Has anyone done freelance graphic design for American Eagle Outfitters?
August 21, 2015 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Hey everyone! I've got a tough decision in front of me... I am lucky enough to be in a position where I have to choose between two job offers. One of these companies is American Eagle Outfitters and I would be working as a graphic designer in the corporate office in Pittsburgh. The other job is at yet another big PGH company, but for a slightly different position. I know people that work or have worked for the second company, so I've got the scoop on that option... However, I don't have any "inside info" on working for AE. Essentially, my position at AE is being called a "freelance" job, but I'd be working in the office 5 days a week with varying hours (and I'd be a W2 employee). That is a bit confusing to me, as (through personal experience) the words "freelance" and "W2" usually don't go hand-in-hand. ;) Anyway, sorry... rambling! Has anyone here "freelanced" for AE Corporate in the past and can give me some info on how it went/what it was like/etc.? I've got a big decision to make by end of day Monday!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most corporations have folks that comb social media and message boards for mentions of their company. Personally I would be wary of what implications this post (and well as previous posts and related profiles) may have on your opportunity.
posted by rubster at 2:36 PM on August 21, 2015 [6 favorites]

I don't see anything remotely problematic in your ask or comment history, but you may want a mod to anonymize your question.

Have you tried looking at GlassDoor.com to see if any designers or freelancers left reviews?

My hunch is freelance means they use you when they need you, so when things slow down, they don't have to pay you. You don't mention whether it's paid on an annual salary, a weekly rate, a monthly rate, etc. but my guess is that if they are calling it "freelance," they can scale it up or down whenever they want. If you just worked there as an employee, you would get paid no matter what -- seems like a potentially big difference to me.

I'm not sure anyone here can tell you -- these are the sort of questions you should be asking them. I noticed in your only other question, you didn't even ask them why they wanted you to bring a laptop to your job interview. You need to remember that as much as companies are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. "How does freelance compensation work?" "How is a freelance position different than a non-freelance position?" "Do you see the demand for this freelance position continuing long-term?" are all valid questions. If you have a job offer for a salaried position at another big company, assuming things like compensation, location, culture, job description, etc. are good with you, I'd go for the salaried, full-time, permanent position.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:46 PM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

I don't think AE has snipers just waiting to rescind your offer if they see this.

This is the only review on glassdoor for what it sounds like you'll be doing and they sound unhappy. (That said, I don't know why they expected the company to have a good strategy and understand what they're doing with digital. How many employers do?)
posted by michaelh at 2:54 PM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Also, on the tax issue, a W-2 is just what the employer issues showing how much an employee was paid for the year. I've gotten a W-2 back for short-term contract/freelance work before, so that doesn't really mean anything. It depends on how the employer chooses to handle it and there may be various reasons for how they do it. So, I still think this job could involve less steady work than you seem to think and you should follow up with them to understand it for sure.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:13 PM on August 21, 2015

Luckily there is a wonderfully simple solution to your question: ask someone there.

I always (and I mean always) ask to speak with people who are doing, work with, and manage the job I will be taking. I also arrange a time where I can sit in for a day, half a day, and see how they work, what the culture is like, and if it feels like a "fit" for me. This costs the company nothing. They are happy to see people so keen to understand how they will fit in (they don't want to hire you and have you leaves straight away).

Your answer lies inside AE, not here in the internets, unfortunately. So just ask those there what it's like to work as a freelance designer and what to expect about projects and workload.

Full disclosure: In a previous life I worked at AE's corporate office in Pgh.
posted by qwip at 3:09 AM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

An update from the anonymous OP:
Hey all - thank you so much for your responses! I agree I should've asked more questions before hastily posting on the web. I've done my homework and made a decision. Your input has been greatly appreciated!
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:23 PM on August 23, 2015

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