How long does it take you to settle into a new job?
Posted 18.01.2016 @ 6.27PM
I have read bits and pieces of this forum for a while and have found it quite helpful so thought I would come here with my own question / discussion.
I started a new job 2 1/2 months ago and am doing terribly.
My previous position of almost 3 years was great, it did take me a while to get into it - being my first proper job, but this is a whole new level.
This company I think just has much higher standards than my last, everything is needed fast just as with my old job, but here every tiny detail is pulled apart and examined.
Marketing dictates everything, I had much more freedom in my last role, here I have been taken aside and spoken to for trying out a different colour typeface than was indicated in the brief. I did use the indicated colours but also sent along a couple of examples of my own that I felt stood out much more to the marketing manager. Another time I changed the grammar in a sentence and they flipped out.
Does marketing normally dictate every tiny thing like this? I have never worked under a marketing manager before. So I am a bit unclear.
Another thing, I realise as a designer I need high attention to detail, which as much as I try to improve has never been my strong suit. I have already had 2 formal meetings about my work performance which has just shattered my confidence.
These meetings were held due to things like the colour typeface conundrum mentioned above and today I deep etched a product in Photoshop and when you zoomed in on one of the corners it was slightly jagged. Although as being used for web it would not have been noticeable, when I mentioned this they flipped out again and told me it sounds like I do not care for my work.
I realise I am not perfect and still have a lot to learn. Im used to having a lot more freedom, briefs to me in the past were guides - ensure all the info is correct but have a play around with the overall look. So it has been a hard habit to break. I am also the only designer of this company so no one to really double check things with other than marketing who seem to flip out at everything.
It is causing me a lot of stress and anxiety and feeling as though I am just generally crap at design in general, perhaps I am. I was excited to move on, now wondering if my last company just had too low standards?!
Hmmmm. I'm kind of knowing where you're coming from here as in my last job I was the only designer and I was working under one of the Directors that was self admitted OCD.
That was a pretty exhausting time in my career.
It can be very difficult to work under someone who isn't a designer and they're the one pulling the creative strings.
I remember the guy telling me not to use black with blue "as everyone knows, black clashes with blue". Or so I was told. WTF?
Sounds a bit strong to be pulled into 'formal meetings' over providing an alternative font colour and a slightly jaggy corner that'd never be noticed.
It does sound like this job is not quite right for you and if you're 2 1/2 months in and it's making you feel like that then I'd start looking elsewhere if I were you.
As corny as it sounds I feel less alone / less stupid already haha. I have been completely doubting myself and my abilities.
I hear you. I can completely picture my manager giving me a lecture on black clashing with blue!
Are most companies this picky? I have been spoken too / keep being given this line about their perfectionism and standards. On the mentioned jagged corner photo I also didn't have the drop shadow at the right angle, I am not sure how I am suppose to mind read these things.
Can anyone tell me how it normally works when starting a new job? Is there training or do they to some degree generally trust your judgement as a designer?
I still feel very green to the workforce :/ hate all these 'politics' at this stage I would love to find something I can just do from home or only part time in an office!
Any advice if I do leave and would like to put a couple of things from this job into my folio? I feel as though it would look bad to have to explain I was only there for a couple of months.
Can't help feeling disappointed as it is a good company, well at least in looks on my resume...
I feel your pain. But I think the marketing department (like all marketing departments I have worked with) are just precious with their brand. From their point of view they would have spent considerable amount of time/resources on deciding on colours for fonts etc... so in their mind it should be kept consistent throughout. With the drop shadow being at the right angle, I think that's just one of those learning curves.
It doesn't seem (to me) like their concerns are over the top — but it sounds like they are not great communicators. This can also be an issue. If the environment gets to you, see if it is something that can be fixed.. if not, seek other employment.
@carlym - some of your questions are hard to really answer without knowing more detail. for example the thing about the font being in the wrong colour.
did they tell you to follow a brand guideline and you used a different colour to the brand guideline? if so, then yes most companies would tell you to use the brand colour but most companies definitely wouldn't give you a talking to unless it kept happening but they might say "hey I know you want to try something different but we really must stick to our brand guidelines, just make sure you follow them in the future" I assume that could be said for something like the angle of the drop shadow too.
I agree with @jomapi that their concerns aren't over the top, its just how they are dealing with them that isn't great.
also you questioned about "Is there training or do they to some degree generally trust your judgement as a designer?"
If you're talking about an internal marketing team, normally you'd be provided with some examples of the stuff they do and maybe even a brand guideline so you can see what things you can and can't do. Most marketing teams will have someone who knows if you are breaking branding rules and they will tell you if you are and to change them, depending how this is done it can be seen like they are telling you how to design but they are generally just trying to keep consistency amongst the brand.
If you're talking about from an agency/studio point of view, if you are just starting out, you'll be working as a junior so you'll probably find a lot of the design decisions have been made for you, you may be just rolling out the work more or less.
Overall, I would say in your first design job, you generally won't have much control over a lot of design decisions.
if there is a comprehensive style guide to follow then you should be right. follow it and get help (even if its external) if you don't know how to do something. i'd only offer suggestions early on if you think something is technically wrong or you're asked to be creative etc gradually you can influence and put your own spin on it.
+1 to all of the above. It's hard for us reading from a distance to see how much of this might be micro-managing marketing and how much is inexperience from your end, hence why there's a couple of different opinions here.
Do know that working as the only designer in an office is tough. Both for you, because you feel like you're in a bubble, and for the rest of your office, because they don't always understand what you need to do your job (or misunderstand what your job is). I find in situations like this it's more common to be micro-managed and to have every last aspect of your design specified for you with no wriggle room.
As a junior designer, I had my head bitten off for questioning the spelling of two words on a document. It was upsetting for me, particularly given my concern was correct for one of the words! You should never change the copy you're given. If you think the person is open to it, certainly raise grammer/spelling concerns with them and let them make a decision - most people will appreciate this. If however, you have a client like I had, just let it slide. The copy is not your responsibility.
For things like the angle of a drop shadow, it's unreasonable for them to expect you to know what their specs are if they haven't told you. If this kind of thing comes up again, apologise and say you weren't aware of the spec. Ask them what they'd like you to do in the future and then make a note of it. This way, you can build up your own set of specs for reference.
I think you approached the typeface issue well - you sent what they asked, as well as some alternate options. If the specification was based on brand guidelines, you should keep to those guidelines. If the spec was just based on marketing's opinion, they can still reserve the right to maintain their position, but most people will still appreciate being presented with alternate options if you have good reasoning behind your thinking. Watch their reactions when you present alternate ideas - if they dismiss everything out of hand (outside of branding specs) and you'd prefer to make more of a contribution to design decisions, that's a good sign you should move on. It's perfectly reasonable to state that as a reason for quitting if you're asked in a job interview, so long as the new job you're applying for offers more of the kind of work you say you're looking for.
Thanks for all of your responses. I like hearing of others experiences, still being somewhat 'new' myself.
I do believe that it is half me and half the marketing manager.
I have been doing the work the best I can and triple checking everything to which I am now not fast enough.Now my kerning didn't match their high standards, it seems no matter how thoroughly I check they are always finding something wrong. I have been keeping a list and writing out their 'specs' even fonts I know that they seem to have a liking for and going through this quite diligently as I can, but something is always found. It's strange as my first month here seemed to go fine unless they were just letting me ease in?
I have never worked under marketing before so it is all new to me, I do respect their decisions and choices and stick to the briefs I am given. There is a brand guideline but all it is, is how to use the logo.
@bjarni Funny you ask what the job was advertised as, it originally was 'senior graphic designer' when I first read it, the description did not read as a senior but I still did not apply. Then they re-advertised and the 'senior' was gone. I did make it clear in the interview what my role and skills were like at my then current job. I have learnt a lot of new skills already mostly though google which was what they told me the previous designer would do, just google everything.
I am not sure where to go from here...
Any tips for improving my attention to detail?
If I look at other jobs I would really like to include some of my work from this job as it showcases different skills and areas I did not have in my folio before, however how would I explain not having stayed that long without it sounding bad? - and I assume not having any references.