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Graphic Designers are underpaid
If I would have known how little Graphic Designers make entry level, I would have never spent 6 years total in school. I moved to Houston and got job offers starting at $10-12 an hour for 20 hours a week. I decided to work for a golf course and make more part time. What is sad is that most professions are salary base and you start out at $30-40K. Freelance is definitly more lucrative if you know how to draw business for yourself. As for me, I don't know anyone in the area and can't really find a job. I am thinking of changing professions.
Look at the Big Picture
Let them know you intend to be an active player in the company. Read what you can about their mission and their objectives and strategies. Ask lots of questions. Although they may not seem to apply to your job, let them know you want to get a solid global perspective on the direction the company is going. The look of a company can speak to that change even before you have goteen there. Imagine the customer viewing your comapny as moving towards the same goals that company is trying to achieve.
Lack of degree/experience but POSSESS SKILLS!
I am going into my sixth year of college, attaining my BFA in graphic design. I currently got hired at my first "real job" as a graphic designer only a few months ago. My employer refused to sign me on at more than $8.00/hr because I have no previous work experience and have not graduated yet. I confronted him after my 90 "probation period" about working full time (40+ hours per week compared to my current 25). He accepted and I now work full time, but have not received any type of raise or written praise/review. I have researched and asked friends in the same field I work in how much they get paid, and on average it is around $12.00/hour. I am making a lot less than the average intro graphic designer. This isn't fair? There should be a mandatory minimum pay for someone as an intro graphic designer than even private business owners have to uphold. I am being ripped off.Not only do I edit previous order, I check others work, create new artwork, layouts, business cards, brochures, contact dealers if I need more information or do not understand their direction on a design I am completing for them.I am already looking for another job, but the position I am put in is:I need job experience, but should that be worth getting paid the same as a guy at the drive-thru at Burger king?
Being paid entry-level for a workload of three experienced designers!
I work at a local TV station and I've been here for a little over 3 years now. There is one other persion in the graphics department with me, but he's been here for MANY years. He basically does sales and promotion related things. During a regular day, I do graphics for 5 different news shows along with design work for sales related and promotions related projects. I should mention that this is a dual CBS and FOX station so there is a lot for one person to do. I have spoken recently with a guy who used to work here and he actually GUESSED what I make here and told me he could pay me almost twice a year what I'm making now at my experience level. By the way, the job he was telling me about would have me working with 2 other guys at all times. That means that the entire workload wouldn't be on me, AND it's a single TV station so the workload would be much lighter in general. The TV station I work for contracts their employees so they don't have to worry about them leaving for bigger and better things. They taunt you with an OK raise, but only if you sign contracts 2 years at a time. If you don't sign, you don't get a good raise at all. Basically, I want young graphic designers out there getting their start in local TV to relize their potential early on and fight for what you're worth. I feel underappreciated daily, because the people I do all this work for take it for granted and the people who pay me are pretty much insulting me bi-weekly with the numbers on my paystub. Don't let this happen to you!!!
Know the facts.
Find out as much as you can about what you're really worth to your employer and the clients you do work for. Knowing that you're 1/5th of the team of people that work on 3 clients, understanding the value of the work you do and having a good idea of what those clients are being charged is a decent way to figure out what you're value to the company is. Think of yourself as the businessman running your company. Most President's of larger companies ARE NOT CREATIVES, they're BUSINESSMEN. Does it make good sense to pay you a particular amount, is the company better of paying you a little more of hiring a less expensive person to do the same work? Know what you bring to the negotiating table before the table is set.
Make sure the employer is honest about the position.
My last position was as a Senior Artist within a University Print Services Department. I was originally told the job would be heavy in the typesetting end (to start off) as the main product was business cards for 2 teaching hospitals - a LOT of turnover - end of every semester. However I was told that my direct supervisor was working with a company in California that would allow the process to be automated - ie - when the client filled out the request for a business card - the informatin was to be entered into a format that could automatically be downloaded for printing. The tricky thing was that the formats (of which there were many, many, many) had to be set up in code. My direct supervisor decided that he could do this (his background/degree was in photography, but was the graphic supervisor). He had a very high opinion of his ability to use a MAC - but avoided the PC platform like the plague, a real format queen - if it was to be printed - it had to be set up with style sheets, didn't matter if it was a simple letterhead or a 24-page newsletter. Every line of copy had to be set up in style sheets. I mean - really - styles sheets are good tools (as the computer is a good tool) - but they should not get in the way of timely production. My cubicle was directly across from my supervisor, so I was in a position to hear what progress was being made in getting the formats completed. In the 6 months I was there not one workable format was developed (and a lot of money was spent on the software and sending this guy to San Diego to be 'taught' how to develop these formats in useable code). What excuses I heard. I was never given a typing test for this position, was told I would be doing some design work, more as time went on (or so I was lead to believe), but after 6 months of the most awful production scheduling (there was none) - I was the only production artist - and in six months I was only asked once (about a week before they let me go) how much work I had going and if the deadlines I was being given were doable. Talk about being set up to fail. I went through 2 90-day probationery periods. These reviews were very humiliating (I was made to feel as if I was doing nothing but running around in circles - did not know how to use a MAC (ie STYLE SHEETS) and that I was extremely slow and inefficient. (I've been using a MAC for over 20 years - have kept my equipment up to date and ran a sucessful design studio for 12 years based on using the MAC as a design/production tool). It's just a real shame that a shop has to be run this way. I don't know why I was not given a typing test - if speed and accuracy were so important - there seems to be an easy 'test' to find out if your hiring the right 'typesetter'. About two weeks ago I checked to see if my previous job was being advertised - it was - with the exact same wording and qualifications as were posted in January. I wonder what they will do to the next person to get that position.
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