Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sometimes It Just Doesn't Matter

Last week I attended a coffee for unemployed interior design professionals set up by three local sales reps. It kind of surprises me that this hasn't been done sooner or by other reps, but it was a great event. I knew only a couple of people there, but I was familiar with all the firms represented and surprised by some. I was probably the person laid off the longest ago, but then I have been exploring other avenues and not looking exclusively for design jobs. Lately, I have avoided architecture and design firms all together, because no one is hiring, they are only downsizing and my time has been better spent pursuing other interests and opportunities. 

The people I met and talked to had a wide variety of experience and expertise. A few had been in the industry for over 20 years and had been with their previous firm for 15 or more years. There were partners, vice presidents, senior designers, junior designers, new grads. There were people with project management experience, advanced degrees, advanced certifications, specialization in healthcare design, casino design, commercial and residential design. 

One woman I talked to - actually she talked to me, or more precisely at me - illustrates just where the job market is right now. She told me she was working on a big casino project (that I was familiar with) and described her responsibilities (all of this unsolicited by me, which was kind of annoying, but whatever.) She was young and, for the most part, project managing the interiors portion of the job. She had gotten her certification, become LEED accredited (sustainable/"green" design,) trained on and become very good with the most advanced architectural CAD program out there (which the industry is rapidly adopting as the standard,) was involved in company initiatives and committees. Basically, she was doing exactly what so many job search "gurus" are recommending - make yourself invaluable. Be seen. Be involved. Be improving your skills. And she got canned anyway. 

When you are doing what you should be doing and can't stay employed it is difficult to understand the reasoning for getting laid off. Sometimes it just doesn't matter. Sometimes it becomes so much about protecting the bottom line and just staying in business that good people are let go even while less qualified or less talented people are retained - for the time being. This has all been seen before. None of this is new. It has been a long time since we have seen it to this extent, but the country survived then as it will now. It ain't easy. It sucks! But it will get better. Eventually, someday, soon.


Natalie said...

Love that last's so true. Some think that a quick fix is needed, but in reality, it's just going to take some time. Yes, it's bad. Me and my family have been hugely affected, but getting into a panic isn't going to help. Time to readjust the standard of success and realize that being happy, taking care of family, and having a roof over your head is success in an economy like this.

By the way...what's in FL in a few weeks? Fun trip or a race? (saw your comment in BW's blog)

t-odd said...

Nat - Spring Break. I wish there was a race. I really need one right now. Believe me, I have looked for one down there. Runs in shorts in warm weather will have to suffice.


Keep the faith brother, it can't get much worse from here.

Charisa said...

It will turn around - hopefully sooner rather than later!!