Question: After graduating last year I’ve found myself receiving offers from both, a big agency and a small studio. So far both are sounding equally as good so I’m in a bit of a dilemma as to which I should go for. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each working environment and what’s best for a young designer? – William
Answer: The first thing to remember is that, while you’re important, a recent grad has no bargaining power. You’re replaceable and no matter how good you are, you’re not that good. So don’t get precious. Land a job and don’t dilly dally. With this in mind, know that young workers can be easily exploited. Late nights. Dull jobs. No proper tuition. So the first question to really ask is which place is going to treat you well as an employee? This includes a conversation about a salary, super, and a healthy work environment.
Your second consideration should be this – where will you learn the most? Right now, you need to be a sponge – you need to absorb all the information and knowledge you can. Generally, smaller studios hire a designer with a bigger investment in mind. The application process takes time because they need someone to fit in their studio environment. A big agency, on the other hand, tends to expect ready-made designers. They will be more interested in whether you can be efficient.
There’s also the issue of involvement. A smaller environment will give you more opportunities to work with the client and be involved on a more intimate level. Big agency jobs tend to be bigger and faster. There might be just as much ownership but not as much connection with the people you are designing for.
Both have their perks and problems, Will. Both will teach you something about your practice. Pick one based on the information you have and realise that it’s your first job – it’s not a life sentence. Just go in there with an open mind and remember that your career is going to have many twists and turns. This is just the start.
Dizzee Askall will be delivering a weekly lowdown on your design-related dilemmas. If you’re in need of advice or answers, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org