Graphic Designer Needs a Career Change

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Call me Charlie in Louisville, Kentucky

84 months ago

stillinlimbo in Weare, New Hampshire said: Not sure I could even make what I used to down there..wages are lower in general in this region. And rents are 3 times as high 1200/1 bdrm apt.. Have you ever been to Massachusetts? NH is a lot different. All my friends and family are here, that's another reason

Oh. Sorry. I thought you were implying that you COULD get the extra $25K by moving and certainly your family ties are important as well.

Yes I have been to Massachusetts. I spent a few months there in Maynard and that area when I worked for DEC. I love the State. That area is absolutely beautiful.

I was on company money, though, so I was not subject to the financial aspects of actually living there.

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Rolinda in Chula Vista, California

84 months ago

Stillinlimbo, I worked as a Graphic Artist for 10 years before changing careers. I liked art since I was a child. I actually started out drawing and reproducing Marvel comic book characters. My salary was not impressive. And during my 10 year career I was laid off 3 times due to company downsizing, loss of contracts and revenue. For me it's 3 strikes and you're out. Since I am not one who likes autonomy(freelance); I truly enjoy working with other people, I decided after my third layoff I needed to change careers. While working for my fourth company my Mom due to health issues helped me decide on a career in the healthcare field. I accompanied my Mom to her appointments and I observed the great care she received from her healthcare team and decided I wanted to be a part of that. My Mom suggested Respiratory Therapy and that evening I saw a commercial advertising a Respiratory Therapy program offered at Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, CA. I spoke with the program director and asked for any information about their program. I registered for required prequisite courses and applied for the 2 year accredited Respiratory Therapy program. I finished my required prerequisite courses in a year and was accepted into the program. After 2 years I graduated, earned my Associates Degree, passed my Board Exams and obtained my State License. I have been working as a Respiratory Therapist for 8 years and truly enjoy what I do. I am privileged to work with excellent Nurses, Colleagues, Support Staff and highly knowledgable and skilled Physicians. Working together we help other people. I have a stable, secure career and my income is much greater than it has ever been while working in the Graphics field. And the diversity and multicultural environment I work in is very interesting. I meet different people every day and I am continously learning from my coworkers and especially my patients. It is an exciting career. I wish you well. Good luck.

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Randy in New Milford, Connecticut

76 months ago

I just read stillinlimbo. I'm in a similar situation. I have been in the graphics field for 25 years this month. I was laid off of an art director position 10 months ago. I am 48 years old. I have a family to support so I can't take forever to train. I have had trouble locating a position, I worked at my previous job for 11-1/2 years and I was told when I was laid off that my productivity was down over the last year. I was the highest paid person in the office. I know the role of a graphic designer has gravitated to web design as well. I have talked to some print designers who work on virtually all print.

I'm in the throws of pursuing a position yet considering a career change. I have applied in many places throughout connecticut. I have taken a few web design courses in Dreamweaver and Flash but those courses merely skim the surface. I have done some layout of websites. I realize the web is the trend but my heart is not in it. The thing is I don't think I'm a great designer and I don't love technology and I not a super fast multi-tasker. I like history related subjects and and working with my hands. I was counseled by The Labor Department to update my web skills and get out there and get hired. I'm not sure I agree with that assessment. The bottom line is I don't love what I'm doing.

I anyone has any good ideas I'd love to hear them. The story of the girl who changed careers to the health field was interesting. I'm glad she was able to make the jump.

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Rolinda in Chula Vista, California

76 months ago

Hi Stillinlimbo and Randy, I empathize with you. It can be a bit disconcerting to say the least when one's future seems uncertain. Follow your heart. Researching other professions and exploring new careers will give you an uplifted feeling of confidence and renewal. I hope this helps. I wish you well. Good journey.

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stillinlimbo in Hillsborough, New Hampshire

76 months ago

Hi Randy-
I'm sorry you're also in my situation, but glad there is someone out there who has similar feelings. About the he web thing-no my heart is not in it either. I'm not a techie. I know both mac & pc in all kinds of graphic design programs, but I don't want to be a programmer-web or flash. I actually have a fine arts degree, with some graphic design courses, then later in the early 90s, took computer graphics classes. I also took dreamweaver & flash a couple years ago, but I'm not inspired.
I notice a lot of positions ask for database management as well.
They want an all-in-one person for 35k.
I am still at the dead end job. I have been there almost 2 years with no pay increase. It's not just me in the company, that is across the board. I feel like I am wasting time and just getting older. I do a good job and they are taking advantage of me. I have improved the dept. by double digits. Everyone loves my work, and I have really helped this company's sales dept.
But I wouldn't be here if I I didn't have to.
I went on an interview last week, but I was told I was over qualified when they saw my portfolio.
If I knew I could get a teaching job in art in the public school system, I'd invest the time and money to get certified. Those positions are few and far between, though. If I'm going to get paid crap money I might as well be helping kids' education. It would be cool to somehow integrate it into special ed, which is a needed field in schools in this area. The benefits are better than where I work now, too. Would you be interested in teaching graphic design/art or could you do it?
I would only be going to school for something medical because I had to. It's not really me-would I hate it??
I wish I had better advice for you. I'll keep you posted. Good luck!

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maria in New York, New York

75 months ago

I emphasize with everyone who was downsized, and also looking at new career at age of 50. I've been in print production for 15 yrs, and graphic design for 5. Last two companies objectives changed. I was asked to spearhead their new idea, and paid for my education. In my pursuit of work in my field (been unemployed for 8 months), all my work was in-house financial projects, sales and marketing designs. I hardly have resume nibbles, and those who see me interviews are funky. I'm under the impression they seek someone who matches every fold of position, to train people as little as possible. Never was like this. If you showed strong desire to learn, and strong skills, company happy to train you on other applications and workflow. Reasons I wasn't t accepted for position) are: no studio experience, not enough PowerPoint real world experience, over qualified, not our company' style (after viewing my portfolio which was mostly department manager's vision which I created), haven't worked in Asset Management yet I have 20 years in Equity Department. End result they want but exact match to hire. I did word processing for Healthcare Analysts (Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, Long-Term Care) before heading into Desktop Publishing in another department. I HAD to learn financial terms and medical terms--still this company hired me because I type 70 wpm. But that was then.

Thinking about web design too because its a skill upgrade. If this helps anyone, I'm looking back at what I enjoyed most over the years. Typing and learning Med Terminology was pure pleasure to me, as well as handling, overseeing and analyzing projects. I'm searching NYC colleges for Healthcare Admin because of Med Transcription and Med Billing. Found 1 college so far. If anyone knows of schools that incorporate either (or reason this career isn't good) in an Associate Degree in NY (not on line), please email me at inova1@earthlink.net. Good luck to everyone in your pursuit of future employment.

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Myk in Appleton, Wisconsin

73 months ago

Sup? I hear all you! Graphic Artists are truly underappreciated and lowballed on the ol' payscale. I went to a 2 year tech...then moved to Milwaukee...worked for Roundy's/Pick n' Save (30,000 a yr) then a Electronics company (35,000 a year) then a T sirt printer Harley-Davidson exclusive (50,000) and learned alot from typesetting grocery ads, doing web design, and illustratin from scratch and seperating my own art...one would think I would have a good payscale now! At 33 making 35,000 with no raise after first year...and sick of getting no love in the work world...just received my realators license but thats a bad career right now! so Keep your chin up and any suggestions welcome!

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Bill of Alton in Laconia, New Hampshire

73 months ago

I'll put my 2 cents into the forum. I have a similar situation to what I have been hearing. Age 57, always loved design and illustration, worked in direct mail and general advertising. I worked my way up the ladder through my career to become Creative Director at a few different agencies with major international accounts the last in Miami, made good money. Moved back to New England to be closer to family. I wanted to “down size” my career so that I wasn’t always in a “shark tank” agency. I’m good with software and have the portfolio to impress big agencies (even the small ones). I can’t get any work! I feel the small agencies/design houses think I’m after big money or that I’m over qualified. I have skills that most people in the business have do not EXCEPT web design coding, etc. I can design great web sites but everyone wants the whole package. I’ve seen this trend before when design first went to computers. Everyone became a designer. All you had to know was the software. The same thing is happening again. Creative Directors or HR Directors don’t or won’t see the value in experienced people with great skills never mind the creative talent. I think they have blinders on when they only hire younger people because they think their the only ones that will accept lower pay. Everyone needs a decent wage.

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Chris in Cleveland, Ohio

73 months ago

I agree that most designers are left in the cold when it comes to getting appropriately compensated. But keep in mind that the market today is so oversaturated with people who like to call themselves designers. There is a distinct difference between those who use clip art, and those who actually think through a design and actually have reasons for creating a particular design rather than just because it looks good. With the ease of use of the software that is industry standard anyone can learn a bit and say that they are graphic designers, but the truth is, they aren't. This is what hurts those who actually know what they are doing. Not to mention the growing popularity of Spec work that can hurt small agencies. Twenty years ago you if you were in the pursuit of finding an agency to handle a project for you, you were lucky if you could find one relatively close to you, now anywhere you live you can do a google search and probably get at least 20 businesses that claim they are design firms with ability to meet your needs. And the fact is that almost all of those places produce pedestrian, vanilla caliber work at best. The overuse of the title graphic designer has hurt us all to some extent especially in the payscale area, but I do believe that your work always speaks for itself. As long as you have a great portfolio and you are excited and confident about your work then you will be okay. The problem I see all the time is that most designers find success with one particular design or layout and continue to use it for everything, agencies aren't going to pay you well for one idea. As a designer you have to constantly and purposely re-invent yourself for each project, all too often, especially with agencies, designers create a template and apply it to every client. Clients get bored and fed up with it. With the economy today it is especially rough to get paid because the creative budget is usually the first to go.

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IL_gardener in Carbondale, Illinois

73 months ago

I responded to another post on this. I am also in the 3x and your're out club. 3x in 11 years. I am looking to change careers. Unfortunately the layoffs at the place I worked at were so sudden and unexpected, our budget is not much shape to allow me to go back to school right now.
So I am looking for something that will allow me to work for a decent wage ($22-25,000/yr)and then I can take some classes.
My plan is to do something else (admin) and I can do my artwork on my own time. I hope I will be allowed to change as we all have had experience with how terribly you are "pigeonholed" by interviewers. They will put my feet to the fire regarding why I changed careers. I don't want to look like a "quitter".
Wish me luck. Luck to you all too!

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angie in Madison, Wisconsin

72 months ago

Hi All

Your situation is not unusual- I left a stable design (see: dead end) job to go freelance and realized it wasnt putting the meat on the table like I anticipated...I then started looking for a full time gig again- same old, too much agency, not enough agency, too much corporate, too experienced, not experienced enough, blah blah blah...it took me 9 months to land something acceptable, and after 10 solid years in the industry, a bfa in design and plenty of related talents (I do know html and well, can handle basic asp and other coding and have no trouble troubleshooting technology as well as solid design skills and experience, marketing background and excellent ad. and marketing writing skills as well (not to mention my organizational skills are excellent, i was hired by a design firm as a contractor to organize their files and create an archiving system that worked) I actually had interviewees not believe I could do all I said I could do- and I couldn't land a job anywhere!!! I finally found something over an hour away at a fair salary at the position level i desired- its a nightmare, like acting..soo competitive, but you need to really love what you do and keep plugging away- and in this day and age- keeping up with technology and trends is highly important- I didn't want to be coding as i too began life as print designer, but with the new competitive level brought about by computers and software, if you don't keep yourself abreast of the changes and fluent in the new trends you may as well hang it up.Colleges are pumping out new "designers" with not alot of skill sans technological who are steadily bringing the wage down and the competition level up..
it isnt likely to change anytime soon.

Good luck!
Angie

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Creative Pro in Norcross, Georgia

71 months ago

I have been in the creative industry since 1997, not quite as long as some of you guys. I went to a private college for a two year degree in graphic design in 2001 and finished in 18 months. The program wasn't very thorough but seemed to cover the basics of professional applications. These schools are springing up everywhere and I was one of the people conned into thinking I was have this awesome career in graphic design. 28K in the whole on student loans and 5 years later I have landed only one job where I was hired as a graphic designer, but overall all opportunities have come through small companies with some sort of art department. Never room for growth and usually paying around 31k to 32k but they want you to work with no overtime, as much as they can force you into the office, and doing multiple jobs.( receptionist, sales, telemarketer, and purchasing) all at one company at the same time, no complaints. I have a great respect for creative professionals and is why I wanted to get a formal education in the field, but as cheap as clients are, its better office just using Microsoft publisher and giving them crap work/ reused templates, because people don't want to pay anymore!

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Just another number in Chicagoland, Indiana

71 months ago

John Braun in Lynnwood, Washington said: If you are serios and looking and still may have a dream contact me through my site www.excessstyle.com

Do MLM hucksters need graphic designers, or just more downlines? Oh, right, it's the AmWay...

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Pixanne in Mount Laurel, New Jersey

70 months ago

I'm right there with you on the Graphic Designer dilemma. The area is flooded with them. There are 5 colleges in the Philadelphia area pumping out Graphic Designers left and right, and they are willing to work for much less that I can afford to live on and work day and night if they have to. I have 20 years of experience as a designer and can find NOTHING permanent right now. As soon as I land my next job I am going back to school for something in Healthcare. Note to all you GD students, GET OUT NOW WHILE THERE'S STILL TIME TO CHANGE YOUR CAREER!!

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Dawna in Modesto, California

70 months ago

Can I ask everyone here a question?? I have a 16 year old that loves computer graphics and has decided she wants a career in computer graphics design. She has started taking classes in high school for art, etc. We have already decided that she will do 2 years in our local community college and I had planned on her attending her final 2 years at Fresno State in their Graphics Design program. However, her art teacher has told her that she MUST go to a graphics design school in the bay area no matter how expensive they are because she will be guaranteed a good paying job in the bay area through the intern programs they provide for these schools. I have begun looking into this and all of these schools charge a minimum of $50,000 for a degree. I can't seem to find much information on whether going to one of these schools is really better than a university program. This teacher tells her that all they will teach her is how to make brochures and paper publications. She tells her that she went through a program at a university and came out having to teach because she didn't have the training or resources to get a high paying job in computer graphics design. Any input would be great. My daughter is ready to do her two years and pack up, move to the bay area and take out whatever grants/loans necessary to go to one of these schools.

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Just another number in Chicagoland, Indiana

70 months ago

Dawna: Can't tell you much about Cali, but here in Chicago there is a new school JUST for GD/CGI/Film types. It's called Flashpoint Academy and is in the heart of Downtown Chicago (not far from DePaul University). Their program is designed to be a 40hr schoolweek-to-workweek high intensity program. Seems pretty cool if you are that type of person. You may want to look into it. www.flashpointacademy.com/

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Robert in Los Angeles, CA in Pomona, California

69 months ago

I've been reading everyone's postings and we all have the same problems it seems. I went to a major university to get my design degree and have been in the graphic design field for over 8yrs but have been out of work for 6 months. My experience is in both print and web experience including skills in flash and minor html knowledge. I have redesigned my web site to try to get that next great design job but with no luck. Take a look and feel free to give feedback: www.dfourf.com. I dont know what else to do. I'm running out of options.

I have contacted the 4 leading talent job agency in LA but have heard barely anything from them after repeating phone calls. I have been thinking of changing careers but in LA doing graphic design pays really well and dont know if i can get paid the same elsewhere. I dont have any other passions but graphic design.

I need help!

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Kiere in Los Angeles, California

69 months ago

Have you tried connecting with the career centers at local universities? Even if you are not an alum you can pay a nominal fee to utilize their services which usually includes the opportunity to interview with local companies.

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maria in New York, New York

69 months ago

Thank you for that idea. Actually didn't know non alum colleges would do this for a fee!

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Kiere in Los Angeles, California

69 months ago

No problem. Good luck in your quest. I think it only cost about $25 bucks or so.
~Kiere
www.vitasuccess.com

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JoAnna in Norwalk, California

69 months ago

In reference to your most important comment, "history related subjects and and working with my hands" it sounds like you might like working in a museum with hands on gallery set ups, and possibly, old world restorations, with subject research involved, etc." It would probably only take courses in your neighborhood college arts program to get with the details of restoration but I believe it would be a good match for you. Check it out and Good Luck ;)

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maria in New York, New York

69 months ago

Thanks for everyone's great ideas. Personally, this market and high unemployment numbers has given most of my coworkers (who were assistants to managers), a long, unexpected vacation. A few of us have decided to move on to new careers, deciding to take classes in whatever. I'm currently taking a medical billing and coding course having put aside graphics for the time being. Maybe when the market and unemployment is well again, I try my hand at those classes you mentioned. Never know when I'll have to fall back on graphic design again.

Cheers!

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sarah in Toronto, Ontario

69 months ago

Good topic. I am a graphic designer- have been since I graduated in my early 20's til now- I am 49. Was laid off and am in the process of putting my portfolio together etc but my heart isn't in it- plus people seem to want younger designers so am making decisions about a career cahnge.
Now is the time to do it. Thinking of c=going into counseling and have applied to a school for a one year course in career counseling (post degree- I already have a degree).

I want a career I can grow older in... and am not interested in doing web work- I can use Dreamweaver etc but I'd hate to have to build websites all day long.

I'm not sure if I am making the right move into the right career but I do have a career counselor so am exploring my decisions and options with her. I suppose I can always fall back on design and having an education in another field never hurts....

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S'Parker in Trenton, New Jersey

66 months ago

Still in Limbo--

I hear you--my commercial graphic experience was not touching me enough to get me to go back to it. I'd love to be supportive to artmakers in situations where little art is available. I suppose that would likely be volunteering (especially the way things are and are going).

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S'Parker in Trenton, New Jersey

66 months ago

S I L --

How about teaching online? Any schools near you?

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S'Parker in Trenton, New Jersey

66 months ago

Got an idea!

I got to the top of the thread and read through. Wow. Wish I'd found this 2 years ago, I've been beating myself up whenever I see those hiring specs--there is always another software 'experienced, MUST HAVE' that I don't! It seems like this field, as the whole world has gone from television, print and phone, into the visual digital based computer, is driven by software and tech. Given the Bottom Line priority of all big business and I guess, their CEOs--I say, forget them!

So carpe diem! What is out there that makes graphic work easy? What kind of work?
Why not go maverick (sorry)? Market yourselves with the existing, extremely accessible media of YouTube, etc.. Better than a CV or a resume anyday.

If you've got these quality skills--ok--you've got to get yourself out there and be seen and appreciated. I was screwing up my face thinking--sounds like they need to start their own design studios or publishing houses, but, no money...then--

Lucky us! We can do it for free (exempting the costs of materials and time, maybe some extra technology).

Of course, there's bound to be some issues with protecting your work. I think there is thriving community in these online media, (anyone camping in the far reaches to support and enjoy family and environs, you don't have to be isolated from other art media people)

I believe if you can get yourself seen--your work--if you enjoy it or if you would enjoy it with the lively interaction with a world of co-workers--you can get seen and hired.

Would it work, in a sim vein, but on a more local level--to do volunteer graphics (or free lance shop yourself around). You could do free graphics for orgs that work at hospitals etc, but aren't in their contractual graphics loop. Someone will see it.

If WE raise the bar--of what is out and about being seen--won't that put pressure on the hack graphics co.s to hire better and produce more finished work?

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Bosco in Orlando, Florida

64 months ago

You mean "lose" money, right? Anyway, if all you're doing is buying products for your personal use then this is not directed at you. The people who lose money are those who got into this as a business.

Nu Skin is a multi-level-marketing pyramid scam. It's one of the best known rip-offs out there. If you're involved in Nu Skin to try and make money, then you are screwed.

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Bosco in Orlando, Florida

64 months ago

Lastra in Trondheim, Norway said: I am in Nu Skin buying the products for personal use and also for making money. For you it makes seem strange, but I do earn money. Pyramids are illegal and you mostly buy promises floating in the air. This is not a pyramide.
In Nu Skin you only buy products for your own personal use, and you offer other people to buy these fantastic products themselves on the web shop. And for each product my clients buy I get a small commission.... That’s how it works in the business I had earlier also. The only difference is that I don’t have to spend a lot of money on buying products to have in my store.

I’m sorry but you are really mistaken this time. It’s not easy to earn money, but it is possible if you work hard like in any other business.
You should take a closer look at what Nu Skin is. Its really a great company with the best products:-)

And about my written language, I am Norwegian and have never been to the States or any english spoken country, so I expect you to understand its difficult for it to be perfect. But I think Im doing quite good :-)

Your English is very good. I could only wish to be able to speak or write another language.

Anyway, to be successful in business, you need to make more than you spend. With this company, the small commissions you earn are far outweighed by the large amount you spend on the products each month. Don't you get it? Nu Skin considers you a customer, not an employee or business owner.

I'm glad you like the products but this is not a business. You are simply bringing in more business for Nu Skin and not seeing the rewards. You're making them rich. Go ahead and add up your monthly commissions and then subtract the amount you spend per month. I'll bet you are losing money!!

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Lastra in Trondheim, Norway

63 months ago

In the first three months yes I did "lose" money, if you want to see it that way. But now after I’ve finished my qualification (my fourth month) I do earn money :-)
Last month I bought products for my personal use and family for about 120 dollars, and that’s about the amount I spend every month. If I hadn’t spent it in Nu Skin, I would have used my money on the same type of products somewhere else, and they wouldn’t have given me any commission. So I don’t spend more money than what I normally would have done.
My commission last month was 1600 dollar... that’s not bad. It’s clearly not a good income so far, but I’m sure it will grow every month. I’ll keep on my good work :-)

Monica

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Bruce Mac in Smithers, British Columbia

63 months ago

Hi I agree that some mlm type business can work like Lastra said and I even use a energizer drink that sells through an MLM I use it because it works and does with no caffeine or sugar.
Their a lot of MLM business that hurt people and they do it for profit and its written right in the fine print.
You can sell their product but only by word of mouth you cannot use there name or there product name in any of your adds in default they can pull your contract.
This type are very common and are designed to keep customers not create independent operators.
But that's what they promise. They have that 85 to 97% failure rate and if they would let you advertise a good marketeer could dominate their market.
And that scares them so they keep scamming people and telling them to work harder.
There is no reason for them to have a rule about adds other than to cheat people. That's where the hate and frustration comes in.

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Bruce Mac in Smithers, British Columbia

63 months ago

Hi Brandon that sounds great are they all legit or have you had time to research them .I want to get back to you but I am on my way out of town for the long week end hope to chat next week Bruce.

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Just another number in Chicagoland, Indiana

63 months ago

Hi Brandon. Nice Spamming of the boards...

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Bosco in Orlando, Florida

63 months ago

Lastra in Trondheim, Norway said: In the first three months yes I did "lose" money, if you want to see it that way. But now after I’ve finished my qualification (my fourth month) I do earn money :-)
Last month I bought products for my personal use and family for about 120 dollars, and that’s about the amount I spend every month. If I hadn’t spent it in Nu Skin, I would have used my money on the same type of products somewhere else, and they wouldn’t have given me any commission. So I don’t spend more money than what I normally would have done.
My commission last month was 1600 dollar... that’s not bad. It’s clearly not a good income so far, but I’m sure it will grow every month. I’ll keep on my good work :-)

Monica

Good for you Monica! If you're truly making money though, then you are a rare case. The vast majority of MLM participants end up spending far more than they bring in.

The other issue that I have with MLM's is that if you decided to not buy their products then you would not be able to continue earning commissions. You are required to buy the products and that proves that you are nothing but a customer who also gets others to buy.

Best of luck to you . . .

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jo in Saint Louis, Missouri

61 months ago

you're off topic people

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pockets inverted in Trenton, New Jersey

61 months ago

I'm looking at picking up a class in computer graphics--considering on-line school--and also my local community college (Mercer, actually). Any body able to comment on learning experiences at one v. the other?

I'm also trying to figure out what sort of computer I'll need at home to do this work. Another aspect--I understand that some graphics schools either provide a deep discount for a MAC, or the computer itself.

Currently have a slim tower, monitor and router on trial basis from HP.

I have research to do--any one with more to offer themselves--you are welcome!

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Keely in Winnipeg, Manitoba

58 months ago

I am 15 years old, and I`ve been interseted in this career for almost four years. Is it really that bad? I really like just doodling with my tablet and with photoshop. I like mostly an Anime look to my drawings, I really like art.... thats kinda why I was intrested. My question is what othet careers are there out there for someone like me? I Just don`t do well in math, And I want a job in something I`d enjoy, so hopefully I do get a well paying job. Please give me any replies :D

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sssalima in Mesa, Arizona

57 months ago

Keely, when I was 15 I wanted to be a comic book artist and nothing else. Although I have the drawing skills to do so, I never figured out how one becomes a comic book artist. After High school I went to a normal university for a degree in Business. While I was in school I picked up programs like photoshop, illustrator, and flash and somehow landed a job in graphic design. I'm 33 years old now and still working in a design capacity. I am a user interface designer for a software development firm. I still to this day wonder what life would have been like if I would have pursued my dream as a comic book artist. Although I make 52k a year and have a stable job that provides for my family, my biggest regret is not doing what I love. Now I feel stuck doing this stuff for the next 30 years. And by the looks of it, I'll be out of work by then anyways. So, do what you love because you'll be 33 years old with a job you don't enjoy. There will definitely be sacrifices though. People always want great art but don't want to pay for it. If you pursue you dream, you will most likely not be a millionaire but at least you'll spend your time doing what you love.

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Cindeaux in Hornell, New York

57 months ago

Another ditto here. I consider myself a multimedia artist (graphic design, video, very limited web). Graduated 3 years ago from college. I'm currently making about 35K at my present job but i want to relocate to where my fiance' lives (we're getting married soon). Had an interview recently with a company but i felt really out of my league, some of the designers working there i felt were much more experience than I, their work i felt was levels about what i've created and the manager was looking for someone with CSS/HTML experience (which i have some, but very very limited) and Flash (i hate this program, i have very little experience with it) I didn't lead on in the interview that i was highly experienced with these programs. Overall I just felt "shook up" by the whole event, really starting questioning my abilities and second guessing my career choice. I felt my work and experience were inadequate. I believe their really looking for someone to hit the ground running in this position without having to do any training with them. If they extend a job offer to me i'm afraid of jumping on it and failing to deliver. Any thoughts?

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moto fara in Rockville, Maryland

56 months ago

I went to mercer. got my computer graphics associate there. then i went for my BA in Digital Design.
I freelanced the whole time while going to school. but the work wasn't ever permanent. As soon as you're done with one project you have to go back to finding new ones. Having to job-hunt permanently. Each time you realize that you need to learn new skills in order to remain in the market. i used to think i liked the challenge.

if i could do it all over again i would NOT pick this field. I have about 20 thousand in student loans left and haven't worked in the field for a year now. not only it's very competitive but requires a certain of type of personality in order to succeed. for one thing graphic design schools do not prepare their students with the reality of graphic design and commercial work. Most students graduate thinking they'll go out there and do creative, fullfilling work with good pay and job prosper. and the schools perpetuate this myth in order to keep the enrollment high. it's been quite the opposite for me. very rarely you will get a job where your work is appreciated. Most of the times you do whatever crappy work the client wants you to do with a million senseless revisions. at some point you give up and do what they want. you just become a tool not the brains. i am considering going to bartending school. and meanwhile picking a health-related field where i'll have job security.

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moto fara in Rockville, Maryland

56 months ago

Dawna in Modesto, California said: Can I ask everyone here a question?? I have a 16 year old that loves computer graphics and has decided she wants a career in computer graphics design. She has started taking classes in high school for art, etc. We have already decided that she will do 2 years in our local community college and I had planned on her attending her final 2 years at Fresno State in their Graphics Design program. However, her art teacher has told her that she MUST go to a graphics design school in the bay area no matter how expensive they are because she will be guaranteed a good paying job in the bay area through the intern programs they provide for these schools. I have begun looking into this and all of these schools charge a minimum of $50,000 for a degree. I can't seem to find much information on whether going to one of these schools is really better than a university program. This teacher tells her that all they will teach her is how to make brochures and paper publications. She tells her that she went through a program at a university and came out having to ....

i agree with her teacher. i went to a state university. once i graduated i realized i didn't have the set of skills my piers had gained at design schools. not only that but also when looking for jobs i realized some employers were looking to hire designers from certain well know design schools like SVA or PRATT. the graduates at such design specific colleges leave with a better portfolio. the professors are active designers themselves who can better familiarize the students with the real world of graphic design. unlike in my school where the professors were mainly academicians and not very in-touch with the true requirements of the trade. cooperative ed and internship is absolutely imperative when it comes to graphic design. almost every one has to start as an intern. so if the college doesn't emphasis internship or facilitate it then it's no good.

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Namelabor in Santa Fe, New Mexico

55 months ago

sssalima in Mesa, Arizona said: Keely, when I was 15 I wanted to be a comic book artist and nothing else. Although I have the drawing skills to do so, I never figured out how one becomes a comic book artist. After High school I went to a normal university for a degree in Business. While I was in school I picked up programs like photoshop, illustrator, and flash and somehow landed a job in graphic design. I'm 33 years old now and still working in a design capacity. I am a user interface designer for a software development firm. I still to this day wonder what life would have been like if I would have pursued my dream as a comic book artist. Although I make 52k a year and have a stable job that provides for my family, my biggest regret is not doing what I love. Now I feel stuck doing this stuff for the next 30 years. And by the looks of it, I'll be out of work by then anyways. So, do what you love because you'll be 33 years old with a job you don't enjoy. There will definitely be sacrifices though. People always want great art but don't want to pay for it. If you pursue you dream, you will most likely not be a millionaire but at least you'll spend your time doing what you love.

That's really excellent advice, my friend. All heart. Like many of the artists on this thread, about 3 years ago I had a job as a Design Manager (couldn't call me "art director" as that would cost more money) at a corporation in NJ. I made $57k + bonus in the marketing department. I was in design for 9 years, rising the ranks at one company...then they downsized. Moved my job to Boston. A year later, the Bostonites were axed. Since then, the best I've done in 3 years is $31 per hour in NY for an agency for a 2 month gig. I used all of my savings and decided to move West—LA was worse! NM is the same. In these troubled times, follow your dream—I am moving into creative areas I never dreamed of. We should use this time to discover our most authentic path.

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Bruno Bing in Fallston, Maryland

55 months ago

moto fara, I read your post with interest. I graduated from a name school but here I am still knocking on doors with ample experience in both in-house and advertising assignments. Never did get to stay in a place long term, there were downsizing, accounts lost, layoffs, the economy..... Few people I know get to stay long term and those are the ones that have a chance to go up a level to supervise or manage the 'production' designers who are later shown the door.
I wonder if you have an opinion. To me it seems the supply of people that claim GD skills and experience willing to do production work is limitless. Art schools sell you on a bright future, but on a closer look they have hundreds of part-time teachers who are supplementing their meager GD income.

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julcraft in Spring Hill, Florida

55 months ago

Robert in Los Angeles, CA in Pomona, California said: I've been reading everyone's postings and we all have the same problems it seems. I went to a major university to get my design degree and have been in the graphic design field for over 8yrs but have been out of work for 6 months. My experience is in both print and web experience including skills in flash and minor html knowledge. I have redesigned my web site to try to get that next great design job but with no luck. Take a look and feel free to give feedback: www.dfourf.com . I dont know what else to do. I'm running out of options.

I have contacted the 4 leading talent job agency in LA but have heard barely anything from them after repeating phone calls. I have been thinking of changing careers but in LA doing graphic design pays really well and dont know if i can get paid the same elsewhere. I dont have any other passions but graphic design.

I need help!

I am not a Graphic Designer, but was on this forum deciding if I wanted to enter the Graphic Design world. I reviewed your website and find it outdated; however your logo created is great! I think you should make the logo more predominate. Think fashion forward, take ques from the fashion industry. It has been proven that almost all color combinations, textiles and style is derived from the fashion industry.

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Brownfox in Bonn, Germany

52 months ago

In Europe we do have a similar situation. Sometimes I ask myself where all graphic designers are when thy become 50 and over. Perhaps we should build up an international Agency Network out of those ressources, call it dinosaur design (dd) and demonstrate what we can do. Interested older professionals are welcome (what shall we say: Minimum Age 45?) Chris

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sally5 in Middletown, Connecticut

49 months ago

My daughter just sent me this thread today as she is agonizing over whether or not to go to design school. My husband is a successful graphic designer, and our daughter has always thought that she would enter the same field. Now she's not so sure. I've read your post from many months ago and am just wondering what's happened to you.

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Open10 in Buford, Georgia

49 months ago

Interesting.

I have a short story. I was in the newspaper industry (I know, I know...) for two years and it spanned the time of the economic crisis we just went through.

The company downsized graphic arts department and cut up the editing department (I was a copy editor).

They 42 out of 45 people and shipped all the jobs overseas to Pune, India where they can pay people half the price for the same work.

They got rid of almost anyone who was making 40,000 grand or more, gave a slight pay raise to the three young graphic artists they kept (hourly’s that were only making 22,000) and demanded them to stay overtime and put out ad designs and the what not.

On the third round of five layoffs, they finally canned my position but offered to place me in the graphic design area because the three needed help (later I would find out they needed help since they canned all he older more experienced designers and these young guys didn't know half of the process that went into the design process for the paper since they only been there a year or two!)

Shorten this up...I was placed in a department I knew NOTHING about (I should have just took my servance and left!) b/c they just HAD to keep the young low paid guys and get rid of the older troopers. Eventually they finally moved everything overseas and just out rid of us all on servance.

Man I got boned hard on that one. I guess that’s what I get for being 24, fresh out of college and willing to do anything to get my foot in the door of the journalism industry right?...

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Open10 in Buford, Georgia

49 months ago

(Continued from lat post)...

The moral of this:

No matter if your old or young these large companies out here don't give a d*mn either way: it all the bottom line.

By the way...the company was McClatchy Papers...steady way if you have any type of integrity about your career and worth.

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Bill in Alton NH in Castries, Saint Lucia

49 months ago

I you notice the address I have been working all through the Caribbean doing photo shoots for half of what I used to make. I'm now freelancing and struggling to get by. Age discrimination has been a big issue even with all my experience and skill. If I was starting out I think I would still be in the field but you better really love the field or don't get into it.

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Dolphtesla in Utica, Michigan

46 months ago

julcraft in Spring Hill, Florida said: I am not a Graphic Designer, but was on this forum deciding if I wanted to enter the Graphic Design world. I reviewed your website and find it outdated; however your logo created is great! I think you should make the logo more predominate. Think fashion forward, take ques from the fashion industry. It has been proven that almost all color combinations, textiles and style is derived from the fashion industry.

Who are you to give advice. Please go away.

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Looking myself in Central, New Jersey

46 months ago

I have an animation I want to do. Any recommendations for schools or programs, path to take to produce this? Cartooned for a local paper for a couple of years and for most of my school life before that. Already have a BA in Art from a liberal arts school; looking for specific recs. for this one project.

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