Friday, March 19, 2021

Microstory 1585: By Accident or Design

This is my tenth interview in two weeks. I should be upset that no one’s giving me a job, but I just feel lucky that they’re considering me at all. Usually, I spend months unemployed with nothing to show for it.

Now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a few more days, and pray that somebody who gives a crap notices I’m good at this. The star: I am a self-taught designer/illustrator/graphic designer. I don’t understand people who get a “serious” degree in a field. I have read every comic, watched every movie, and read every graphic novel I could get my hands on. Everything I’ve learned about art, design, and publishing is self-taught. I couldn’t wait to graduate high school because I wanted to be independent and do my own thing. I wanted to be me. I got a job in entertainment instead. The job: I work for myself as a freelance illustrator and designer. I do graphic design work, print advertising for corporate clients, and offer art consulting for print and web-based businesses. I’ve also started an art school for adult animation. I work on a freelance basis or full-time depending on the project. I will accept projects from anywhere in the world. My rate is based on the complexity and size of the...

..never mind, it doesn’t matter. The point is that none of it is going very well. No one wants to come to my random animation school, and I’m not getting enough clients. Freelance is tough out there, and everybody’s got an edge. There’s really no good way to stand out, so I’ve had to admit that my best bet is to make a steady income by working for a company. The HR representative walks into the waiting room, and tells me that she and the team manager are ready. I follow her down the hall, shoulders straight and confident. I’ve lost my enthusiasm, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at me. I have to act like this is my dream job, and I’ve never wanted to do anything more than work here, for these people, especially this one particular person. No one wants to hear that you’re only in it for the money. Everyone is in it for the money, but they pretend to be passionate, so they expect everyone else to suffer under their own façade as well. People are petty like that. Of course, graphic design is indeed my passion, but I’ve never wanted to become a corporate hack, which is why I tried to go it alone. I’m only here because I’m all out of options. Hopefully even my failed entrepreneurship will make me look reliable and worthy, and they won’t consider the time I’ve spent not working for a company to be a gap in employment. Though no one’s actually said it, that’s how I’ve interpreted how the other interviewers have felt. I walk into the room, and sit down. The manager stares at me without saying a word for a good two minutes. “I spend all this time looking for a good candidate, only to have them quit on me a month later for something better,” he finally says. “It seems it doesn’t matter if someone’s a good fit, and I’m wasting energy trying to figure it out ahead of time. If it’s inevitable, I might as well skip all those steps, and get right to the point, so I at least always have someone on board. You’re hired.”

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