Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

The 5 Year Experience Trap

Step one: Find a unicorn to sacrifice to improve your job finding odds.

No one cares anymore what school you went to, it’s all about the work you’ve done.

So what work have you done, and what are you doing? More importantly, how do you jump the 5 year experience trap that leaves you stuck in an intern/junior position as a designer?

I don’t think I’m that bad, I’m pretty quick at what I do and rough around the edges, but my luck with landing any job at all is absolute bullocks. I got lucky I turned an internship into a 30 hour a week job because they had no professional designer on the team at all. I do way more than design here and I honestly don’t even know what my title is as this point. But that’s another discussion.

So what’s the next step? Get a better looking website than my Tumblr as a to-go portfolio? Redo the iPad app portfolio from that InDesign folio builder? Interviews go pretty well but I never get calls back, or I get low balled at “$10 an hour as a trial to develop the UI for an entire app in a month, and then we’ll see if we want to hire you full time.”

I have a lot of pride, so my scathing and long winded response as to why that wouldn’t work sure doesn’t leave me many friends…BUT WHO DOES AN ENTIRE APP DESIGN AT $10 AN HOUR AND WANT IT PROFESSIONAL QUALITY? If I settle that low, the industry is gonna think other designers will cut that low too! How is flipping a burger equivalent to the time and training it takes to make a beautiful and intuitive user interface? Ridiculous. I’m still upset, and that was 4 months ago.

It’s not like I shut the door hard, I told them hire me freelance at $20 an hour instead and let’s do the same, and they just DID NOT think that was a good price apparently. Better find another student desperate for a job.

I’ve gotten to the point that if my peers and I can’t get a decent job as newly graduated designers, we’ll just have to make the job ourselves.

That’s right, the world just needs another start up.

Either that, or I keep going in this marketing gig I have now and lose graphic design. The advanced degree will do nothing but let me apply to professor positions (and stick me in a world of debt), and the industry seems so close knit that I can’t get in anywhere with just my skill set.

Looks like there’s no more room for trust and training. We needed you yesterday and you should know how to use our project management systems like a pro already, else we’ll just find someone more qualified. Knowledge of beer hops required or else you’re not cool enough to work with us.

Life stinks, so I guess it’s back to the drawing board. Put on some heavy metal, do a couple sleepless nights working on a new kick ass portfolio, and sacrifice a unicorn to the almighty marketing and design gods in hope that I get that one break that lets me move out of home and afford rent in a shitty apartment with at least 1 other person. Ah, the dream…

Thanks for reading my vent, and get in touch if you’re in the same boat! I am all for brainstorming together to make life a little better, I know I’m not the only one frustrated. — Zara

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