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Posted on Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Dave!People don't take the time to listen anymore. There are simply too many distractions in this modern world for them to concentrate on what other people say.

A prime example of this was provided to me in the parking lot of Office Depot this afternoon. As I was exiting the store, I notice a man and a woman unloading the car parked next to mine. The man said "Have you got the keys?" The woman replied "No, they're on the seat." The man then slammed the door anyway, thus locking them out. This got him the Stare of Death from the woman, to which he could only reply "What?"

And the problem only seems to get worse with each new generation.

It's for this reason that I am dreading being a speaker on "Career Day" at the local high school this Friday...

Dave Teacher

I used to do this fairly often for local schools, but then I was ignored for the past four years. I had guessed it was because the teachers finally figured out that I was the last person who should be advising today's youth on their future. Apparently they either forgot this, or somebody new was put in charge, so here I am again.

The very first time I spoke at Career Day, I dressed up in a nice suit and tie and was all professional and stuff. After my presentation, the first question I got was "What do you like best about your job?" I then realized that the best part of my job was that I didn't have to wear a suit and tie. Oops. But subsequent Career Days got easier and easier for me, and I never minded showing up when asked. If nothing else, it allowed me to dispel the illusion that graphic designers have an easy job because they just sit around drawing pictures all day (yeah, if only).

The problem is that very few of the kids that show up to learn about being a graphic designer have any interest in graphic design. They're only there because teachers force them to choose four careers to investigate, and "graphic designer" sounds less boring than say, ohhhh... "accountant" (with apologies to any accountants out there, because I'm sure it's a fascinating career to those who like being creative with numbers all day... something that terrifies me).

But the hardest part is knowing that most of the kids who show up that are interested in graphic design probably don't have the talent to be successful at it. This is because most working graphic artists are commercial artists, which is a freaky kind of mind-set to try to work within. Being consistently creative under pressure in a way that sells is not always as easy as it sounds.

So, given all that, why do I bother volunteering to speak at Career Day?

Because there might be one or two kids who have the desire, talent, and ambition to actually be a good graphic designer one day. Maybe something I have to say will be helpful to them.

If only they choose to listen.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. The Chad says:

    I remember those days. For me it was a day away from class, as my career of choice was to win the lottery and sit around all day, but nobody ever came to speak about that. I guess thats why it never happened for me.

  2. Laurence says:

    I am sure that some kids will listen to you !!!

    P.S. I love the humor in this entry !!! 😀

  3. Anthony says:

    That’s really cool Dave.

  4. Bre says:

    I think it’s pretty fabulous that you’re willing to go out to career days knowing that all the students aren’t going to go nuts over your career. We have trouble getting people to come here and talk about career options because they “don’t get enough attention.”

    So three cheers for you! 🙂

  5. Avitable says:

    You can also pick up girls.

  6. Kate1976 says:

    I wish we had had careers days at school when I was a young thing – I know I would not have been considering Graphic Design due to my astounding lack of talent but it might have meant I would not have ended up as an insurance broker.

  7. Wench says:

    Huh? What? Did you say something?

  8. Karl says:

    Maybe you can give us your career day speech at TequilaCon. I’m still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.

  9. RW says:

    Wow. It would be so cool to sit around and draw pictures all day! Being a graphic designer would be cool!


  10. Karen says:

    My teenage cousins and their friends are always bugging the crap out of me to re-design their blogs/MySpace. Maybe if you talk about that, you’ll get their attention. Ha ha.

  11. Jeff says:

    Make sure to show them your blog and tell them that if they become really good graphic designers, they’ll also be able to draw really cool cartoon characters to put on their really cool blog someday – like you!

  12. ms. sizzle says:

    you’re an all around good guy dave. i like that about you. 🙂

    thank god you throw in the occasional rant about stupid people!

  13. jaye joseph says:

    As a graphic designer, I know what you mean about the pressure to be creative and to sell. Well, at least I used to, back when I was in marketing.

    Now I’m in educational design and it’s so much better. Things are concrete and you don’t have to cater to the whims of marketing directors who change their minds every two seconds and can’t understand why you can’t just make that word document look pretty.

    No offense to Marketing Directors. I’m sure that there might be one worth a crap out there. I’ve just never met that one.

  14. diane says:

    Tee hee! How cool!
    I remember those career days as SUCKING big time because they never, ever had anything I was interested. I inevitably went to Travel Agent station because it was the most interesting and perhaps valuable for future planning. But then, I grew up in a town of 1300 people, I don’t think they wanted us dreaming very big. 😉

  15. Hilly says:

    And that is why you rock!

    I want to second Karl’s idea, but every time you say “graphic” you have to do a shot!

  16. Chase says:

    I bet they’d listen to you if you brought along Bad Monkey.

  17. kapgar says:

    Hey, I would’ve listened if a graphic designer came to my school. That would be pretty cool. Maybe I would’ve avoided that Spanish degree I got.

  18. Bec says:

    Carrer Day for me invoilved being told how good I would be as an accountant… the thought was enough to drive me under the carpet…
    And now where am I?
    A bleedin’ accounts department… Thank God for the I.T. sidebar job or I may go crazy… oops.

  19. Catherine says:

    I’m glad you know that those one or two kids are worth the whole shebang. Could be they’ll never forget you, and think you are the coolest thing ever (Which, for every moment I am reading your blog, you are).

    Who knows what magnificent peeps your influence will spawn! Especially if you bring monkeys, that’s a good call, Chase.

  20. james says:

    I wanna be a designer! you can tell us, dave!

  21. Pauly D says:

    Something that might add some fun into your presentation? Like halfway through giving your speech, you can make it look like you just totally urinated all throughout your pants. You wouldn’t have really done it — but you rig something up that makes it LOOK like you did.

    That will really break the ice and show those high schoolers that you’re just like them.

  22. Michael says:

    I remember high school, and the television production class. A TON of kids were sent there by the guidance counselors who didn’t know better than to think, “Look, a class where you can watch television.” Little did the kids know, they were actually expected to work, and the teacher made that abundantly clear the first day of class. Needless to say, but the class always got smaller after that.

  23. Bob237 says:

    When I entered collage the Guidance people gave us the Strong Vocational Interest Battery – a bunch of questions like, “Would you rather go hiking or stay home and read?” – to help us figure out what we might be interested in majoring in. Man did it hit the target so far as I was concerned.. My interests were = No 1 – Army Officer, No 2 – Chemist, No 3 Accounting & Finance (Priest/ Minister/Rabbi were NEGATIVE numbers!)

    I was on an Army ROTC Scholarship and spent 23 years on active & reserve duty, have a BS in Chemistry and an MBA in Accounting & Finance.

    Ref your comments, “accountant” (with apologies to any accountants out there, because I’m sure it’s a fascinating career to those who like being creative with numbers all day… something that terrifies me)”.

    “Accountants are the sort of people who go around after the battle bayoneting the wounded.” – Unknown

  24. Göran says:

    How did it go?
    I would´ve enjoyed being there!

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