Graphic Design: I’m Fighting an Uphill Battle
I have an Associate’s degree in Graphic Design that I obtained in 2007. I designed the logo for Spartanburg Community College’s coffee shop while still in college, have designed and sold T-shirts on my online T-shirt shop GrimWorld. My degree also covers webdesign and I took business classes. I can run a printing press, speak in front of over 200 (sometimes angry) people at once, I worked as a manager for 2 years and as a shift lead for 2 years before that. I interned with my Graphic Design teacher in college and taught one of his classes.
I am more than proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, DreamWeaver (though I prefer coding HTML in NotePad), Access, Excel, Word, and various other office programs. I can match colors by eye. I paint, draw, make handmade jewelry, write short stories and poetry.
Basically, I am qualified for all kinds of jobs dealing with graphic design, web design, or office work.
However, I am not employed in any of those fields, and it’s not for a lack of trying. I have taken my resume around to every Graphic Design firm in Spartanburg and have spoken with the owners of each several times. I have dropped off portfolios that have included everything from things I did as school projects to the fliers that I made for the Spartan 16.
I always hear the same things, “You don’t have enough experience,” or, “You’re overqualified for this position.”
I’ve seen jobs that I’m obviously qualified for go to people whose work is unimpressive in comparison to my own, but they’ve worked in the field before. I’ve been passed over for people who are related to someone who owns a company who have no training in the field. These are the jobs where I’ve been told I don’t have enough experience or I’m overqualified for the positions.
How am I to gain the experience anyone is looking for if no one is willing to give me a chance to actually work in the field? How am I overqualified for a position when my qualifications are exactly what are listed on the, “Experience required,” section of the job description? How am I getting passed over for jobs in favor of people who actually think that Comic Sans is a font that should be used ever? How am I getting passed over for jobs in favor of people who don’t know the difference between, “your,” and, “you’re,” or who don’t even know how to send an email using Outlook or Thunderbird?
How do I get passed over for jobs in favor for someone who has no training as a manger or even a shift leader?
I am GOOD at what I do. I really am – I’m not just saying that to toot my own horn. I have sold designs and have been sought out for advice by people that I consider awesome graphic designers.
I am sick and tired of working at jobs that have nothing to do with my interests simply because I need the money. I’m tired of working all the time just to be broke before payday because I’m not getting paid nearly enough. It’s frustrating and disheartening.
But if I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all, so I meander about getting passed over. I get my hopes built up by companies only to never hear from them again (I’m looking at you, Spartan Custom). I’m tired of going in for interviews and being sat at a computer to put together a sample ad design and being told how amazing it is – watching as it’s shown to everyone and hearing it being garnished with praise – only to never hear back from the company again (I’m looking at you, Herald Journal). I’m tired of people asking why I’m not working in the field that I have a degree in. I’m tired of people telling me that they’ll get in touch with me because they need something designed – something they’re willing to pay for – and not hearing back from them ever again.
I’m sick and tired of it all.
Here are some truths:
- If you want to do Graphic Design move to North Carolina, you have a better chance at actually getting a job in Charlotte or Asheville than anywhere in South Carolina.
- People love the idea of having something designed by someone who know’s what they’re doing until they hear how much they’re going to have to pay for it.
- If you’re doing Graphic Design in South Carolina for anything less than at least $10/hr you’re getting ripped off.
- Professional businesses in Spartanburg would rather have pixelated images than take the time to have a graphic designer look at something and take the time to come up with something quality.
- Your age does hurt you in the graphic design business when you live in places like Spartanburg. The younger you are the more unlikely you are to get a job.
- You can be awesome at what you do, but if you haven’t found a way into the field by some lucky accident you’ll probably forever be fishing for whatever work you can scrounge up.
- Apparently freelance work doesn’t count as experience.
So there you have it. I’m exhausted from searching and I’m sick and tired of trying, but I keep trying. Yes, I’m still trying. I refuse to let those truths forever remain as they are. I refuse to stop attempting to get a job in the field I obtained my degree in.