In 2014, I applied to a job posted on craigslist for a small business looking for a catalog designer. The ad was VERY basic, but I figured I would apply and see what happened.
I was called to schedule an interview. That interview ended up being during a snowstorm (omen?), but went well enough the owner of the company wanted to hire me that day without even looking at my portfolio.
When I started the job a week later, I realized I would need to find my way around the office, learn where my desk was and how to find any and all previous design work all on my own as I had no real manager or direct supervisor. I found the previous catalog, which had been thrown together in Publisher. Nothing was packaged so links and fonts were scattered literally everywhere throughout the computer hard drive. I spent a week trying to find all of the links and fonts and trying to piece the Publisher file back together as a starting point.
When I finally got about 90% of it done, I brought it down to the company owner to ask for some direction.
Client: What have you been doing this whole time? The catalog looks exactly the same!
Me: It took this long just to piece together all the jumbled pieces of what was already there to get a sense of where you were. Also, you didn’t give me any information, content, direction or tasks since I’ve been here. I don’t know what you want to be changed, I don’t know if these products are the right ones, and this is the first I’ve been able to talk to you since I got here.
Client: You’re the designer. It’s your job to figure this out.
I went to my desk, disheartened. One of the employees asked me how I was doing and I told them. They shared that the last two designers had each quit before being here six months.
I wonder why.