Pimp my job
January 3, 2008 8:24 AM Subscribe
I need career advice on how to become a graphic designer when I'm already a grown up. Bonus & intertwined question: can you help me see if I am on the path toward being screwed at my current job?
posted by anonymous to work & money (6 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, so. When I was a kid I couldn't draw so they told me to go pursue something else, like writing or music or science. I listened to them and got BA (and a masters degree) in English. Now I'm in my thirties and work for a marketing/advertising/graphic design company as a print project manager. I really like aspects of my job, especially related to the more technical side of things, like how to print what, and how paper behaves, and what spot varnish will do for you, and when printing hexachrome would be killer. Also, when I was in grad school for an unrelated degree in creative writing, I got pretty involved in the book arts program--took classes in typography, set metal type and operated a letterpress, etc. I loved it. I even designed and produced some wedding invitations for strangers on the side. But I basically have no formal training in design. I thought that was fine, as I get my creative kicks elsewhere and still get to feel involved in the process at my job--designers ask my opinion about typefaces and inks and stuff. This was great until I had my performance review, where I was not given a raise despite the fact that I earned a substantial one last year and I know the company is doing very well. Basically I was told that I needed to step it up and demonstrate that I was clearly on the path to someday being a Director of Production, that I had come as far as I could at my current level (though there were no concrete responsibilities put forth that I could take on or anything). Being sensitive and paranoid I immediately thought I should be polishing my resume as my status as golden child was officially defunct. But it also made think about what I really wanted. Frankly, the idea of managing people and becoming more removed from the actual production process sorta fills me with disinterest and bile. But I have to move up somehow, because I guess it's the end of the line at my current post. So, I came to the conclusion that what I really want to do is design. I wouldn't even mind being a studio production artist for a few years while building the technical skills I'd need. I'm thinking my strategy will be to propose that I set the goal of managing the studio while taking classes in all the design software. My main questions are therefore:
1. What advice would you give to a person in my situation, who has no degree or experience, to pursue a career in design? Am I too old? Can I do this without having to go back to school, because that's financially out of the question at this point. And if you're at all familiar with the structure at the sort of place I work, how would you leverage the resources I have to further my goal?
2. Should I be worried about keeping my job? In my experience, once a person falls out of favor, they have the unfortunate likelihood of being made scapegoat and basically having a very small chance of success at their job. Am I, from your limited perspective, poised for such a downfall?
This is anonymous because I am convinced people google me way more than they probably do, and I don't want anyone I work with to accidentally find this & know of my top secret ambitions.
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