Art Without Direction: An art director’s reflection on an endless job hunt

Originally published on LinkedIn on September 17, 2018.

Tomorrow is an anniversary I am not looking forward to. A year ago, after getting home from work, my phone started ringing. It was a call from our CCO.

I knew what was about to happen: I was getting laid off.

Let’s rewind. In the Spring of 2017, my agency’s biggest client announced they were moving to Los Angeles and a new outpost of our network would be taking the work. We were told layoffs would happen, but not who or when.

We ended up having a round of layoffs in early August and I was hopeful that would be all the agency needed. I’d just moved back to Atlanta for the job not even a year prior and considered myself fortunate I wasn’t affected.

Since we first found out the client was leaving, the uncertainty and tension built. I’d been having trouble sleeping, wondering if we were actually out of the woods yet.

When the call came, it was a relief.

It was just nice to know so I could start planning again. Maybe if I knew that I’d still be looking for a job a year later, I’d have been more upset. 

My life has been weird since then: I moved to New York, lived in three different apartments and have applied to well over 100 jobs.

I’ve had lots of phone calls with recruiters. A decent number with creative directors. A chunk even made it to final rounds. But a full-time offer has eluded me thus far.

Maybe it’s my book.

I’ve been told plenty of contradictory things about it over the past few years. It’s a little light on social, but it’s not like I’m unwilling to learn. I consider myself pretty adaptable and a fast-learner.

Maybe it’s me.

After all, I’m getting interviews but I haven’t been able to seal the deal. The post-interview feedback has usually been positive though until the rejection finally comes.

Regardless, after a year of putting myself out there, far misses and near misses take their toll. The little voice in your head makes you question everything, despite the fact that you’ve gotten a ton of work produced and you have references who still check up on you.

After a year, you wonder if you’ll ever work again (not to discount the places I’ve freelanced for, the lifestyle just isn’t for me). 

I’m still optimistic that I will and haven’t given up yet.

I’m still applying. I’m creating new side projects to keep my work fresh. This year alone I wrote and produced a short film and has gotten nearly 3,000 views. The fictional main character even has over 1,500 connections on LinkedIn. I also came up with a concept for a beer brewery and began designing assets for it, among other smaller scale projects.

So, here’s to hoping year two of the search goes better than year one and that I’m not writing a second edition of this 365 days from now.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I hope you’ll consider sharing or liking this post to help me get the word out that I’m still here, still available and still fighting.

– Josh D. Weiss is a Co-Founder of The Side Show and Freelance Associate Creative Director

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