Something happened at work that leaves me sick to my stomach and feeling unappreciated. I brought this up to my boss and later met with the head of the department to discuss, and I feel even worse. Is this as bad as I think it is, and if so, should I move on from this job even in this economy? Folks in creative roles especially sought for perspective!
posted by thesocietyfor to work & money (50 answers total)
I work as an in house graphic designer for a large-ish (1000 employee) company, and I have about 5 years of experience — just not as an in house designer. I am the only designer supporting a 6-person team, and I've been there a little under a year.
My boss (Joe) and her boss, the department head (Jane) frequently fail to communicate to me important information (such as changes in strategy, new deadlines, etc). I have been working to remedy this. We get a ton of positive feedback and recognition in the company and in community for the quality of work coming from our department despite this, and people other than Joe and Jane have been quick to tell me it's because I am producing great work — although my confidence is eroding in this job.
Here is the stomach-turning incident, and where I would like perspective. Joe hired another company to re-do a logo I had designed three months prior but did not tell me or Jane that he did so. There is collateral in print with this new logo – quite a few hours went into creating that collateral – Joe had signed off on the logo enthusiastically months ago. (Let's me say briefly that Joe isn't well-loved, as he is blunt but not a good listener.)
Okay, so, he didn't care for my design — I appreciate constructive criticism and would even accept if he told me that he didn't think I could give him the product he wanted, then hired someone else. But he didn't tell me about it, I found out about it in a roundabout way, from an e-mail to a project manager from a vendor, and it really upset me.
I set up a meeting this morning with Jane (my direct boss) to discuss. Our meeting started with me asking her to clarify the situation, but Jane didn't know anything about it. She told me it would probably take a week to get a response from Joe about his actions, which I accepted with unexpressed disappointment that my concern ranked so low. She suggested (kindly and with some insistence) I take a personal day if I was upset, which I did, and did take the time to tell me that both she and Joe think that I do great work, and we spoke briefly about ways the lines of communication between us all could improve (an old conversation that has thus far gone nowhere, despite several approaches.)
Joe ended up asking me to meet with him later in the day. He began by expressing bafflement that I would have to take a personal day over something like this. He proceeded to ask me if I thought I could find a better job where I got to do x, y and z (all being normal graphic design projects, nothing really magical). I calmly explained why I felt upset, he asked if I expected to be consulted for all of his decisions, which I clarified to not be my request, but that I did believe he should have alerted me he wasn't happy with my design and that hiring someone else to do my job made me feel poorly. (Note: it's really abnormal for this department to hire outside help. When they have, the projects actually end up coming back to me because Joe and Jane don't feel like the other companies "get" them like I do. I do believe they work badly with designers.)
I kept calm, and he eventually half heartedly apologized for making me feel badly. At some point in the conversation, for some reason that I'm totally clueless of, he thought I was bringing up my salary and he scoffed that if I'm going to get upset about little things, I'm definitely not someone who deserves a raise. I make about $5000 less than someone with my experience in this market as listed by a reliable, recent salary survey for designers. Money isn't the issue but I do make less than most of my coworkers, even some I have more experience than (someone left the dept salary printout on the printer one day and I couldn't help myself – unhelpful, I know!) and a lot of money gets spent at this company, so that hurts.
Is it worth it to leave my job — with professional and ample notice, and stay until they find someone and not sacrifice my work quality just because I'm leaving — over these feelings and work like hell to find another one, where I can find mentorship and feel like a part of team? If it makes any difference, I am feeling so awful at the end of the day at this job that my current job searching is lackluster. When I first moved here, though, I got a temp job within two weeks and then was offered this current job within the month and I believe having the drive of "oh my God have to find a job" really helped. I also believe I am good at what I do, I have a good portfolio and references, and heck, I'm even confident and good at interviews. I have about four months of living expenses saved, and I can rely on help from my mom for a few months beyond that if I truly need it (it would not burden her, but of course I'd prefer not to go that route). My partner is supportive and I have consulted with her at length, as you can imagine from how much I've typed here.
Other factors: My coworkers are mostly nice but I am introverted and surrounded by extroverts who I don't have a lot in common with, and I don't have passion for the company itself. It doesn't focus on high performance and I generally thrive in that environment.
Tl;dr: When is it worth it to leave a job, even when you only have about four to six months of living expenses?