By Nexus
Mar 11, 2019

Post Grad Stories: Vincent Owen

UnderEmployed

Vincent Owen - Graphic Designer  

Nexus: When did you graduate?
At the end of 2016, after three years of sweat and tears in the design studios. Not only did I pick up a degree, but also a sumptuous 10cm reduction to my hairline, and a disturbing caffeine addiction.

Nexus: Where are you working now?
Somehow, I managed to use a two-year stint at Nexus as a stepping stone to working in one of Wellington’s top design agencies. We work with a mix of government and private sector clients, which means I can go from working on social media for a beer company one day to public park signage templates the next.

Nexus: What surprised you or was different from your expectation?
In stark contrast to my last job, I walk out the door every day and completely switch off. I’m hardly ever stressed about the work I create. My once insomniac-like sleeping patterns have been altered to the point where I’ve actually been able to stop drinking coffee altogether – which has only reduced stress even further. Sounds perfect, right? Unfortunately, a big part of this stress-reduction has been an extreme decline in passion for my job. Agency designers hardly ever get pride of authorship, and there is zero wiggle room with client requests. It’s meant that I have to keep pushing myself to do work I actually care about, outside of work hours.

Nexus: How is the pay?
Not particularly flash. One thing to keep in mind (if you’re seeking a creative career) is that a company’s dependence on you to have unique expertise affects your pay immensely. Since I’m not the only kid in the room who knows how to wrangle InDesign, I’m far more disposable. My friends who work in-house at companies, in small design teams, are far further up the pay scale.

Nexus: If you had to do it all again what would you change?
Negotiate your salary at the start, and do it confidently. Some job offers feel like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Mine certainly did – to the point where that I sacrificed realistic pay so that I could move cities to my “dream job”. If you’ve got the offer, you’ve got the talent. Make them budge.

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