Working for Nothing

Something I got particularly tired of during my job search was being asked to create some kind of artwork for the company to which I was applying. Yes, that actually happened. And it really irked me. I mean, why did I spend 5 years creating a portfolio if every job I apply to is going to make me create something for them?! But beggars can’t be choosers, right? So I did the work. Most of the time.

The first place to ask that of me was a fireworks place down in New Orleans. They had me drive down there for an initial interview (which I later learned could’ve easily been done over the phone), and then told me they wanted me to create not one, but three versions of fireworks packaging for them. In three days. Now, normally I wouldn’t complain about the deadline, and I really didn’t at the time because I needed a job and I was kind of excited about getting to design packaging, but this was three days on top of my regular job/life. I came up with three pieces by the deadline and went back down to New Orleans for my second interview (keep in mind that I had to take off work for these little trips). This interview was basically a waste of time because all I did was show them my pieces, which easily could have been done over email/phone. Needless to say, despite all my work and driving and money spent, I did not get the job.

Another place that asked me to come up with designs for them was a place in D’Iberville on the coast of MS. It was a place that mainly advertised for law firms. This place actually paid for my hotel, which was very nice and unexpected. However, I had to sit at their PC-based computer for 4 hours and create an ad and a webpage for them. Not only did I not get paid for this work, but I also had to leave my files on their computer, which I was not comfortable with. Who knows what happened to them!

These are just two examples of many companies that asked me to create work for them. There was also a company that asked me to design three t-shirt designs for them, one asked for some online ads, another asked for a mix tape design, an invitation, a CD cover, and something else (I did not do that one) and one asked me to design some online buttons for their website. That one was particularly hard because their website looked like they’d plugged some information into a template they got for free somewhere. That job even promised to pay me, but I, of course, never heard from them again.

I didn’t complain about having to do these things at the time because I was desperate for a job and it seemed to be a normal thing – despite Shana telling me otherwise (she thought it was ridiculous from the start). However, a year later combined with what I know now, I feel like I have the right to complain about it. So I’m going to. If I can show you my portfolio and explain my thinking processes about each piece to you, then you should have a feel for how I work. There is no need for me to do extra work (without pay) for a company that may or may not use my design without my knowledge if they don’t end up hiring me! It was ridiculous! And, once again, Shana was right!

Fireworks Packaging
Ugly Website Button

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