Enter your keyword

Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Nov 17, 2015

Year Long Quest II: Mentor Intervention

By On 09:43

5-Part Series on an Exhaustive(exhausting) Job Search

Six months in to my cycle of apply-get a call-interview-pass or fail-then interview again, I reached out to my mentor to help sharpen my focus. To give me focus, really. In our three-year acquaintanceship she knew me enough to give homework and expect it *done. After a lunch meeting, she gave me homework.

The assignment: List the things (activities, aspects of the job) that you need to be happy in your work environment. List everything and rank them by order of importance. Make it an infographic.

I took a week or two and wrote this list then sketched the graphic, then played with the color palette, then emailed her an odd-sized PDF of my needs and wants for my ideal work environment.

She asked why graphic design was so low on the totem pole, and I had to be frank in my response, ‘I can make graphic design a part of any job—it’s an inescapable aspect of business in all arenas.’

Image Source;
High on my list is that I make a positive impact—that I do something worthwhile. High on my list is a bikeable commute. High on my list is autonomy. High on my list is odd hours to accommodate my Jeffersonian sleeping habits.

With this graphic as my guide, I began my search again, half-a-year after my first email application was sent , I realized exactly where I needed to be and why. So I applied to every singly posting at one particular organization. Then after having heard nothing for over a month I reached out to everyone I knew with ties to this place. Folks who I hadn’t seen since grad school, someone I took an undergraduate class with, a former employee at destination X, a woman I met at the salad bar in the grocery store (yep I cyber stalked her) and even my mentor who knew somebody-who knew somebody.

Another thing that I did was to cast a winder net. I then applied with four nonprofit organizations, one museum, and I put in 5 resumes with the regions largest employer, and two with state government. Of the dozen applications, I had four interview requests (an impressive success rate in the current job market). In one case I was positive that I’d be hired, then wasn’t. In the other three cases—I learned a few home truths about the nonprofit industry of 2015. It’s a much different climate than even 5 years back.

First, I need a collaborative and effective team. Second, my move must be worthwhile and offer me chances to grow, and not get bored, while having a creative element and allow for autonomous work. Lastly, I've gotta be able to get there easily, have the  ability to start my day early, and get to they gym on the company dime. Not on my list is the fact that I refuse to work in a cube--apparently, the longer you do it the less soul-sucking it seems (which is reasonable considering you have less of a soul).
Up Next : Nonprofit Needs

* My mentor is also my former communications director

Nov 16, 2015

A Year-Long Quest (part I.)

By On 06:28

Notes on the Job Search

This is crazy, but I took a break from my job search after a highly successful interview, followed by rejection, followed by a good Tarot Card Reading…

Here’s What Happened

I’ve mentioned in the past that my professional development and training skill has been honed and encouraged in my current job. Not only am I great at it, I love it. Getting the feedback, the ‘Aha!’ moments give me such a rush after a seminar. In general, I love the rush and satisfaction of teaching.

In the summer I applied for a job that incorporated teaching / training / professional development as a larger part of the job. The posted position was for a trainer who would travel several times a month, conducting various training sessions, layout print training materials and develop some web-based training materials. Interesting, right?

For my panel interview I was asked to design and deliver a brief training that did not rely on technology. Being awesome, I designed a 5-minute interactive training session where I taught the panel how to propagate succulents to help purify the air in a stuffy office building. My plan was to wow them with dirt and knives then get hired in the 4 weeks that it took for the African Violets to die off completely.

The interview went off without a hitch, the panel was appropriately engaged throughout the interview portion, and then wowed at the training portion of our hour-and-a-half together. Shortly thereafter I got a cordial condolence letter..

The weekend after reading that note, I sat on the couch going through the storage ottoman and watching the West Wing. I found an old faded box of novelty Tarot Cards, the Rider Deck. In doing a simple three-up reading, I got the fantastic news that made me stop my job search.

Just so you know, the desperate always look to the supernatural in times of great strife.

Nov 13, 2015

This Week: Finally Finished - Relax App

By On 13:07
Well, I've done it… the app is DONE. I'm happy and awaiting feedback from my 'client'. The testers a will also get a crack at this over the weekend and then I wash my hands.

 This is a guided visualization and relaxation apple for the campus community..mainly students a, but also staff--to a lesser degree. It offers resources for recognizing and dealing with stress, and also some soothing and relaxing audio exercises that really work to calm the mind and body
I should know, I narrated several of them.
Two things that I'm fairly proud of in this app, appropriate use of creative commons, and the aforementioned narration. I always try to stress to my students that they can find and use images on the web and use them freely--while giving due credit to the original creators.

Nov 12, 2015

Stuff I’ll Miss About my Job (III)

By On 12:29
In summer it's easy to find a quiet
place to get work done.
It’s been 3 years at Loyola and I’ve definitely learned a lot about higher education, technology, instructional design and multimedia. One reason that I made the move to this small-ish private university was because I wanted the chance to work with more motion multi-media and video in my design work. Mission accomplished!

It's important to note: in 3+ years I've worn many hats; one of designer and communications manager, one of writer/ editor for print and digital publications  one of multi-media and web developer, one of software tester, and another of trainer / workshop presenter and designer of professional development on a regular basis, and also occasional podcast host.

In under a week I leave this post for my next big adventure. Without much more ado:

I'll Really Miss

  • Most of my awesome team.
  • Opportunities to do more. This is a blessing and a curse. As the sole graphic and multimedia designer in the IT department, I was tasked with a lot of cool, fun, dynamic projects; like this,
Designing event promotions was a large part of my work. This is my very last one.
Truly, a beautiful campus.
  • Flexibility in schedule. Which other companies out there will accommodate my early-bird waking schedule?
  • My extensive work wardrobe. It's a shadow of it's former self, today.
  • Lovely campus and peaceful commute! 

Stuff I Won't Miss Very Much, at all

  • Olfactory evidence of *Brian's lactose intolerance.
  • I stand byt this: Cube farms suck.
  • Sub-par communication. Who knew that nonprofits had figured out the right formula. Face-to-face contact is key.
  • Eye strain! Five days out of the last 365 I have come home from a long day of design with unbearable eye pain. No more, I say!
Now that that's all said, I'm truly excited about my awesome new job!
(Name's been changed)