In addition to anniversaries of the science-fiction convention I put together and the time I watched a building in Portland blow up (well, down, at least), this May is the anniversary of the end of the last job I held, at a company called Reality Engineering.
I’d started looking for a steady gig because even that far back work at the bottom of the multimedia tank had started to get pretty spotty, for whatever reasons, and the year-and-a-half of steady employment I received from Reality helped get us back on our feet after effects of the dot.com implosion combined with my little brush with death.
But it’s been two years since that ended. Incoming projects (Director, Flash, or whatever) have been even less frequent than they were four years ago. Resumes and project inquiries have gone out steadily since I was laid off with nary an answer. A couple of the projects that came to me from previous contacts fell through, and one client still owes me thousands of dollars for work I did more than a year ago.
I had a conversation a couple of weeks back with a graphic designer I know whose been in worse straits for longer. He’s lost his house and is subsisting on the kindness of some friends along with a very small income from a part-time front desk job. It’s not just the lack of income that’s a problem, but every month our portfolios get dustier and more out-of-date. Not that anyone’s looking at them, but even if they were, when you’ve been scrabbling to find small jobs to fill in the cracks and the last major project you worked on was literally years ago, what kind of impression does that leave on a potential client? Where have you been since 2005? In prison?
Like a lot of other desperate or semi-desperate people, I’ve got some hope and money riding on the iPhone gold rush right now. Like a real gold rush, the people selling mining supplies and leading people across the passes are the ones who are going to come out of it well; a lot of the rest will end up worse off than they were before they made the trip.
Crossing my fingers and hoping that I’m among the lucky ones this time. I’ll let you know how it ends up when I’ve released my app (whether you care or not).