I got a question submitted today through the GetOutOfDebt.org site that really caught my attention. If you have a debt related question, you can ask me for free help also.
I just turned 25 and I am still living home with my parents. I have attention-defecit disorder and severe depression/anxiety. I am currently a junior in college pursuing a B.S. in Graphic Design.
Recently I have been getting a lot of feedback that jobs in this field- particularly prepress -are slim to none. With growing college loans and a list of prerequisite courses still to take, I feel I have dug myself a major hole. My loans so far are $30,000 and continue to grow. I work part-time and only make $13,000- $16,000. I am “worried sick every day” that when I get out of college there won’t be any jobs left. Soon I will be needing a car and would eventually like a place of my own.
Thinking positive, I have managed to save $24,500. Still though, I awake in a cold sweat and go to sleep “scared” for my future because of growing debt and a lack of jobs.
Am I in over my head at college, with slim availability of future jobs? Am I worrying myself sick???”
Dear Worried Sick,
You ask if you are worrying yourself sick over your prospects and finances. Yes, you are.
Rather than hopeless, I think your future looks bright and hopeful. If we look at your current situation you are a young and talented graphic artist that is pursuing a college degree in a field that you love.
At the same time you have been able to save $24,500 in cold hard cash, a feat that many your age, hell, twice your age can’t claim.
Just recently I wrote an article “Is Going to College Really a Smart Financial Move?” but in your case, I think you need to set aside your worry, (I know, easy to say), and instead you should focus on getting the best and most focused education that you can.
I have personally hired graphic artists and I have worked collaboratively with graphic artists and I know that just because someone calls them self a graphic artist does not give you a true indication of their commercial worth. Don’t make a rash judgement of salaries based on what you might hear.
The tragedy at this point would be if you did not embrace your education enthusiastically and get the best education you can. You are more than half way through your degree and if you stop now, you’ll just have debt but if you finish, the economic advantage that can give you is significant.
Over the years I have heard the “no jobs” argument from many and that worry is nearly always unfounded, except if you were a typesetter before the laser printer came out. That little device killed an entire industry in about a week.
You are a creator, an imagineer and what you do can’t be supplanted by any mechanical device. Jobs will always be available in your field.
Now, it is true that graphic artists do not make executive salaries but when you look forward in your life you must ask yourself if this field is your passion and something you would love to do for many years to come. Passion and enthusiasm for what you do has really value as well and no amount of salary can compensate you for doing a job you hate.
One of my ex-graphic artists is now the lead graphic artist for a major corporation and supervising a team of other graphic artists. I seriously doubt she would have ever imagined herself in that position when she graduated from college. Sometimes you just have to follow your dream and be open for what comes your way.
I took a look on Salary.com to see what was available in the graphic artist field. What I discovered is that 64.64% of people that become graphic artists have a bachelors degree. It looks like the degree is a real bonus. The salary level in the Washington, DC area was about $50,000 for a graphic design specialist. Not bad.
Even a production artist that does web stuff is making about $60,000 a year and 61.61% of them hold college degrees as well.
It might just be that after you graduate that you’ll have to consider moving to a more lucrative geographic area for your field or that you’ll have to broaden your field choices to more than just a narrow subset of graphic design. That’s not the end of the world.
If I could wave my magic wand at you I’d get you to stop worrying, embrace the college life and experience and just know that your future is very bright.
I would strongly suspect that your anxiety and depression, in combination with your A.D.D is not helping things. Please make sure you are actively pursuing treatment for these conditions through a combination of talk therapy or medication. If you can make sure those conditions are under control, things will get much, much better.