Cave Cuniculum...

Latin. Means "beware the rabbit."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Back from the dead.

It's been a rough nine months, fraught with unemployment and multiple deaths in the family. I'll not go into details here; suffice to say the worst is behind me.

While the road ahead is not without some potholes and the occasional detour, at least things are a damned sight better then they were a short time ago.

More to come.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You Get What You Pay For...

Craigslist is a decent place to find jobs. Being unemployed, it's one of the places I frequent in my job searches. However, I'm noticing a disturbing trend of low-balling jobs for graphic & web designers.

The majority of these list the requirements for the job - usually "3-5 years experience; fluent in CS3; etc." - but demean the qualifications by offering a paltry sum of $10-$15 per hour for compensation. This is what you would pay an unskilled worker to move boxes in a warehouse, or a high-school student to make a Big Mac. This is not what you pay a professional who has spent years honing a very specific skill.

As a graphic artist, I'm outraged. This is demeaning not only to me but to designers (both print and web) and the industry as a whole. I understand the economy is down and things are tight, but offering trained and skilled creative individuals McJob wages is not the way to go. More often than not, you'll end up insulting and angering the very people you're trying to attract.

A better solution is to put "negotiable" for compensation. Granted, it's vague, but you'll find that designers will be more willing to work with your budget if you're open and respectful of their time. This isn't pompous or arrogant; it's simply a desire to be adequately and fairly compensated for our time.

Think about it. Would you expect Wolfgang Puck to prepare a meal for you for $10/hr? The guys from West Coast Choppers to build a custom bike for $10/hr? Beyoncé to sing at your wedding for $10/hr?

Professional designers are just that - professionals - and should be recognized as such. Stop low-balling compensation. Professional work deserves professional compensation.

Anything less is insulting.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Trevails of Detroit

Found this article about what Detroit is going through:
The Trevails of Detroit.

How can Detroit survive?
How about this:

  1. Cut the bullshit in Washington, and fix the housing crisis. Screw bailing out the banks, and start prosecuting the greedy fuckheads that caused the problem.

  2. Congress needs to take a step back. They'll give billions to failing banks and the CEOs that drove them into the ground without batting an eye but they'll hold the auto execs to fire when they need help?

  3. Stop blaming Ford, GM and Chrysler. Yes, they should've been working to produce energy-efficient vehicles, but they didn't force your fat ass to buy those SUVs, now did they?

  4. Find a way to encourage businesses to stay in Detroit. Having Hollywood production companies shoot feature films in Detroit is wonderful, but there's a problem: they leave. How does that help Detroit's job market?

  5. Start promoting the positive aspects of Detroit, and ease up on the negative. There's been hundreds of reports on how bad Detroit is; how about we start seeing some equal time for the positive that's here? For example, did you know that there's a huge organic garden and urban farm - Earthworks - in Detroit? The defending NHL Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings play right here at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit?

Look, I know that the car companies are partly responsible for what's happening in Detroit. However, the largest culpability lies with the banking industry and the mortgage companies. Golden parachutes and adjustable-rate mortgages have caused more damage to Detroiters than the auto industry ever could.

Here's what everyone who wants the auto industry and the UAW to fail needs to remember: if they fail, you can pretty much wipe Michigan off the map. When that happens, keep an eye on the states with major suppliers to the auto industry - including those that supply the foreign automakers. Watch as the unemployment rate in those rises drastically. A little drastic? Not at all. With their biggest customer gone, suppliers will seriously cut corners and jobs to curtail expenses. I seriously doubt that the foreign automakers purchase enough from these suppliers to keep them in business. It's not that the Big 3 are too big to fail; it's that they directly and indirectly keep thousands of people employed.

I'll blatantly admit that I utterly despise southeast Michigan, but I've a special fondness for Detroit. It is the one bright spot in this otherwise craptastic part of Michigan.

Monday, February 16, 2009

They're creative, I'll give them that.

I received my official FOD letter from Dart Container over the weekend.

Pretty standard, really - "we are unable to offer you employment at this time", "good luck with your job search" - except for what they included with the letter.

A magnet. Specifically, a cup-shaped magnet with the company name and job hotline phone number on it. To them, it's a way to keep their phone number and company name in front of the person, and I'm sure it goes over like gangbusters at career fairs.

But this is where you need to think before acting.

You're sending out a rejection letter. Do you really want to add insult to injury by enclosing a cheap chotchkie item as a reminder? Something that will be displayed where it will be seen several times a day?

I'm certain that they were thinking "hey, you didn't get the job but here's a way to check up on other jobs at the company." To me, it said "not only aren't we giving you the job, but here's a way to check on other positions we'll turn you down for."

Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but I've been out of work for a month now. I don't need magnets or false sympathies.

I need a job.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The times, they are a-changin'...

For a little over three weeks now I've been sending out resumes and making phone calls and applying to any and every job that I'm remotely qualified with bugger all to show for it.

Apparently it's time for a bit of a change.

Today I interviewed at ITT Tech (don't laugh) for an adjunct instructor position in their visual communications department. Tomorrow I go to "test-teach", meaning they want to make sure I can engage students. The person I interviewed with told me that I pretty much aced the interview, and that my work was spot-on. They just want to make sure that I can actually teach.

When I got home, I received a call from Dart Container. Weeks ago I had submitted two applications to them - one for a graphic designer position; the other for a design supervisor position - and gotten no response. Well, until today. Apparently I was passed over for the graphic designer position, but they want to interview me for the supervisor position.

Currently I'm also working a few hours for the Social Science department at U of M, doing graphic & web design. I'm also expecting to pick up a web design job for one of the art & design professors as well.

By next week, I could conceivably be one very busy critter. That's not a complaint, mind you. Three weeks of not working is driving me a little insane, and it'll be nice to not have financial freak-outs every five minutes.

For now, I'm putting my teachin' face on for tomorrow. After that, I'll be putting my designer face back on for final logo revisions; then prepping myself for an interview for a position that'll definately be worth my while.

More details as they happen.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Has it been that long?

Today marks the third full week that I've been unemployed. Three weeks since I was laid off.

I wish I could say that I've been treating this like a vacation; that I've been doing nothing but wasting away on the couch, eating bon-bons and watching soap operas. I wish I could say that, but I can't. Instead, these past three weeks have been filled with frantic job searches and sending of resumes; hundreds of sent applications and phone calls; hearing "we're reviewing applications and will call you" too many times to count.

You know what I've heard once?
"I understand."

Everyone is quick to say "that sucks" or "I'll keep an eye out"; quick to pull up job postings and suggest career fairs to attend. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has been helping me, but I'm finding I need something even more than help. I need someone to understand.

For over a year, I had a job that kept bills paid, food in the fridge and a roof over our heads. Now that's gone, replaced with fear, despair and the constant worry of where to go when we can't afford the apartment anymore. I have no appetite; living mostly off of coffee - which I need as sleep is non-existent. When I do manage to doze off, I awake in a blind panic, gripped in a panic attack; unable to breathe. I'm so fearful of what the future holds that I black it out of my thoughts, instead focusing on that next application; that next resume submission.

With millions of people going through the same thing, I shouldn't feel as alone as I do. Until things change, I can only keep submitting resumes; keep calling; keep applying - because there's really nothing else I can do.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Here, There, Everywhere...

I've been busy updating my professional networking. Here's where I (and my work) can be found online: