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    Thanks.

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  • Job Advice Needed

    I am a recent New Media graduate (graphic design, web, video/motion, sound design , etc.) and have been working with a two year old company for about 6 months now @ 40 hours a week.

    I was hired in under contract/freelance status @ $xx/Hr. to start pulling the company's collateral into a single, consistent brand. That meant creating a logo, implementing new fonts, and updating all old documents to reflect these new aesthetics (alongside creating new collateral).

    There was so much work to be done that I essentially became a full-time employee - without full time employee compensation. My responsibilities have branched out to include setting up new email addresses, new business cards, fully managing our ENORMOUS Dropbox database, updating our website, calling various business associates, etc. - alongside my initial responsibilities.

    In addition, there have been several promises to purchase an adequate computer for design work for in-office use, as the laptop I brought in for my INTERVIEW is unable to handle ongoing design projects. However, there always seems to be some reason we cannot get one "right now", which means I have to coordinate between going into the office for meetings, etc. and coming home to use my personal desktop for design work.

    We also have two new employees that have a lot of experience in my company's specific market. They live two states away and always seem to come up with a large number of revisions on any work I do the DAY BEFORE OR DAY OF it is to be published or printed - and after they received ample notice to go through the project and find revisions before the deadline. MUCH of the time their revisions are based on design preferences, and as their particular job positions have nothing to do with design, I feel it should not be their place to reject or change something outright.

    SO HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS:

    +Should I be being paid more per hour?
    +Should this be a salaried position?
    +How much should I be pushing to get that new computer?
    +Is there a model or process that I can implement to better structure how design projects flow with other employees?
    +If I was hired in to establish the company's brand, how much design authority should I have?

    I was recently offered another genuinely full-time graphic design position @ $xxHr. They will purchase any computer that I need for the job, offer 401k, 80/20 insurance, yearly bonuses, and a salaried position after 6 months.

    My hesitation is that I do like most of the people I work with now and I feel there is a lot of potential and flexibility with my current company. One big sale could mean a VERY BIG expansion in the near future. It is also about 5 minutes away, versus 30 minutes away for my new job offer.

    Can I use this new job offer as negotiating leverage for my current position? If so, how much leverage does that really give me? Should I just go with the new offer?

    I have about a month to decide, which also lines up with the end of my current lease, so the decision is kind of a big one.

    WHAT I'M WANTING:

    Ideally, I would like to fully manage and define the design process wherever it is that I work. Basically, "What is the goal, what is the raw information - now let me design it - and don't ask me to start 5 other projects that have nothing to do with design."

    I was trained not just to create designs, but also to make decisions, have insight, and look at the big picture in ways others do not. Many times, I feel that all I am being allowed to do is push a cursor around in a program that someone else doesn't know how to use or have the time to learn. Is that fair?

    Any insight from experienced designers would be incredibly helpful and very much appreciated.
    Last edited by Red Kittie Kat; 04-29-2012, 11:15 PM. Reason: Dollar amts. removed

  • #2
    Welcome aboard

    This is the weekend so you will probably get more response to this tomorrow.

    We ask all new members to read the threads posted HERE and HERE. They explain how the forum runs, the rules, frequently discussed topics and our inside jokes.
    _______________________________________
    Hello... My name is Kittie and I'm a Font-a-holic.

    Daily Trivia Game ...GDF Fantasy Football League

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    • #3
      I was trained not just to create designs, but also to make decisions, have insight, and look at the big picture in ways others do not.
      So turn this insight toward this little quandary. How you have a month to decide whether or not to take a job is beyond me...but it seems you have a couple options here.

      Just remember there are always the late ones, always the change-makers. If you can't deal with that problem now, it will follow you no matter where you go.

      As a contractor, did you actually have a contract? Did it have a renewal date or review date? If you feel you are being taken advantage of where you currently are, the feeling will only get worse if you stay and nothing changes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Welcome to GDF!

        From your post, I gather you are a new graduate/entry-level, an independent contractor and you work with a team of people.

        As an independent contractor, you could define your job responsibilities more clearly, and refuse to take on the additional tasks, BUT the company could also choose to reject your proposal, and go with another supplier/contractor.

        Independent contractors work any number of hours. Full-time hours does not equal full-time employee, and does not have any bearing on benefits for which you are not eligible.

        The company is not responsible for providing equipment for independent contractors. If your computer is inadequate, it is up to you to upgrade it on your own dime.

        Re: comments/revisions.
        Sorry to say that your attitude is common among new grads who have the false impression that they will be the "design authority" at xyz company. As a junior designer, your expectation is typically delusional. As a senior designer, one has matured enough to understand that our colleagues/team mates, bosses, clients and ultimately consumers with no "design backgrounds" and their comments/opinions/whims/etc. will be and in fact, should be a factor.

        Having total design autonomy is simply not going to happen.

        Re: your job opportunity.
        What makes you think you will reap financial benefits if this company makes that "one big sale"? Do you have a contract? Is there specific wording in your contract that states you will receive XYZ amount if the company expands? Are stock options part of your compensation?

        Re: using job opportunity as leverage
        I think you are confusing "employee" with "contractor". Perhaps this analogy will help. Let's say, you hire a plumber. That plumber tells you he has another contract job that will pay him more money, but he likes you, and he likes that your location is closer for his commute. He then wants to negotiate with you, that you should make it worth his time to do the contract job in question. What would your answer be?

        Re: big picture vs. mouse pusher.
        Maybe in 10-15+ years when you have racked up some quantifiable experience. Theoretical insights from school are merely a beginning foundation that is built up with real-world experience; with measurable results.

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but based on your queries in this post alone, I'd say you still have a long way to go.

        I would recommend finding a job where you work under the supervision of senior designers/creative director. A job (employee not contract) where:
        • you have the opportunity to learn how to apply your schooling in the real-world
        • you have the opportunity to learn how to adapt and compromise your design while maintaining impact
        • you have the opportunity to learn the production and logistical limitations of real-world implementation
        • you have the opportunity to learn HOW to work well with others.
        Good Luck.
        Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

        Comment


        • #5
          PanToshi put it perfectly.

          As a recent graduate, be glad you have a job at all. There are some of us who have been working longer than you have been alive that haven't had the opportunity to do what you want to do.

          Eat some humble pie and realize that as a graduate with no experience, you don't know all you think you know. At this stage in your career, you should be focused on learning all you can learn. There are so many things to learn that you can never learn in a classroom.
          http://brokenspokedesign.com

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          • #6
            i would tell them that my computer broke so they HAD to buy me a new one... if they do that you know that they're serious about keeping you after said contract and if not... :/
            the last thing you want is to get hired to re-brand them at a fraction of the price it would cost to have it done at an agency and then they can you

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
              So turn this insight toward this little quandary. How you have a month to decide whether or not to take a job is beyond me...but it seems you have a couple options here.

              Just remember there are always the late ones, always the change-makers. If you can't deal with that problem now, it will follow you no matter where you go.

              As a contractor, did you actually have a contract? Did it have a renewal date or review date? If you feel you are being taken advantage of where you currently are, the feeling will only get worse if you stay and nothing changes.
              The prospective employer will not be ready to integrate a new designer until roughly a month from now, this is the only reason for the time frame, and I have been given that time to consider the offer.

              And I know there will always be last minute issues to contend with, as is the norm in almost any field, but I don't think that negates implementation of some kind of procedure to make the process more efficient for all involved.

              The people I work with have very little experience working with a designer, and on the same note, I have very little experience working in a corporate environment (I have about 7 years of freelance experience). So I am hoping (and assuming) that there is some kind of industry-standard design process that larger corporations utilize and adhere to. This is one of the main reasons I posted here.

              As things are, it's a free-for-all and I feel many opportunities are lost.

              Comment


              • #8
                I understand where you are coming from. As a freelancer myself, I often feel as though I am being taken advantage of by my employer/client. I do not work as an independent contractor where I can set my own pay, hours etc. I get paid hourly on the terms of the current agency that hires me.

                I worked for an agency for 3 months using my own laptop because they said the didn't have one for me to use. Five months later, when the asked me to come back, I basically said my computer is broken (which is sorta is) and that I will need to be provided with one. Thankfully they just had a bunch of layoffs and there were several computers available.

                After that experience though, I now will never take a gig where I am required to use my own equipment, unless of course, they are going to compensate me for it.

                As for your questions... in my opinion:
                +Should I be being paid more per hour? depends on how much you feel you are worth. look at aquents salary guide. I checked for myself recently and I believe it said average jr freelancer makes $25/hr

                +Should this be a salaried position? No there are no rules saying your employer has to make you salary just because you have a lot of responsibilities

                +How much should I be pushing to get that new computer? Very much I don't believe anyone should have to use personal equipment if you are basically working full-time hours at the office.

                +Is there a model or process that I can implement to better structure how design projects flow with other employees? Sure. there's lots of stuff you can do. For example, make it known to your boss you'd like to set up a structure and time frame for each project so that you are not getting last minute requests. You still will get last minute requests, but you can at least try to limit them by setting a schedule for your projects and for the team you work with. Send me a private message if you'd like some additional guidelines.

                +If I was hired in to establish the company's brand, how much design authority should I have? You will find yourself in a tough posision with this one because of your limited experience. You say you have 7 years freelance experience, but I'm going to assume 4 of those you spent is school??? So maybe you have 2+ years experience. I apologize if that's a poor assessment. So with 2 years experience, an employer is not likely to trust your design instincts whole-heartedly. Especially if they are closed minded and no very little about design principles and general "good design". On the other hand, you were hired, as you said, to take control of the company's branding situation and you should be able to earn yourself a bit more respect as far as them trusting your skills.

                sorry that's so long...!

                If I were you, I'd look for another job in a larger company that shares your passion for the work you do....some place where you can work under a team of experienced designers/art directors so you can learn. You can look for a paid internship too since you are a recent grad.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PanToshi View Post
                  Welcome to GDF!

                  From your post, I gather you are a new graduate/entry-level, an independent contractor and you work with a team of people.

                  As an independent contractor, you could define your job responsibilities more clearly, and refuse to take on the additional tasks, BUT the company could also choose to reject your proposal, and go with another supplier/contractor.

                  Independent contractors work any number of hours. Full-time hours does not equal full-time employee, and does not have any bearing on benefits for which you are not eligible.

                  The company is not responsible for providing equipment for independent contractors. If your computer is inadequate, it is up to you to upgrade it on your own dime.

                  Re: comments/revisions.
                  Sorry to say that your attitude is common among new grads who have the false impression that they will be the "design authority" at xyz company. As a junior designer, your expectation is typically delusional. As a senior designer, one has matured enough to understand that our colleagues/team mates, bosses, clients and ultimately consumers with no "design backgrounds" and their comments/opinions/whims/etc. will be and in fact, should be a factor.

                  Having total design autonomy is simply not going to happen.

                  Re: your job opportunity.
                  What makes you think you will reap financial benefits if this company makes that "one big sale"? Do you have a contract? Is there specific wording in your contract that states you will receive XYZ amount if the company expands? Are stock options part of your compensation?

                  Re: using job opportunity as leverage
                  I think you are confusing "employee" with "contractor". Perhaps this analogy will help. Let's say, you hire a plumber. That plumber tells you he has another contract job that will pay him more money, but he likes you, and he likes that your location is closer for his commute. He then wants to negotiate with you, that you should make it worth his time to do the contract job in question. What would your answer be?

                  Re: big picture vs. mouse pusher.
                  Maybe in 10-15+ years when you have racked up some quantifiable experience. Theoretical insights from school are merely a beginning foundation that is built up with real-world experience; with measurable results.

                  Sorry to burst your bubble, but based on your queries in this post alone, I'd say you still have a long way to go.

                  I would recommend finding a job where you work under the supervision of senior designers/creative director. A job (employee not contract) where:
                  • you have the opportunity to learn how to apply your schooling in the real-world
                  • you have the opportunity to learn how to adapt and compromise your design while maintaining impact
                  • you have the opportunity to learn the production and logistical limitations of real-world implementation
                  • you have the opportunity to learn HOW to work well with others.
                  Good Luck.
                  I do work full time hours but am not citing that as the sole reason for better compensation. Specifically, it has to do with how the work involved is handled.

                  In every single instance of any freelance experience I've had, I have never been in the position to deal with day-to-day office tasks alongside a core project, let alone taking on additional core projects spur of the moment. As a freelancer, my experience has been that each project should be considered independent and compensation should follow suite.

                  I may be wrong in assuming this, but I feel that an hourly rate for "whatever pops up" is closer to what a full time employee should expect, not a contracted freelancer.

                  The reason that I feel it is not my responsibility to acquire adequate equipment on my own dime is because I am expected to be in-office. I have a perfectly capable desktop at home, but if I'm not there, it's a mute point. A capable laptop was promised based on this scenario but seems to be forever in limbo. In the meantime, I have made it work by coordinating between home and the office, but a lot of time and production is lost in the process, not to mention personal cost. I do not want this temporary flexibility on my part to be taken advantage of.

                  As I said in another response, what I'm looking for is a procedure, based on job positions, etc. through which all parties can have set expectations and the particular project benefits from more efficient collaboration. I do not want total autonomy. I am fortunate enough to have that in other arenas of design and realize that that executive position does not work in this particular environment. I fully understand that client/customer preference is essentially the spark that makes graphic design a viable career, however, I do feel that certain design-specific insights and awareness out-compete personal preference on particular kinds of projects, or at least in regard to specific aspects of particular projects - especially when innovation is at the forefront of expectations.

                  Really, it depends on WHO's personal preference is at play. A customer's? Definitely! Your boss? Of Course! Other design and marketing members! For sure! Some guy two states away that your boss really wants to please because he has a lot of contacts? Ehh... Only for political reasons. And progressive, effective design suffers because he's used to collateral that's been created in Microsoft Word and cookie-cutter websites that my 10 year old cousin could have made.

                  And I think it's a big mistake to assume that every fresh graduate is running around with a bag full of classroom tricks and ideas. Anymore school is simply a platform to develop already embedded talents. In many circumstances, that almighty, cheaply printed, plastic-framed piece of paper is a technicality.

                  I appreciate your analogy, but it needs clarification: First, the plumber also needs to work on three other bathrooms, answer phone calls, make you dinner, and then clean the dishes - five days a week. He's used to a few hours worth of work at a time, but he also likes the idea of a consistent paycheck, so he roles with it. Oh, and you really like the work he does compared to other plumbers that you've hired, so you need him to work on your neighbor's pipes too. He tells you he can't lug his tools back and forth between houses, so you promise him a second set of wrenches to keep at the neighbor's place - but you never really buy that second set of wrenches because finances are tight. He's a good guy though, so he makes it work at his own expense. He feels that your pipes break down a lot, so he wants to hang around. In the meantime he receives an offer from someone else to also work 5 days a week, but receive nearly double the compensation, any tools that are needed from day one, and a sweet benefits package - all for doing the same amount of work. Now, you were in such need for this plumber that you had him wearing five different hats and working on your neighbor's pipes. He comes to you respectfully hoping you can at least match some of the high points in his other offer. Wouldn't it be fair to consider it? And even more to the point, wouldn't it be fair of the plumber to ask?

                  So my answer would be yes, it would be worth my time, especially if this particular plumber's work exceeded that of other's I've had experience with.

                  So maybe I should nutshell that:
                  If company A and designer X are relatively fond of one another, and designer X receives a better compensation offer from company B, shouldn't company A be interested in competing with company B's offer? Especially when company A has expressed disinterest in designers Y & Z, both of which had better equipment?

                  What I was asking for was advice based on the given description, not assumptions about my experience level and ability. With that in mind, any further insights would still be appreciated!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cosmo View Post
                    PanToshi put it perfectly.

                    As a recent graduate, be glad you have a job at all. There are some of us who have been working longer than you have been alive that haven't had the opportunity to do what you want to do.

                    Eat some humble pie and realize that as a graduate with no experience, you don't know all you think you know. At this stage in your career, you should be focused on learning all you can learn. There are so many things to learn that you can never learn in a classroom.
                    I am grateful, believe me, but I won't let that be a reason to be taken advantage of. Gratitude is not an excuse for complacency. And there are many, many people that have never done this thing or that, but that is never, and I mean NEVER, a reason for someone else not to strive to achieve those things. And at the VERY LEAST, that's certainly not a reason NOT to reach out and ask said questions. Again, assuming I have no experience is, well, an assumption, and an inaccurate one.

                    And, frankly speaking, you should always be striving to learn, no matter what stage you are in your career.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just want to thank everyone that responded to my post! Even though some of the responses didn't help in the way I had expected, they certainly helped me better understand my own frustrations in the given situation.

                      And a special thank-you to Yellow Swan (and the lady at FedEx) for assuring me I have a right to be expecting certain things from my employer. It led to the purchase of a new MacBook Pro and a few other fundamental changes

                      Comment

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