Industry of the Web

I’d like to expound some more about my view of the money machine called the web. I’ve touched on this before, but I was replying to a newsgroup post today that was asking for opinions and ended up with some good stuff that I wanted to pass along. The question was if a graphic designer could call him/herself a web designer just because he/she already knows graphic design. Here is my reply plus some more of my thoughts on the matter.

I think that there are 2 classes of web people: the techie programmers and the front end designers. Unfortunately the web industry is still very immature and flat, so the lines of who does what are very blurry. I am trying to change careers from Mac tech to web design and it has been very difficult so far.

The web is still cloaked in so much mystery to most of the public (and businesses) that all the HR people know to do is ask for every known web skill and throw lots of money at these 20 year old web designers/hackers, then hope for the best. I have a friend who is one of these 23 year old high end designers with 5 years experience who just got rid of a $55k per year job because the job is so far below her level of expertise it’s laughable. The HR person HAD to have a high end designer with server programming skills–so that the well paid programmer could do some web design and a lot of vanilla graphic design for POWERPOINT presentations!! I kid you not. $55k to do freaking powerpoint crap.

You see, here is the rub: people who are crossing over from other kinds of graphic design or whatever are overlooked because we don’t have years of WEB experience. Nevermind that we can do the job. It’s all about how much web programming you know and how much Flash you can cram into your online portfolio so you’ll impress the HR people who have absolutely no idea what they are hiring for in the first place.

What an immature industry! In a few years, when the web is no big deal, the industry will mature and have layers like all other industries and the job descriptions will start to solidify. Then, someone who wants to join the boundless energy and creativity that IS the web will be able to get an entry level job that doesn’t require 3-5 years of Java application programming. (!)

It’s a clusterfuck right now, with everyone trying to cash in on the web and precious few people who really know what’s up, so you see job descriptions that cover 3 different jobs and skillsets. And of course no one in HR wants to risk hiring a crossover talent because HR doesn’t know that Photoshop is Photoshop and layout skills CAN translate to the web. Or that doing press release updates does not require backend server support skills.

I know this is ragging HR mercilessly, but come on, now, people, how many HR and/or recruiters have you ever met that have a clue about what the hell they are recruiting for??? Personally, I have only been helped by ONE and hindered by too many to count.

I have proof (via a very talented web geek friend) that these idiotic hiring practices are being perpetuated. This friend is the one who is ditching the well-paid but stupid position at an unnamed large company and the silly woman who is hiring to refill the position is AGAIN hiring a very over qualified web designer/programmer to do their stupid shit. Amazing.

Meanwhile, there are hoardes of us wannabes who would happily do the grunt work for half the pay just to bask in the glow of the web’s movers and shakers.

But, you know, despite the craziness, I’m still hot for the web and I’m gonna jump in with both feet! I know that one way or another, I’m gonna find my web niche!

Whew!

Well, the AMUG site is up and the official rollout is tomorrow. Thank the gods of web design! I am so happy to have it up and public. I decided to use CSS and Javascripting (I used ’em here, too, go ahead and admire the source code…) to try and assuage the font problems of cross platform surfing, so I had to do some quick WebMonkey tutorials at the last minute. Believe it or not, it worked (!). The irritating thing is that the CSS seems to be more consistent on the PC platform than the Mac! Bugger!

I suppose everyone was thinking that somehow Floyd the hurricane had had an impact on us here in Atlanta, but no. It brought us some gusty weather and cooler temps, but that’s it. Not a drop of rain. [ed note: we have rain today (mon), yay!] The only thing we got was refugees from the GA coast and Florida!

I got turned down by yet another web company this week. As usual, I get some way lame reason: ‘we need someone with a bit more HTML experience on the coding side’. What the hell does that mean, and what should I do to fix it? I was impetuous and I replied to his lame mail, asking just what, exactly he meant by his statement and what, exactly I could do to get ‘ a bit more HTML experience on the coding side’. I was very nice and submissive in the mail, don’t worry. What have I got to lose? I figure he is cool enough to perhaps float some feedback my way. Whatever. I guess it’s more Mac for me! Eh, that’s OK. I’m sure I’ll get into the web when I’m ready. It’s hard for me to accept waiting,but I think there is a reason for this stall that I don’t see.

It’s almost time for yoga class again. I can’t wait. I’m really bad about doing my daily yoga when I’m not in class, so this will put me back on track.

I have a very nice suprise for you: a cool story written by an ex-coworker from the Loaf. I’ll have it up this week, so look for it on the personal page.

I’d love to write more, but I’ve been in front of this box for about 8 hours and I’m all typed and uploaded out.

Om shanti.

Age Gaps

Are not just for parents anymore! My friends have almost always been pretty much the same age as I. You know, children of the big haired, glossy lipped ’80s who all partied to Chaka Khan and Madonna records and who did NOT grow up with computers. Hell, many of us still remember AM radio and the advent of cassette tapes (barely). The music industry threw just as big of a hissy fit over cassettes as they did about CDs a decade later, by the way.

Anyway, these days I find myself with a few friends who are significantly (10 years or more) younger than I am. Hmmm, what to do? For the most part, I don’t really think about it and it’s no biggie, but occasionally I am forced to acknowledge my seniority (just to myself). It is really strange.

For instance, I went to DragonCon this year with my SO and one of our younger friends got a bunch of passes to go to the WhiteWolf party. Well, “YAY”, I think, “I can dress all Gothic Slut and no one will notice!!” So I do and off we go to the open bar party. We are all having a good time, when the youngest of the group, a 20 year old self-proclaimed wild child, became puking drunk. No more good time. Suddenly, I am the old, wise woman to this very naive 20 year old who is puking in a box!! Whoa, what a reality check!

Now, I am blessed with a cast iron stomach, so even in my wild youth I was not often the puker of the party. I didn’t really identify with this girl in that way, but all the sudden I was tossed back to the clubbing days, when I was usually the one taking care of the pukers. But now, I see it as “omigod what an idiot” rather than, “bummer, get me a beer while she pukes!”.

All this reminiscing is brought about by my SO’s 30th birthday this Sunday, AND one of my younger friends’ 23rd birthday (also on Sunday). I’m not often reminded of our age difference, except, like, my appreciating Led Zeppelin, hair bands and REAL tight jeans and her giggling at me for it. We go to 80s night at our fave dance club (where it is chock full of kids who were eating pablum in the 80s) and dance our asses off and we talk about web stuff. The truly weird thing is that she is sort of a mentor to me, despite our disparate ages! Funny!

I can’t help but think that things are SO different now than when I was 20…Technology has totally changed the way everything works and the way all of us interact. It causes a gap between people who are not separated by a generation, but by only a few years. I missed the beginnings of desktop computing–the Apple “1984” commercial totally missed me– and I would not be in computers today if not for the headhunter that jerked me out of radio and pushed me into a support job in 1995/96!

I’m damn glad that I got into technology, cuz I’d be clueless now (like AOLers and HR people) and I’d still be doing stupid boring jobs like I was before. AND I wouldn’t have met some of the fabulous younger people that I now know thanks to the web and my techie jobs! And it has helped significantly with my relationship to my SO. He DID catch the wave in the early 80s (Apple//, baybee!) and my learning about computers has given us something in common aside from, ummm, well, ummm, whatever it was we had in common in the first freakin place!! [sidebar: did you know that ‘foreskin’ is the first word on the list of replacements for ‘freakin’ in the DreamWeaver spellcheck?]

I’m happy to say that I truly appreciate my age and the perspective that I’ve gained, however, I really really like it when I get carded and people consistently guess my age at 8-10 years less than it is!! It’s like having the chance to sneak back 10 years and live it all over again–but with all the knowledge I’ve accrued. Be afraid, be very afraid! Or, as my favorite hacker would say: Ph34r M3!!

Yikes!

Well, it figures that about the time I get a cool link from someone else’s site (thanx M), here I am with my goddam page on TRIPOD!! Oy, vay!! The horror! At least go here and look at my real site, for chrissakes! It’s a virtual host, but the domain is mine and the space is paid for and pop-up-less.

Well, this has spurred me to get off my ass and get my new domain set up pronto! I have checked out he.net (Michelle has switched to them recently) and they appear to have really good services for a really good price. The straight up cheap dealie is only $9.95/month and although you pay for your traffic over a certain amount, it is perfect for a small site. They even offer all sorts of server side stuff that I am clueless about *now*, but may want in the future.

I have a couple of book reviews done and ready to go to Michelle’s site. I just talked to her tonite at Twain’s, a local bar, and she said “send ’em”, so off they go to her. I’m gonna wait to post them here. Did a housecall yesterday and made a couple of bills and I got a call today about fixing a couple of Macs at a small graphics firm. It’s the same old story: “I bought this great new G3 and now my stuff doesn’t work!!”. Um, didja ever even THINK to check and see if that PhotoShop 3 or Quark 2.x would function with a new system??? Hell, no. That’s how we Mac techs make money. It’s not that the Macs have that many problems, it’s the silly users who seem to think that software will work forever and hardware will always be 68k. Bah! This, friends and neighbors, is why I want out of support. I’m tired of the same shit over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a MacHead–I’ve just reached the plateau and it’s not a challenge anymore.

But I’m not bored enough to pass up the ca$h! It seems that the little ad in the crappy local paper must be doing something: both jobs have come from it. I think I’m going to see if the publisher will let me have 2 1/16 page ads in lieu of the one 1/8 page ad that I currently run. Then I can do both Mac support (easy) and web design (fun).

Wish me luck with getting 2 ads and with getting a web job. It’s what I’m holding out for!

Oh, and look for that new domain real soon! :-)

ps: THAT’S IT! I have had all I’m gonna take from this piece of SHIT GoLive!!! It just changed every link in this site to garbage, so don’t write me if you find a broken one. ARRRRGH! GoLive sucks!

Where I’ve Been

So, where have I been? Well, up to my ass in resumes and HTML code, mostly. I’m STILL on the hunt for a job working for the man so I can pay some bills. To that end, I’ve been putting up a new portfolio site for these web people to look at. That’s why YOU, gentle reader, get to admire the popup ads of Tripod while reading my looooong missive.

So, anyway, I’ve had an interesting couple of weeks. Let’s see, I’ve been home to KnoxVegas to visit the family. Boring, except for running around in my parents’ back yard, at midnight, NEKKID. Yessiree, I said nekkid. It was a full moon, you see, and I was doing a simple ritual, so it’s really not so odd when you know that part, right? I said, RIGHT? Just as I suspected: raised eyebrows, gasps and pearl-clutching from a few. Oh, well, just doing my best to piss off the religious right! :-)

This week has been an illustration of how ignorance and pride can really be a baaad combination… I was going to go off on a rant about this woman I do some work for, but I’ve changed my mind and all I’ll say is that I’m sick to death of silly, irrational people who hate technology and refuse to LEARN how to deal with it.

Instead, I’d like to talk about change. Change is indicative of growth and change is hard. As you know, I’m changing from support to web design and it is SLOW going. I read my cards a lot in times like these, and I’m usually uplifted by all the success cards that show up, but these last couple of weeks, I’m just OVER of all the 8 of Cups and 6 of Swords and The Lovers and 8 of Pentacles. I’ve been getting these over-the-top readings for 6 months now and I’ve yet to see all the money and success they portend. Oh, and I’ve yet to take that long trip that they keep hollering about, too. Impatient? Hell YEAH.

You remember the nutbag guy from my last entry? Well, I finally got in contact with him again and he informed me that he had 6 “webmasters” lined up who were posting his stupid little article on their websites for free. He then hints of all the “ideas” these guys have offered, but he won’t give me any details. I ask him how I’m supposed to even have an idea if I don’t even know who the audience is? He starts being a DICK with me, saying that I have no ideas and I just hang up on him. That’s it. So, hey, I guess THAT wasn’t the woohoo money making idea that I’m supposed to get, eh?

So, here I am, doing web design out the ass, putting up pages and revisions daily, just as I would at a ‘real job’ and getting no money. Dammit, the companies don’t understand that you don’t have to have a freakin’ degree in design or know PERL to add pages and maintain a site!!! You don’t even need those skills to BUILD a site for most people!

Wish me luck in my search for a job. And look for my articles about books I’ve read on this site and on Michelle’s new site (that isn’t up yet).

Om Shanti.