Unpaid and Unappreciated

I took on a teaching assignment this year. It was a seminar class for third-year design students. I was filling in for someone on sabbatical, a highly respected academic and historian with a reputation for being a very engaging teacher. This man would be a tough act to follow.

I did it because I felt like I needed a bit of an intellectual kick in the pants. And there’s nothing like the prospect of facing a group of 40 students every week to force you to reboot your mind.

The course was entitled ‘Contemporary Problems in Design’, and the content was primarily focused on the changing role of designers in business and society today. But at a couple of points in the first few weeks, it became obvious to me that the high level issues that we were examining conveniently avoided the issues that were really keeping these students up at night. The main one, of course, was “what’s going to happen when I graduate?”

Back when I started out (1980 or so), the concept of ‘looking for a job’ was still the norm. You made phone calls, got interviews, met people face to face to discuss your portfolio and prospects. I think I visited about 30 firms over a period of 2 months. Every one of them took the time to see me personally. I saw big firms, small ones, medium sized ones. Got a good sense of the lay of the land, and a very good idea of where I wanted to work.

Read more of Will Novosedlik’s Branded column here.


Leave a Reply