Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 966

I read an article in the current issue of Advertising Age saying that digital media creatives got paid less than half what their traditional creative brethren were used to making. Having played on both sides of this fence, I can attest to the fact that this article speaks the truth. This doesn't bode well for future graphic designers, writers, and photographers. Occasionally, I still wonder where the glamorous world of Mad Men went, but I think I know.

Back when I was a kid, I was usually the odd duck in school. Being totally self absorbed wasn't just unusual, it was strongly frowned upon. This has all changed. After several generations of teachers telling their pupils that they all were special and that everyone was creative, people began to believe this was true. "It's all about me" went from being a lonely cry of defiance to becoming the mantra of an entire generation. Suddenly anyone who had ever designed their own online Christmas card began to think of themselves as graphic designers and people like me weren't nearly as unique as they used to be.

It's all supply and demand. When everybody wants to do something cool and fun, those jobs  aren't going to be worth as much. I remember years ago having a conversation in a bar with a group of photographer friends. Everyone was complaining about the intense competition and wondering how we were going to make any money. A more practical friend joined the conversation and said we all should go buy a big garbage truck and start hauling hazardous waste. "You'll be rich in less than a year," he said. "Because nobody wants to do jobs like that."  So true!

Occasionally, I still work on fun things, but like the Ad Age article said, the money isn't what it used to be. I wouldn't encourage a kid to get into advertising these days. I wouldn't even encourage them to invent video games or become a social media expert. I think the only salvation is to learn to do something that is really hard. Learn math. Discover the next Higgs boson. Do something that most of your friends aren't even capable of doing. I'm sure that many of you noticed that guy with the purple mohawk in the control room during the Curiosity landing. That guy was the mission flight director. I'm sure that NASA or JPL could have cared less if this guy wore a mohawk. They probably wouldn't have cared if he came to work naked, because he was really good at what he did.

So, what did I do today after all this lofty talk? Well, I took Dash to the vet for his antigen shot. I took out the garbage. I wrote a few things that will be billed at today's pitifully low rates. That was about it.

Lou is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day


  1. You are So, SO right. No one needs to learn how to code anything to get a website. They can plug in some pix and text to a template for $177 and be done with it. I am particularly tired of the "everyone is special" mantra. In one sense it's true, but we are certainly not all, or any of us, entitled to our own way all the time.
    Youngest son works for Grey Interactive (may have a new name now) in NYC. He is totally sick of advertising, but can't find another job to pay the bills.

  2. If Sharks hadn't already said it, well what the heck, it bears repeating... You are right. In particular, I think you pinpointed the moment in time when things changed (for the worse). It was that moment when everyone won at Little League (even if it took 10 hours to finish a game, just so Johnny and Janie got their chance to bat). Being special meant (and continues to mean), be one of the crowd. What is unique or special about that?

    Boggles the mind.

    Encourage your kids and yourself to challenge the norm (and for god's sake learn simple math!).