Ethics and principles

So I work for a rather large apparel company with sales reps throughout the country. My job is to correspond with these sales reps and create designs to meet their customers needs. The sales reps receive a base salary plus commission, while I (the designer) receives a very low salary. My job includes other design duties but that isn’t the point for this question.

So today I was made aware that my creative director (who doesn’t even know how to use Adobe CS one bit) wants me to teach the sales reps illustrator. … !!! How would you react?? I paid for my education and now they are wanting me to teach my trade for no extra pay or bonus when the reps are already making bukus of money off my designs? I didn’t know what to say. What would you do in this situation? Please help.

As crass as this sounds, if it doesn’t sit well with you start looking for other opportunities.

That being said, you can teach a sales rep to use illustrator, but they still need other skills to produce anything anyone would buy. I wouldn’t consider teaching someone a software as teaching them your trade, I’d think of it as teaching them how to use a hammer AND an opportunity to ask for an increase as well as bank some experience you can put on your resume.

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@kemingMatters yes I have been looking for other opportunities, unfortunately there aren’t many design jobs where I’m located, especially in apparel design where I’ve been more or less cornered for the last five years :confused: I’m thinking about just telling them it’s wrong to ask me to do this considering I paid for my knowledge and if they want to learn the basics they don’t need to waste my time - just YouTube it.

I would take KMs advice. It doesn’t sound like you are in a “design” position anyway, despite your education and title. Like many companies, it seems this company doesn’t understand that graphic design is a creative visualization skill more than it’s a technical skill. It seems that you are being treated as a production artist.

Having said that, before you quit, it might be worth while to explore to what extent they want you to teach illustrator. If all they want is for you to teach them how to include content, but not necessarily stylize or finalize content, it could be that they are looking for a “contribute” workflow rather than trying to phase you out. This is sort of what has happened to most web graphic designers with (CMS) content management systems. They might only expect you to teach them how to edit text or place content.

Well, here’s your chance to make the sales people look a bit foolish. Not that you want to, of course, but it will enable you to demonstrate to your supervisor that using Illustrator proficiently isn’t a skill that can easily be mastered by people with little aptitude or inclination to do so.

One might ask why they want the sales people to learn Illustrator.

Is the intent for the salespeople to design? Or simply to have an understanding of what the client needs to be submitting so the sales reps don’t waste your time sending you junk files.

I know many sales reps that know the rudimentaries of both Illustrator and InDesign so they can field client files and determine if they are ready to fly. Not an ideal situation as mistakes are apt to be made, but it can be a serviceable one.

You can lead a sales rep to Illustrator, but you can’t make them understand it.

Illustrator’s a bitch to learn. Especially for sales reps, who generally are very non-technical. (At least, the many I’ve known.) I’d tell management something like, “You want it? You got it!”

It’s an opportunity for you to shine, as the reps run screaming away from the machines. This will show management how difficult this skill is. And what a cooperative employee you are, for trying to teach them.

In other words, I don’t think this plan will get off the ground.

I wouldn’t necessarily view it as a threat. It does help when people I work worth know a little about the tools. Just because somebody can use a wrench, it doesn’t make them a plumber.

Every course should be begin with the question “The student will be able to…”. Pose that to your director. What do they want the sales reps to be able to do? Then use that as the basis for planning a curriculum, and give your time projections to the director. Don’t underestimate. The director may look at it and realize it’s not worth it to have say, 10 sales reps, tied up for 20 hours each, learning something they will never be really good at. That’s 200 hours less time that could be spent selling.

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Great advice! Wish I’d said it. :wink:

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