Unemployed and considering a career change

May 24th was my 32nd birthday, and coincidentally the day I got let go from my last job. I’m taking the weekend to seriously ponder my future on this planet.

In 2012, I obtained an Associates in Multimedia from ITT Tech (yes, I know, it’s a garbage degree - I don’t need anyone to remind me), and with all of the magnificent training I obtained there, I went on to work a variety of unrelated customer service and production jobs. I showed a talent and interest in 3D design back in the day, and I’ve often wondered about making a serious go in the Graphics Design field.

At this point in my life, most of my expenses are covered (section 8, food stamps, etc), and I really only need a few hundred a month to make ends meet. The way I see it, I could probably find a job to satisfy my financial position, but I really need to start working towards a career I care about.

Most recently, I’ve pondered the feasibility of polishing up my Blender skills and working towards selling models on market sites such as Shapeways. I’ve realized that I need achievable short-term goals to keep me from burning out, so what are some good goals I should consider in this career-change process of becoming a competent designer? I’m not expecting to go sell my first model next week, but then again, that might be a valid goal - I wouldn’t know. I’m looking for a glimpse of the industry and a reasonable series of bites I can take from this particular pie.

Responses need not be related to 3D modeling. I’m open to the possibility that I may have to become varied and well-versed in several other facets of graphics design, and I could definitely use some inspiration (and encouragement, frankly).

Hi Ninja
Welcome to the forum. Might be a bit quiet around here for the next day or 2 as folks in both the US and U.K. are enjoying a 3-day weekend. So hang tight, and I’m sure you’ll get more responses on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, do you have a portfolio? You’ll want to feature work that shows your strongest gd skills. Hint: it’s more effective to show 6-8 strong pieces of work than dozens of mediocre pieces.

Do you have a resume? I would look at updating your current resume to highlight skills from your non-gd related jobs that would also be pertinent to gd, your customer service positions for example.

Also, maybe have a look at job postings in your area that interest you - take note if the skills and qualifications they require, and look into how to go about acquiring them.

Good luck!

File wrangling for 3D printing isn’t exactly graphic design. It’s more like drafting.
Your success will depend on your skillset and the types/quality of pieces output by your crowdsourcing site, and your job will have very little to do with your own creativity other than figuring out how to get things to fit together or to make the program do what your client wants you to do. You are simply going to be an input device for the client doing this.

When we create 3D printed pieces, our draftsmen use SolidWorks, a sophisticated software similar to, and meshing with, AutoCAD. Since I have no idea of the types of tolerances Blender has when used for 3D printing, I don’t know how far up the hireablility ladder you will get with Blender.

Are you by any chance a veteran or an unemployed classification that makes you eligible for job retraining? If so, you might want to up your game by getting some CAD classes on board.

I do not. I had some pieces back in, say, 2012, after I graduated from ITT Tech, but they were low-quality and I’ve lost most of them. Moreover, my skills are rusty, so I need to delve back into the software to recover the ability to make a new portfolio - and improve beyond it.

I do! It’s got all of my most relevant data. I’ve got a Google Docs copy if you’re interested in looking at it. It’s mostly geared towards IT, presently. When I decide on a path to pursue, I’ll likely reformat my resume to accommodate.

GD postings are usually pretty significant in creative-speak. I’m not much of an artist (although that may be purely through lack of experience; at present, I have a hard time drawing stick figures); I don’t even know what I would be especially good at.

You might wonder, “Why is this guy even considering graphics design if he’s not inherently talented?” A few reasons. First, I went to do something by myself instead of punch a clock. I also have a significant interest in design from a gaming aspect (both tabletop, card and board, and video). And I strongly suspect my ability could significantly improve if I simply discipline myself to learn and practice. I just need to feel out the environment first.

Thank you for your responses, PanToshi!

Some of the stuff - most of the stuff, really - that Shapeways markets doesn’t have so much to do with practical tools or fittings as much as aesthetics. Popular items are dice, tokens, miniatures, trinkets, jewelry, and the like. I have some really rudimentary scrap designs on paper somewhere; I just need to develop ability before I can take a crack at bringing them into reality.

Moreover, I’m also significantly interested in digital media, animation, and gaming (in addition to 3d printing); another reason I pursued a Multimedia degree years ago. We trained on 3DS Max, but I’m not going to fork over obnoxious amounts of money for that (at least, not presently).

I don’t know that I’m going for hireability at the moment. Blender is powerful, open-source, well-supported, has a deep community, and has a notable presence. Moreover, a solid experience in 3D will easily transfer over to other programs if necessary.

I am both, actually. I’m not technically disabled enough (only 10% presently) to qualify for vocational rehab, but I’m going through the local community office to try and get a voucher for cert retraining in an in-demand/growing field. All of my 9/11 GI Bill benefits are gone (still trying to figure out how to get them back after the ITT Tech closure), and I’ve been in survival mode (not education mode) for years. It’s just time for a change.


I’m open to correction here if I’ve got some presuppositions that are incorrect. I want to learn and improve, not pretend like I know everything. So, I appreciate everyone’s input sincerely.

Keep checking into the ITT tech thing.
Especially if you have a veteran’s advocate.
There was talk for a while of reimbursement deals.

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