The Job AMA Thread! - current AMA@ChickieD through 11/16 at 11:30 PM PST



Would it be possible to sticky a question? As a professor, I deal with students who have all kinds of motivations, and one thing I’m interested in hearing from each speaker is “What is one skill (other than the actual skill you get paid for) that is indispensable to your work?” For example, for freelancers and non-9-to-5ers, it might be the skill of knowing when you need to take a step away and recharge.

Read part of the thread over the weekend, but forgot some of it, so apologies if someone already asked about any part of the above.


hey, this is nice. good solution to the problem of what a new Yes logo would look like. I liked all the other ones, too, but their selection does seem to fit them best. (studied design for a year)

so, if no one else will bite, tell about the NIN work. did you deal with Trent, or through his people?


I updated the top post. It is a wiki, so anyone can edit it and add other standard questions to the list.


Can you post some of the logos you designed?


Thanks!! The response from Yes fans has been pretty mixed, most people much prefer the old Roger Dean logo, which will probably come back if they ever get legal stuff worked out anyway. But I got to use some fun variations of it on tour shirts (1, 2, 3, 4)

The NIN work was very unexciting. I did it all through a company I was working with at the time; besides one conference call where Trent said “Yep. Mm hmm. Sounds good,” everything else was through his people. I did all of the promo work for his Ghosts album.

Edit: I should add that while I’ve worked with a fair number of well known musicians, my interactions with them have varied wildly. I was excited to get to work with Public Enemy, but like NIN, I just had a conference call where I heard Chuck D say “Yo, 'sup?”. John Elefante, the former singer for Kansas, liked to text me at 3am and tell me how bored he was, and then try to push gospel verses on me (he’s a Christian rocker these days). But Janis Ian is an awesome lady who would say stuff like “Hey man, you fuckin’ rock!” on the phone, and I would love to get a drink with her someday.


What were some of the projects you enjoyed doing the most, and the ones where you got to be most creative?


The most fun I’ve had were projects I did for myself; a friend and I used to run a large music festival in Cincinnati, and doing the posters for that was wonderful fun. Similarly, I’ve worked with friends on big outdoor weekend horror events; we did one set in Poland 1933, and designing period-accurate flyers, passports, and train tickets was lots of fun.

The most creative or memorable were ones that pushed me WAY out of my comfort zone. Designing stage sets for Yes (which I am still clueless about), designing shadow puppets and backdrops for a stage production of Lord of the Rings. And one memorable time my boss pulled me aside and said “hey, you’re writing & storyboarding a toy commercial. Go.” and I had to figure out really quick how to do that… and three weeks later I was in Vancouver, art directing it and approving animated intros. Another big no no in design is to never say “I can’t do that”!


How’s the money? For both corporate designers and freelancers? Should I be boning up on CorelDRAW?


I’ve found that corporate design salaries are massively dependent on the city you live in, the size of the company, and who you know. My salary ranged from $35k to $85k but the latter was for a very brief time when I was an executive level creative director (a job I loathed with a fierce passion). My freelance clients pay on average $35 - $45 an hour for my time but a lot of my work is for small indie musicians or nonprofits, and I bill per-job (like $200 for a CD package or $75 for a poster). Being a freelancer means going for very long periods without getting paid and then suddenly getting five checks all at once. It’s not the most financially stable of livings!

Oh cripes. I do in fact have a legit copy of CorelDRAW, because for awhile I had a weird wave of music clients from Kenya and Nigeria, and apparently all they use there is CorelDRAW.


CorelDRAW! is still a thing. We had a laser cutting machine at my last job that used it. I have no idea why they used it, but was super surprised to see it still exists.


the professional sign-making industry is heavily tied into Corel, or was, anyway. My roommate at the turn of the millennium worked in signage, CorelDRAW was the industry standard. His computer was the first place I ever saw/used it.

@nungesser, since a lot of your clients are musicians, how does the music affect your process? I guess what I mean is, if an artist hires you whose music you think sucks, obviously you keep your mouth shut and do the work, but do you feel that it affects your process in any way, like coming up with good ideas or “writer’s block” or anything? or conversely, if you’re a fan, does it hinder you, maybe being too self-critical or eager-to-please?


Great question. I used to do album covers for indie bands through a music distributor, and a huge number of them truly, deeply sucked. I actually found it freeing to have no deep connection to the music; it was fun doing cover art for stuff that I knew nobody would probably ever listen to, because the stakes were so low. Conversely, doing design for Yes, a band I’ve long been a fan of, is extremely hard; I know whatever I do will be criticized by rabid fans on dozens of forums and I have to live up to 50 years of classic Roger Dean art, which is impossible.


Ding ding ding!!!

Thank you @nungesser!!! I loved your YES logos (especially #3).

Next up, @katherine.

I’ll kick it off with the standard questions:

What is your job?


What is one skill (other than the actual skill you get paid for) that is indispensable to your work?


From upthread: I’m a psychotherapist and I’m pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology. I’ve been practicing for six years in a variety of settings. This is my second career after years of corporate and consulting in Human Resources (primarily in tech start-ups). I am much happier now.

For me, I think the ability to focus attention on the person(s) in the room with my whole self is key. It’s the ability to make all “parts” of myself completely available for my patients to use, but also the discretion to not become entangled with them. Bion’s concepts of reverie (the ability to be attuned to and make sense of the patient) and containment (the ability to take in projections from the patients without being overcome by them) are very useful for me in my relationships with my patients. I would argue that this is the skill that I get paid for - even though most people would probably say that it’s “listening” or my knowledge of psychopathology and appropriate treatments for said pathologies for which I’m being paid.


What made you decide, “Screw you tech guys! I’m gonna do psychotherapy!”?


I know a lot of people who’ve been hugely helped by psychotherapy, but my limited personal experiences with it have been incredibly poor. What’s the best way to go about finding a therapist that’s right for you?


When I came out of undergrad, I was prepped for a career in UX. Very quickly it became clear that as a young woman, no one thought that I had anything to offer in that regard - after too many interviews for entry level product design roles at start-ups that ended with, “We have an admin role open in HR,” I was broke and desperate enough to take the next job offer. Cut to 10 years later, I’d been consulting for a few years and I was miserable. I was tired of literally every job devolving into a weird sexual harassment/discrimination investigation. But I had no idea what to do. My husband and I moved cross country for his work, I quit consulting and worked in a synagogue (thought about converting to Judaism) and in a small, all women marketing firm (not a good fit for me). I was depressed. I was in therapy. It was a bad therapy. I was watching “In Treatment” one day and thought, “I want to learn how to do that” and “I could do a better job than my therapist.” I started researching schools and found one that met my needs and matched my values. I loved my Master’s program. I fell in love with therapy. I figured out why my individual therapy was so bad and I found a new, amazing therapist (who I have now been seing for almost five years). In my last quarter, several people whom I respected encouraged me to pursue a doctorate at a particular institute. I looked into it and fell in love with the place, and even though it’s been a mixed bag, I love who I’ve become through the process of pursuing a doctorate. I found my vocation.

tl;dr - Tech didn’t want me, I tried to make it work for 10 years, quit, and found a field that I love and loves me back.


What is your current area of interest in psychotherapy?


First, just to lay all my cards on the table, I don’t think that there is a “one size fits all” kind of therapist or psychotherapy. Lots of studies have been conducted as to what makes for effective therapy and the number one thing is always - regardless of who or what is being looked at - is the relationship between the patient and therapist. So, you need to find someone who you can like, someone you feel confident about, and someone with whom you can be vulnerable.

Ways to do this include asking for recommendations from people you really like and respect (high chance of a good match, like a job referral) and googling for key search terms (example: psychotherapy+depression+men’s issues+location) to see who’s out there. Go with your gut about who to contact (you like their picture or the colors on their website). Insist on a phone call to screen potential therapists - this is hard to do in HMOs, but you can insist on it. Have your pitch ready: l’m seeking therapy to treat X and X. I’d like to talk with you about how you approach that kind of work, and I’d like to know what a session with you may be like. Listen to their voice: How does it make you feel? Are they engaging with you? Are they curious about you? Are they offering any reflections on what you’re telling them about yourself? If you feel good about the answers to these questions, it may be worth meeting with that therapist.

It’s normal to be nervous or unsure about therapists. Therapy’s confidentiality makes it opaque and difficult to know who is a good match for you. Every therapy process should be unique to the patient, imho. It’s also not unusual for therapy to be uncomfortable sometimes and to leave a session feeling confused, sad, or angry. But it should not really feel disgusting or violating - if those feelings come up it can be a sign of real danger and I would seek consultation with a trusted person who has experience providing or receiving therapy.

Does that help? I’m happy to provide some more tailored guidance via messaging if anyone wants it.


I have many areas of interest; the field is so large that I always seem to find a new rabbit hole every few days. The unifying theme for me is applied clinical psychology.

Couples/relationship work is really invigorating to me - I work with people in relationships of all stages, orientations, and configurations.

Treatment-wise I’m getting more interested in the integration of somatic studies (particularly Pat Ogden’s work and Reich’s pre-orgonomy vegetotherapy).

Research-wise, my dissertation focuses on the treatment of suicidal patients. It’s heavy.