanied me in the elevator and started grilling me on what sort of work I was doing for one of the designers. I can't even imagine what he THINKS I was doing that he should be so suspicious.
This is a discussion you need to have with your boss. If this is truly the way this guy acts, then you boss needs to know about, especially if you are working for a corporate company. These actions are unacceptable and need to be dealt with. Next time you boss is in the office ask for a half hour of his time and put it on his calendar. Be prepared to discuss your future with the company, the guy that is managing you, and what projects you should be working on. Plan to do this WITHOUT his assistant. Unless his assistant is you boss, he has no business in a personal one-on-one conversation about your career.

Another way to approach is to work out objectives. It kind of sounds like you may have a lack of directions and may need some formal objectives to help guide you in the right direction.

I hope this helps

First off, thanks for your reply.

A little more background info: this company is in a 'transition period' of sorts, and that's why my new boss was brought in, to manage things better and obviously make the company more money. So the situation is essentially a big group of people who got comfortable working in a certain way and now they are expected to do things differently and everything's sort of chaotic.

After my interview, I was super excited to come in and work for this company. I was expecting to have some sort of sit-down with my boss on the first day to talk a little bit more indepth about what my role would be, but nothing of that sort happened. His assistant took me around, gave me half a second to say hi to him, and that was it. I *am* pretty disappointed in my boss.

All the designers were ID I think, but I'm one of the very few who knows AI/PS. I sincerely WISH it was model job tasks I was doing, because at least then I'd be gaining experience in that area, but unfortunately, it IS doing shipping boxes, moving large boards, running around cleaning up after everyone's messes (the accountability in this office is just non existent), etc etc etc. Literally stuff that I think even interns shouldn't have to do. It blows my mind that people will so obviously look the other way as they leave a mess behind that they know they can get myself/the intern to clean up. They literally cannot look me in the eye.

I have definitely thought about telling A, the next time he asks me to do something totally unrelated to my role, "I was brought in as a designer, not as a personal assistant," or something to that effect. But then I know he will passive-aggressively put me on even more meaningless tasks.

I am SO prepared to talk to my boss, I've just spoken with former hires and coworkers of his and they have told me that he doesn't like to hear people complain. I have to figure out what's relevant and not to bring up, because I don't want to just go on and on about what bothers me.

I'm also a little wary of HR- when I asked the lady who interviewed me how long my thing was for, she told me she didn't know and that I should ask my boss. Hm....

Do you think it's okay to ask my boss to have a sit-down earlier than the "60 days" which we discussed? I really cannot wait two more months (40 more work days) to get this all out.

Also, could you explain a little bit more what you mean about "objectives"- I definitely am lacking direction, because everything I do is dictated by A, and he only tells me what to do once one thing is finished.
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Also, could you explain a little bit more what you mean about "objectives"- I definitely am lacking direction, because everything I do is dictated by A, and he only tells me what to do once one thing is finished.
Objectives is a document that is written up that clearly defines what you and you boss think you should accomplish through out the year. They are usually written for full time employees, but I do not see why they could not be written for you X mont assignment. By putting it on paper you can then go back and say we agreed on X and you have me doing Y. I would still strongly suggest putting yourself out there and get out. Like Yo mentioned, we have all paid our dues by sweeping shop floors, mounting sketches, scanning others work, etc..., but this is taking it to a completely different level. These first years of your career are very important in the molding the direction of you career, don't waste them at a place like this.
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yo wrote:So, wow, that sounds not good. There is such a thing as paying your dues, and I've done my fair share of mounting sketches on boards, scanning stacks of sketches, driving to FedEx, and even getting the boss coffee, BUT this has always been in an environment that was healthy working for a boss who was invested in my future. What you are experiencing is not that from the sound of your description.

There are 2 major things I think you should do:

1) obviously start looking for another position. When possible employers ask you why you are looking to leave your current role when it is what you want to work on and where you want to work, explain politely that it is not the best fit for how you want to grow as a designer or something equally polite and vague. Do not go into detail as you never know who knows who. You could also say that you are a freelancer there and that you are interested in securing full time employment with a company that wants to invest in your growth and mentorship so you can fully dedicate yourself... no one will argue with that.

2) and this is the hard one (if you thought 1 was hard get ready), you have to change the way you see yourself. This assistant guy, he is an assistant. The boss hired you. Your going to have to, in a firm, and possibly public way, explain that you were not hired for this, that you are designer and you are here to do design work.... very carefully and in away that is tactful. I'd also talk to the HR department and set something up with "the boss" right away. Don't make it about you, make it about the environment in the office being counterproductive, device, and not suitable for growing people into profitable long term employees, and then use example of things that have happened to you.

This is all going to be very difficult and emotionally taxing... and you could get let go.... but the alternative is just taking it, which I've never been able to do well personally. This is essentially a huge design problem.
Thanks yo.

I'm definitely not going to take this forever, and my gut is telling me I'm going to be done with this place soon. If only it were so easy to just get another job..

Is it really acceptable to just say to A, the next time he tells me to do something irrelevant, "excuse me, but I was hired as a designer"? I just KNOW that he'll say something along the lines of, "you were hired to help out wherever needed, and that's not what we need most at the moment." What am I supposed to say to that?!

Getting more and more ready to ask my boss for an earlier sit-down. Wish me luck..
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PackageID wrote:
Also, could you explain a little bit more what you mean about "objectives"- I definitely am lacking direction, because everything I do is dictated by A, and he only tells me what to do once one thing is finished.
Objectives is a document that is written up that clearly defines what you and you boss think you should accomplish through out the year. They are usually written for full time employees, but I do not see why they could not be written for you X mont assignment. By putting it on paper you can then go back and say we agreed on X and you have me doing Y. I would still strongly suggest putting yourself out there and get out. Like Yo mentioned, we have all paid our dues by sweeping shop floors, mounting sketches, scanning others work, etc..., but this is taking it to a completely different level. These first years of your career are very important in the direction of you career, don't waste them at a place like this.
Wow, this is super helpful. Thank you... I can use it as a really innocuous approach to the situation.

(Is this what's referred to as a DOD?)
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Waxy wrote:[
Is it really acceptable to just say to A, the next time he tells me to do something irrelevant, "excuse me, but I was hired as a designer"? I just KNOW that he'll say something along the lines of, "you were hired to help out wherever needed, and that's not what we need most at the moment." What am I supposed to say to that?!

Getting more and more ready to ask my boss for an earlier sit-down. Wish me luck..
That is the beauty of the statement, he is going to say something like that, and that is when you hit him with something like, "not according to "boss guy's name" when HE hired me. Maybe we should both go in to "Boss Guy's" office and clarify the situation, as that seems like an incredible waste of resources and we seem taxed already."

I remember once a product manager threatened to kill an entire program unless I made a change that was based on whim. When I refused he came back with "this is your responsibility now and the VP is not going to be happy" and I countered with "your right, lets go set up that meeting with the VP and I'd love to hear you explain that you killed a major program because I would not make a change that had no bearing on anything but your whim, make sure I'm on the meeting invite, I want to be there for that one." ... the program went ahead as is.
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Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, that's how some people view freelancers, just barely a step above an intern so you do have to make sure your role and reason for being there is completely known to everyone that you have to interact with. And when it comes down to it, start talking costs. I'm sure your freelance rates are a lot more than what they're paying the intern. Ask them if they really want to spend $50 to have you scan these 200 sketches when the intern can do it for $10?
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skinny wrote:Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, that's how some people view freelancers, just barely a step above an intern so you do have to make sure your role and reason for being there is completely known to everyone that you have to interact with. And when it comes down to it, start talking costs. I'm sure your freelance rates are a lot more than what they're paying the intern. Ask them if they really want to spend $50 to have you scan these 200 sketches when the intern can do it for $10?

Thanks. Just curious, have you experienced that (whether directly, or seen it happen to a/nother freelancer)? I'd never heard of that before.

Would you seriously have the guts to say something like that? Maybe I'm just too meek.

I've got endless amounts of sarcastic comments in my head, and it's taking everything I've got to hold it all back. I don't want to get fired, after all (the satisfaction of quitting will be *mine*). This has been a serious learning experience for me... I feel like I've learned more about the design world in the past five weeks than I did in four years of classes at school. Nuts!

Hoping to have a happy update sometime in the near future...
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GET OUT! I have 6 years of experience now and I have spent roughly 3 years each in 2 different jobs where I really have not had the opportunity to fully utilize my skills. I feel like it has definitely set me back.

In both cases I took the initiative to approach companies who didn’t really have an active working relationship with an in house Industrial Designer. I also had bosses who were too busy to interact with the majority of the rank and file employees.

At one place I reported directly to the company owner, and he had a habit of getting WAY too involved in every single aspect of the day to day operations. He wasn’t letting intermediate staff handle things, he was knee deep in everything and didn’t spend enough time giving people direction or looking at the big picture. I even said on more then one occasion to him; “I feel like I’m wasting your time because I don’t get enough input and direction to know if what I’m doing is really what you’re looking for.” His response was “I don’t have time to meet with you on a regular basis.” I did get to jump into new roles like graphic design and trade show planning, but often times I sat there on Monday morning and wondered “What the hell am I going to do to keep busy all week?” His answer to that was to make me the defacto IT guy since we didn’t have one and I had a decent knowledge of computers. I also got stuck fixing the damn shipping and merchandise label printers any time a factory floor employee screwed them up. I spent too much time getting delegated into stuff that distracted me from doing real design work, but it was probably what it took to justify me being on staff when they couldn’t afford a full time IT guy, etc.

In the last position I held I was the only Industrial Designer on staff, and the majority of their designs came from outside freelancers and the basic sketches, dimensions, etc went directly to R&D to be prototyped and then to Engineering. There was too much of a “we don’t have time for that, just let R&D build it” mentality when it came to thinking out the design on the front end or refining aesthetics, dimensions, etc. and integrating the design process into the Engineering department early instead of letting R&D run amuck and try and understand their process later. To make matters worse the dept head was always very busy and preferred to just throw stuff on somebody’s lap and gave them little information to understand WHAT they were working on or who to work WITH to get things accomplished. He got angry when people met to discuss projects in greater depth! I spent most of my time doing renderings of custom product and doing menial CAD drawing work. I had this gut instinct that I wouldn’t be utilized the way I should when I came on board in the 1st place, but I was fed up with the previous job and greateful for ANY opportunity. I kept saying to myself, “I’ll sit down and ask them what direction my position should be going in later” and I never did. The company was bought out by a bigger corporation with a better structure and I hoped that things would get better under their leadership. We only got busier and when we were at the peak of a major project, that’s when I got let go because they started eliminating positions due to declining business and budget constraints. It wasn’t a total shock because I always felt uneasy about my job security since there wasn’t an in house designer before and apparently they made due without one.

Now I feel like I really need to push for working in an environment with other ID people so I can actually learn from them and have some other supporters of the design process in place.

Getting back to your situation, I really don’t think it sounds very repairable. It sounds to me like your boss isn’t available to be talked to and this assistant is going to micro manage you to death as long as you are there. If they’re not giving you direction and you’re taking a lesser role then the intern then it’s time to go! Running to the hardware store to get materials to make a rough model or a prototype is one thing, but cleaning up the office like a secretary is ridiculous! Unless you can sit down with the boss and politely and tactfully explain that you feel like you shouldn’t be doing all these meaningless tasks and you’d like to be focused on design work that makes a contribution then you don’t stand a chance of seeing things change. As I said having been there/done that with a very busy boss before I doubt you’ll get that chance. My advice is to decide how long you want to grin and bear it and set a deadline. Probably your 60 days. If you reach that and things haven’t changed nor have you had a chance to talk with your boss, then don’t burn any bridges and politely say that you’d like to move on to focus on finding a more permanent position.
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Waxy wrote:
skinny wrote:Sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, that's how some people view freelancers, just barely a step above an intern so you do have to make sure your role and reason for being there is completely known to everyone that you have to interact with. And when it comes down to it, start talking costs. I'm sure your freelance rates are a lot more than what they're paying the intern. Ask them if they really want to spend $50 to have you scan these 200 sketches when the intern can do it for $10?

Thanks. Just curious, have you experienced that (whether directly, or seen it happen to a/nother freelancer)? I'd never heard of that before.

Would you seriously have the guts to say something like that? Maybe I'm just too meek.
Sometimes you have to tactfully "suggest" better ways that you can be utilized, especially if the person supervising you is new and doesn't really know you or your role. There are ways to say something without being argumentative and in case that doesn't work, then you definitely go over their head and directly to who's in charge of you being employed.

I have long term relationships with some clients so they know me well and what I bring to the table. They'll have new staff designers that they want to groom to be project leads so sometimes if I'm brought in to help finish off a project or to help it through a sticking point, they'll put me under the direction of the guy they're grooming because they know I can make sure things get done and I'm a workhorse under a tight deadline. Sometimes the "lead in training" may not always utilize me in the best way possible since they don't know me and to them, I'm the new guy (when I'm actually the really old guy). So there may be concept work that needs to be done which I'm really good at but the young lead may inappropriately have the fresh out of school fancy sketcher working on concepts (that are pretty but not viable designs) and me doing production assistant work (not realizing my experience level, what I'm getting paid, and why I was brought in on the project).

They may not have the experience yet to know how to allocate tasks in the best way so you have to find a way to let them know that without making them feel like you're being combative and don't respect their position as lead. I like to be subtle about it so that they can figure it out on there own to help them learn the tactics better instead of me outright telling them and having them just think I'm just the guy that won't follow orders.

On one rare occasion, I was in a position where the project lead (in training) was really messing up but was also too stubborn and cocky to listen to suggestions. They wouldn't listen to anything I said at all and the only person they would listen to was the owner. The owner actually brought me in because I was a specialist in that specific type of product and knew more about it and the process than they did. But this young designer figured their 4 yrs of school and 1 year of experience trumped my 5 yrs of school and 11+ yrs experience, I guess because I was "just" the freelancer. They would constantly fight against my suggestions on how to proceed just because it came from my mouth. So instead of continuing to bash my head against that wall, I just made sure that the people that actually hired me could see what I was doing (scanning the younger guys work when I hadn't had a chance to do any concept work myself in the product category I was the specialist in). Making sure the owners saw me with 2 hrs worth of scanning and file management allocated to me, no concepts from me in the stack and the presentation due the next day fixed that situation real quick.
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I've got endless amounts of sarcastic comments in my head, and it's taking everything I've got to hold it all back. I don't want to get fired, after all
You are acting out of fear, my friend, never a good advisor.

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Skinny, sounds like I'm in the opposite of your position (not being trusted/treated like crud bc I'm "new" vs you being "outdated").

I'm still not getting any real design work, but I've stopped smiling at A and I think he's starting to get it. There have definitely been a few times where he's paused for a second by my desk and then moved on to the intern's and asked them to do whatever it was instead. Still will get the outrageously obnoxious request every so often though.

I've been speaking with a few more designers too. One from said owner company (who works occasionally here) recognized the situation, and without me even saying anything, told me I could come to her with ideas and we could work on them. A few more designers have been trying to give me some of their more redundant design work. Still not ideal, but at least I've got people on my side and trying to get me into a more relevant place.

Still have yet to arrange an earlier sit-down with my boss, but I'm waiting for a bunch of crazy business stuff to pass + preparing some projects to show to emphasize my point.

It's "nice" to hear everyone elses' stories, keep them coming :)
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Joined: July 1st, 2010, 10:54 pm
Waxy,

The Agony Aunt in me suspects you might be doing something to reinforce this behavior. It's easy to fall victim of 'Perceptual Set' where your co-workers see you forevermore as gofer. The studio Baldrick (if you've ever watched Blackadder)

Have a chat with someone mature and sensible, maybe not necessarily a friend, but someone who may tell what you don't want to hear, so that you can develop strategies for getting out of the destructive mindset. You may be doing something really simple- a difficult personal trait, funky body language, or something that comes over as an attitude problem. Focus on your creativity, screw what others think, get a side project running rather than looking at Core forums, and take the long view on your career.

Remember too that some full-time designers are hanging on by their fingernails and have their own insecurities- maybe you can spot them before they single you out as runt of the litter.
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