Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

Details

Closed to new replies
November 25, 2012
Link

Statistics

Replies: 42

Bright beautiful career turns into dead end job, now what?

:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Ok a little background info, I was hired 5 years and 1 month ago as an childrens illustrator for a company who makes childrens playareas. I was straight out of uni and very fortunate to get a job not only in my field but as full time employee! a regular salary and one that was more than my job at the pub, a graduates salary.

roll on the recession, company struggles, redundancies are made early 2008, we solider on. later mergers happen, promises of a bright company future, nothing changes. except the attitude changes. expectations to do more for longer hours and on shorter deadlines with the threat of 'we'll just fire you if you dont' lumming over head. so moral as you can expect is exceedingly low.

In the five years I've been there, I've moved out of my mothers house, eventually bought my own, struggled with increasing utility and car bills and now planned to actually get married after being engaged for 5 years. I've had 2 performance reviews both times been told theres no money for a pay raises.

i love my job, i love creating the things i do at work and i love my co-workers but its starting to feel like a dead end job. no rewards, feeling down trodden, replaceable and undervalued its demoralizing. I know for a fact everyone in my office feels the same, were all in the same boat but everytime someone mentions it the 'well you could get a job at tesco's!' statement is uttered.

some of my watchers will know that i do commissions from time to time to make end's meet and love the work i get from them. they're very imaginative and very enjoyable. in fact most of my gallery here on da (and commission work) is NOTHING LIKE what i do at work! work is all simple characterized and vectored, where as i enjoy doing my more digital paintings and concept designs. I've been thinking for a very long time about going freelance and would i be happier or would i make enough money to cover my expenses? personally i would love to do illustrations for the likes of wizards of the coast or paizo, sort of a pie in the sky dream since i'm not sure i'm actually good enough, but is a hope and goal i suppose.

I sort of need some careers advise on this one ...
Reply

You can no longer comment on this thread as it was closed due to no activity for a month.

Devious Comments

:iconadonael:
Adonael Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm essentially a freelance teacher and my work has varied from the bare minimum to full working week. Though it's an amazing lifestyle, it can be very stressing when you don't know where you'll be from place to place. I never did my homework, but I was lucky so network as much as you can. Find somewhere like a publishing house, or an illustration company and volunteer there an hour a week or something. You might get your big break through meeting someone there that can point you in the right direction.

Whatever you choose to do though, I wish you luck :)
Reply
:iconqueengwenevere:
QueenGwenevere Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012
That sounds a lot like the company I used to work for in the year before they went out of business. The place started out as a fun and promising company, but towards the end it was a depressing downward spiral as things fell apart... I remember wondering if I should go freelance and trying to amp up my portfolio at the time. Then the whole question was resolved by the company going out of business and laying everyone off anyway, ha.

Then of course I spent a couple of years struggling to get a freelance career off the ground. It probably would have taken longer than that if I didn't have connections through ex-employees of my old workplace, that helped a lot. I'd also managed to save up a decent chunk of money from my old full-time job, and that helped me pay rent and expenses for the first few years.

If you can, it's probably better to try ramping up a freelance career while you still have a job. Work on your portfolio, start networking, see if you can pick up any freelance work on the side, etc. Especially if you have a lot of expenses. Either that or spend a couple of years saving up as much as possible so you'll have a cushion.
Reply
:iconrobot--panda:
Robot--Panda Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
My last job was similar - a comicbook publishing house that was struggling. I was a fulltime colorist. At first I could color 2 pages a day, and do the job quite well, but they wanted 3 pages. I didn't want to sacrifice quality, so I struggled a bit, found technique shortcuts and got to doing 3 pages a day on average, although sometimes I had to stay overtime. They asked for 4 pages if possible. This is when I realized, as long as I keep covering their requests, I will never be happy, because they will always raise the bar above me. So fuck that, I started just doing whatever amount of pages I felt like. Often it was like 16-17 pages a week (5 days work week). Soon after the company downsized and they offed me, along with all other full time illustrators. I have no idea what's happening now there.

Some people have given you good advice - look for a new job, while you still have this one. Usually you can find your new place before you even notify your current boss that you quit, then just notify him, wait out the time and start your new job.

About the drawing and painting. I looked through your gallery. It looks like your technique could use improving to make you more efficient at your work. Out of curiosity - how long did this take you to make [link] ? If you want a skill ceiling that you can aim for for now, you can take mine - www.nebezial.deviantart.com . This guy has the most efficient technique I've ever seen any digital painter use. You can probably pick some interesting stuff up from him. I'm not talking about style, or even technique, but more about the way he treats PS. He's spend years optimizing his technique for this software... Check him out. ^^ And look for a job. No point in staying at a work that makes you unhappy.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I watch the same guy! And his maybe his or maybe not other account (wink wink nudge nudge, say no more)

he has actual inspired me to improve in recent months. I made a thank you you to Jim about it.

That piece there took between 3 to 4 hours on and off. It was a warm up piece for concept reasons. Most pieces take 8 to 12 hours depending on background.

Honestly thou my work here on da is better than my works work. I hit their ceilings years ago, which can be bad and good. Their tried to get me to take on more work too but I openly told them that was a complete new job role and I would want more money, so they hired someone instead.
Reply
:iconm-j-gagne:
M-J-Gagne Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I will just echo what others have already said. It's easier emotionally and mentally to look for another job when you currently have one. I have been unemployed since April and have had no luck since then. It gets increasingly discouraging the more time that goes by. At least I have had my new son to focus on and to keep me busy.

In terms of the dead end job feeling, that can be rather depressing. When I do get work the only jobs I get are short term contracts, so no room for advancement. Just going from contract to contract. The older I get the more I feel like any prospect for an actual "career" has reached a dead end. :(
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
i have a friend who's been unemployed for over a 1 year (nearly 2) and its soul destroying. i can see. I cant up and quit this job at the mo, i have a house to pay for and wedding to fund, its just not feebly but of course i am looking. i have been looking for 6 months already :S
Reply
:iconm-j-gagne:
M-J-Gagne Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Good luck with finding the new job and with the wedding :)
Reply
:iconrandomrobskii:
RandomRobskii Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Student Filmographer
Whatever you do, don't leave your job before you find a new one. My ma always says it's easier to find a job when you're already in one. That is, if you want a new job, of course.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
yeah, i wouldn't do that anyway. i have too many expenses.
Reply
:iconfrogessa:
Frogessa Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
I'm in a similar position like you. You can't do much: work for the paycheck, draw in your free time for your enjoyment and try to look for other jobs in your field, but stick with this job for now for we are all in recession and things are still not looking good :( (especially for artist)
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
hear, hear. its quite a sad situation really.
Reply
:iconfrogessa:
Frogessa Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
:hug: it will get better........ right? :shrug:
Reply
:iconcammieobscura:
CammieObscura Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012
They always tell you there is no money for a raise, but I bet the bosses get theirs and probably bonuses too, and of course on your back. You just have to make a decision of where you want to be in 5 years, working in a dead end job at the same pay, or somewhere else where your talents can be utilized and appreciated. Then work at making that dream come true.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
finding that job at the mo is becoming like finding a needle in a haystack, i think i need more additional training since some roles involves more than one job roles these days.

hopefully i do get my Christmas bonus this year, its only a few hundred but it helps with Christmas food shopping
Reply
:iconbryosgirl:
bryosgirl Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I had a promising future in records before the economy tanked. Now it's not only hard to find a records position, but almost all of them require french (which I have never been able to learn), so for a year I was on unemployment while searching for another position, and now the past year I've been forced to work part time at a grocery store.

Is additional schooling, even on a part-time basis, at all feasible? Recently I have begun considering going back to school, even as a part-time student. I'm currently a Library/Info Tech grad, so I'm thinking of doing Business Administration to broaden my qualifactions without straying too far from the field I want to be in.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I'm actually facing a similar problem.

i look at graphic design jobs but i need in-design exp, concept artists need to know maya, etc etc. if i want to move to a new field i think i'll need additional training :/
Reply
:iconm-j-gagne:
M-J-Gagne Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is interesting to know.I live in Ottawa, Canada and have been trying to find work since last April with a history graduate degree and some work experience in museums/ records behind me. However, the cuts to the public service haven't made it easy. I was debating going back to school either for a Lib Tech or Info Management degree, mainly because it seems that the staffing agency I use has a number of Lib Tech positions. Of course these jobs are not career jobs but in some cases really short term casual positions that pay a dollar or two over minimum wage.
Reply
:iconbryosgirl:
bryosgirl Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Are you looking at the course at Algonquin for Library Tech? It's really an amazing program. Helena Merriam is still the co-ordinator, and she was great to work with if something ever came up that you needed help with. :)
Reply
:iconm-j-gagne:
M-J-Gagne Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
If I were going to go that route it would probably be the Algonquin program. Thanks for the name. If I have any questions to ask its always good to know someone specific to talk to. :)

For now I am still debating. It would mean new student debt plus having to get another degree/ diploma. When does it end! I might see if its possible to take one or two courses towards the degree this winter to see what it's like.
Reply
:icon1and1isme:
1and1isme Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
while keeping this job for now search for another job that would fit you better, that you'd enjoy more. In the mean time you'd have a stable income at least. ^^
Reply
:iconjei-dinofelini:
Jei-Dinofelini Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
agreed
Reply
:iconjesse-the-art-maker:
Jesse-the-art-maker Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012
Freelance=zero income, and actually would cost you more money than any money you would actually make. You would have to publish your own books and generate your own sales through websites and conventions. You would basically be the founder and boss of your own made up label and hire artist like me who you would pay to make art for you and your label in general. Best case scenario is you sale your made up label or merge with another made up label or studio that is actually making more money than it is spending.

I am already half way there with my own made up label called 4E comics, and 4E studios, which will one day merge with a studio or label that is making plenty of money for me to actually profit on/share in. OR, I get it famous enough to sell to marvel or Disney, which is really just a fantasy more than a business plan... But what ever. :)
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
yeah that seems to be the general consensus so far ... but the reality check is good :)
Reply
:iconmercury-crowe:
Mercury-Crowe Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Since you have a job now, I'd suggest keeping it until you can find a new one or get good freelance work consistently. There's no point quitting if you wind up getting one job that pays the mortgage for a month or two then leaves you broke again.

It's better for art jobs now than it was four years ago, but it's still pretty hard. Things are just starting to pick up here (we do blown glass), which is a good sign, but you've still got to be aware that people and companies are on pretty tight budgets right now, so finding work is going to take a lot of effort.

If you want to work for wizards of the coast or something, make a 15 piece portfolio and email it to them. I know somebody who works for them, he got hired at a con after one of their guys looked through his work. If you want I can ask him what they look for in artists and portfolios.

He takes other freelance jobs, too, does some stuff for the star wars books and whatnot.

He's always busy, but he also goes to lots of cons and stuff and sells on ebay. And at the moment he's had to get a job at Kinkos to make ends meet.

If you want to freelance, I'd really suggest going ahead and looking for a crappy 'real' job while you get on your feet.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
if you could ask that would be wonderful! its a bit of a pie in the sky dream but i'm willing to give it a shot
Reply
:iconfrega:
Frega Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2012
Poke me somewhere else dear, we can have a real talk. But keep your head high and soldier on. This is sadly the employers marked and will likely be so for a good while more.
Reply
:iconrobtorres:
RobTorres Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Right now, in this market and economy in the US, I will tell you that leaving is something you definitely want to do AFTER you have another job already locked in with a definitive start date. You want to give your employer 2 weeks notice at least because these days they love to get even with anyone who burns a bridge and they can get away with it because jobs are at a premium. I know you are unhappy with your current position, but as a freelance illustrator, i can tell you that steady income is not the norm. If it weren't for my wife's steady salary, our month to month expenses would be pretty hard to handle. Some months I bring in a lot and others i bring in peanuts. I still can't afford health insurance. Way too expensive. I ride a bicycle anywhere I need to go because having a monthly expense of a car is difficult. don't get me wrong, I make money, but I just feel that the very nature of freelance is uncertainty and instability in financial flow. Maybe one day that will change if I get lucky, but right now, not so much.

The freelance market has all the perks I am sure you have heard about, but it is a tough and super competitive market. it has to be. If you aren't tough and uber competitive with the ability to sell yourself well, you will not survive long. so if you have those traits and can be a REAL self starter and self motivator and have a very tough and no nonsense approach to how you treat your work time on a daily basis, just stay where you are until you find more steady work.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
my partner works full time but his work is patchy at best. thanks for the reality check thought. perphaps working freelance while full employed might be a way forward
Reply
:iconravynnenevyrmore:
RavynneNevyrmore Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
You should probably start looking for a different job in your field.

Surely going to art school made you some connections other than that one? Is that the only job you ever could have gotten with your degree? Get in touch with people who graduated from your major who are working in the field and see if anyone else knows of any job openings for an illustrator.

Or, if your school has a service that helps alumni find jobs, utilize it.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
i kinda lost contact with them but i should probably see if i can find them
Reply
:iconravynnenevyrmore:
RavynneNevyrmore Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
:nod:
Reply
:iconladyluca87:
LadyLuca87 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm not familiar with the illustration/animation industry as a job area. However, if it feels like a dead-end, start putting your application and portfolio out for other jobs. One of two things (hopefully) will happen. You'll find a new, better job, or you'll find your current job starting to lead somewhere.
Sometimes there's just a burnout period in your career. I know this spring I was just ready to quit what I was doing. Then, lo and behold, opportunities opened up and things got better. Hopefully things work as well for you. :)
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
i hope so too. i mean there are newer projects in work at the moment but the attitude is a drag. maybe christmas will refresh things :)
Reply
:icongrishhak:
Grishhak Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Something about freelancing:

I'm a freelancer (musician), my mother is a freelancer (programming). Without my father's job we wouldn't be able to hold our house or live the way we're used to. Also my mother wouldn't have the money for an age-insurance (or however it's called, I'm from Germany, "Rentenversicherung" is the thing I mean..) which would mean poverty later on.

The moment I choose to become what I am, I knew that it would be really hard without a partner. Thanks god my husband does have a good-paid job. I know how other freelance-musicians live. It's not everybody's cup of tea....

Also I know that if I get children, I'll be a housewife. It would be stpid to risk the father's job just so that I can stay a freelancer. I'm OK with that, but If you want a carreer, don't think of freelancing AND kids at the same time.

Also there is something really pretty in not being a freelancer: At the moment I'm in bed with a nasty cold. I fear I can't work tomorrow, which means I won't get paid. A freelancer only gets paid for what they do. No work - no money. It is true that you can earn a lot of money in a short time (A well-paid gig in my case, my mother often does things like "I can fix it over the weekend, if it works, that'll get reallllly expensive, else I won't charge you anything"), but there will also be times noone wants you to work for them.

So all in all freelancers are chronically underpaid, don't know if they'll have money next week and are the first to be kicked out of projects.

It is true, you can do what you want. But believe me, most of the time you'll end up doing everything for money. There is a nice joke: What does a freelance musician say to an employed musician? "Two hotdogs, please. and don't forget the mustard."

Yes, you can also decide WHEN to do something. Most of the time, that means working day and night to get something finished without anybody caring.

Also you should take into consideration how you'll be paid. I guess you're paid by the hour now. My mother is paid by the hour. I'm paid by the hour while teaching, for really being a musician I'm paid per ocassion. The last one is nice for buying new shoes.......
You're most likely to be paid by the outcome, which is really bad.....


If I had a chance, I'd choose employment over freelancing. But there are not many people who employ a musician full-time ;-) My mother started freelancing to become a housewife, not to get away from employment.

Oh, and there won't be a carreer in freelancing, you'll just stay that- a freelancer (and without payrise ;-) )

So don't give up a job because you're not fullfilled with it. You could (seecretly) search for another employer or just keep an eye on things, but you're already luckier than a lot of people.

Hope, I could help ;-)
greetings
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
i do realize how fortunate i am to have this job. its like gold dust, but i do sometimes feel i've sacrificed some freedom for it. i think my problem at the moment is i feel highly undervalued. at the moment, a bit of a doormat
Reply
:iconelectricb:
ElectricB Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012   General Artist
First off, you only live once - make it count!

That said, with house and car payments, and the potential for a family - moving carefully and conservatively has value. I think our culture has a mistaken outlook on careers as emotionally satisfying; we should love what we do (born of an era when people were told to love whatever they're doing). A job is something you get paid for because you'd rather be doing something else; it's the dues for doing what you love the rest of the time. The 'rest of the time' is something to consider: is it worth trading corporate soul-sucking for freedom shot through with a concern for finances? 'Cause even a good time freelancing is fraught with boom and bust cycles, and there will be times that money sucks.

Also, while you mention a lot of what you're doing, you don't talk much about what you would do. Is there enough work to make ends meet? To keep you busy? I think that factors in heavily.

My suggestion would be to keep the job while you explore the opportunities for freelancing. Take a month and see how much work is really out there in commissions: it'll probably make for a couple weeks with very long hours, but would give you more confidence in your choice either way.

And ultimately, you can always keep looking for something new while you're still working.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
yeah thats sounds like a good battle plan to me :)
Reply
:iconferrilonver:
Ferrilonver Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well you will never know for sure if you won't give it a try. Some people I know are full-time freelancers and happy with it. You can check out [link]
There are plenty of posts about all sorts of illustration jobs.
Good luck!
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
i think i may go part time freelance for now. start setting up an brand or different methods or earning and see if the shoe fits.
Reply
:iconferrilonver:
Ferrilonver Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think you won't have problems going freelance, at least you have PayPal working in your country ;)
Reply
:iconlou0:
Lou0 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
I kinda know how you feel on that one
My second job was production assistant for a children's show but after a little while I felt miserable because even though I know production assistant isn't the creative job I was going for, I got so little work and started to feel undervalued and down that they pretty much said they planned to let me go because of telling them how I felt.

I'm not 100% sure what I could say for sure since I'm still 'starting out' but maybe tell your boss how you feel about it etc? Or look for somewhere else while you're still working there?
I'm currently a freelancing animator (at the same place where I was production assistant) and I've been there for a little while now so yeah, if it makes you happy, go for freelancing. I have some connections so if ever I didn't have any work where I am now, I can just get in contact with other people.

I dunno if that helps at all but don't let yourself suffer, it's not at all great.
Reply
:iconelixia-dragmire:
Elixia-Dragmire Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
with the UK economy almost twice as worse as the great depression its hard to see any light at the end of this, but a lot of response here and advise i have say has been inspiring and an eye opener.
Reply
Add a Comment: