I’ve probably applied for 150 graphic design jobs since approximately last October. I’ve received maybe half a dozen emails thanking me for my interest, but lamenting that I didn’t seem A Good Fit for the Position (Human Resources-speak: I could listen to it all day!) for reasons not specified. In spite of the fact that I love the work, am terrific at it, and have 23 years’ professional experience, I've been invited in for no interviews. Maybe my resume mentions Adobe inCopy insufficiently frequently or something.
In any event, I got my second actual reach-out from a prospective employer this morning. Mr. Joseph O— of Ematic, which he described, squandering few opportunities to capitalize, as “a leading designer and manufacturer of Consumer Electronics and Automobile Accessories that’s been partnering with Wal-Mart, Fry’s Electronics and Radio Shacks to sell tablets, Mp3 players and DVD Players,” sent me an email saying that he was impressed with my resume, and eager to chat. We agreed that he would phone me at 2:30, a time I ordinarily reserve for wondering how I’m going to find the strength to go on.
He finally called at 2:48. He sounded around 12, and made no mention of having admired my online portfolio. Instead, he wanted to know what programs I use. Photoshop, I said, and Illustrator, though I use Illustrator so seldom that I’m not sure I remember even how to launch it. He sounded a little bit disappointed. “How about Excel and Powerpoint?” he wondered warily.
A new one on me! Could he have been speaking of Microsoft’s spreadsheet program, which, as you know too well, features calculation, graphing tools, and pivot tables, not to mention the macroprogramming language Visual Basic for Applications? Had I missed yet another boat? Are designers now required to generate spreadsheets? Panicking, I changed the subject, and assured him that I’m a wiz at Powerpoint, that program so beloved of persons who believe that bullet points are the wellspring of all human understanding — a program much, much beloved, I am sure, by the sort of person who would characterize another as Not a Good Fit for the Position, or speak of synergy.
I designed this in Excel. That's a joke.
Actually, a few years ago, I was doing some freelance stuff for an organization called Latinos in College. Its boss lady sent me a Powerpoint presentation. It was hideous, but I discovered that one could quite easily import into the program gorgeous illustrations created in Photoshop. I know only that about Powerpoint, and wish to know no more.
Young (presumably) Mr. O— seemed suitably impressed, my having dodged the Excel question notwithstanding. “We’re looking,” he said, “to pay somewhere between $10 to $11 per hour.”
I pointed out that one could earn more than that stocking supermarket shelves, or making burritos. I didn’t point out that for $11/hour, Emetic, as I’d decided to call his company, might be able to hire a monkey, but that the monkey very likely would know neither Excel nor Powerpoint. I didn’t point out that many designers would probably be inclined to urge him to have sex with himself after hearing his very insulting offer. He'll find out soon enough!
Of course, his very insulting offer is very much better than that contained in an advertisement I just saw for a composer. Someone wants to hire a collaborator to write the music for a Book of Mormon-like musical. “Payment,” the ad notes, “is on an unpaid basis.”
Ponder that en route to your next pizza delivery, former philosophy majors.