Changing Interior Design Job Market

I drew the hand sketch as attached, I came up with the design ideas, I chose the finish materials, and I also generated the elevation drawings in AutoCAD program for this bench and linen closet, and I gave these information to a 3D rendering guy to draw a beautiful 3D rendering as attached. If you did not know all these, and if you are an owner of an interior design firm, your company is hiring an interior designer, I and the 3D rendering guy both go to your company for the job interview, and who will you hire? Based on my own experiences, people who have 3D renderings in their portfolios tend to get the job even though whatever they drew wasn’t necessarily their own design ideas. Nowadays, many interior design companies are expecting the designers they hire should possess 3D rendering skills, they do not need to be creative or even have certain interior design related knowledge, education or credential, but they must be excellent computer 3D renderers. How come all over the sudden, an interior designer’s job can easily be taken away by a computer 3D renderer?

I think there are 2 reasons: 1. Advancement of 3D rendering programs make 3D renderings more common, everyone from the designers, architects to consumers alike, has become less and less 3D imaginative, people no longer can imagine things 3 dimensionally on their own, they must rely on the visual aids to picture things. Older architects and designers trained in old-school ways normally still possess the ability to visualize things in their minds since the 3D computer rendering programs were not invented or still at the infancy when they were at schools, they had nothing to reply on, so they were forced to imagine things on their own before things were actually built. 2. Unlimited on-line image resources such as Pinterest and Houzz that provide tons of design images for design professionals to copy or tweak from, the old days that you had to squeeze your brains out to come up with brand new design ideas from nothing have gone. Directly copy or tweak other people’s design ideas is a much quicker and easier way to design a space, so the capability of generating original design ideas is no longer valued.

So, the best suggestion I can give to people who would like to be in design industry is to learn 3D rendering program such as 3D Studio Max. Even if whatever you draw on 3D rendering programs is not your own design idea, do not worry, you still can become an interior designer, not just a 3D renderer.

Why shouldn’t you work at the firm that has junior level people working there the longest?

If you don’t see senior level people working at the company, first of all, that usually means the company is lacking of the opportunity to promote in terms of job position and salary, and because senior level people possess certain skills and experiences, they can make move quicker and easier, after they departed, junior level people become the people who work at the company the longest and enjoy the seniority. Employers will give these junior people more authority and responsibilities because these junior people are considered loyal, and if you have inexperienced junior level people take in charge and boss around the new coming senior level people, the work environment can be chaotic. Some junior level people even abuse their authority and seniority to take advantage of circumstance and turn themselves into underground bosses. They can do whatever they want because they can get rid of anyone they don’t like including more senior level people who were hired to be in charge. Employers normally listen to these junior level people’s words since they work at the companies the longest so they were considered loyal and trustworthy. As a new employee in this kind of company, no matter you are a junior, intermediate or senior level person, you definitely will have hard time at work no matter what you do unless you become the best friend with the junior level person who works there the longest. On the end, the only people who can thrive at these companies are those who know how to kiss asses, not those who are capable or working hard.

The Art of Politics

Finally the House passed the new healthcare bill that will replace Obamacare. I have learned the bill will hurt these groups of people the most, the elderly, the poor, people with pre-existing conditions, and women. The good news is that I am not in one of these groups. 

Looking back the 2016 election, I have learned most of elderly, the poor, and white women voted for Trump which were the exact same groups of people that will be hurt by the new “Trumpcare”, and that intrigued me. It was like the other news I had learned about a Mexican illegal immigrant was deported under Trump’s tougher immigration policies, and the deported guy’s wife actually voted for Trump, that makes me wonder how good a politician can be to make the people he or she is or will against to vote for him/her? 

Watching the disturbing footage of Venezuelan people digging in the dump and searching for food, Jewish people in Germany sent to Ghetto, I always wondered if there was any of those people actually supported the current Venezuelan president or the infamous Adolf Hitler since both leaders were elected democratically? What did they do to make the people who would suffer under their regime to support them? I am honestly still looking for answers. I am not a politician and I don’t know the politics, but here is one thing I know, if you can turn those who you are or will against to support you, no matter if it is politics, business or warfare, that is art.

Client’s Cultural Background detects Design Company Culture

I had worked at the firms that most their clients were  born and raised in the US. The ways those firms conducted the business were very different from the firms that the majority of the clients were born and raised in China or South American countries. One of the significant differences is that the clients from China and South America normally were extremely pushy. They always wanted things to get done in extremely fast paced way and always set up very aggressive and unrealistic deadlines. As result, the firms I had worked at that had predominantly American born clients were not only much more organized and detail oriented but more creative and productive. 

Many Asian and South American countries have just emerged from assembly line type of industry to creative and service related industry. Long working hours and unrealistic fast pace working style directly translate to productivity for the labor intense jobs like the assembly lines in factories, but for creative or service industry, working super long hours or super fast pace doesn’t contribute to high quality performance. Even though many these Asian and South American countries are transitioning away from the labor intense type of industry, people’s mentality hasn’t caught up, so it’s not surprising for those clients who originally come from those countries to always demand things to get done in super short time frame, and for meeting the unrealistic deadlines, designers can easily work overtime constantly, fatigue and stress normally hurt creativity, productivity and directly contribute to pool quality of work caused by excessive administrative errors, design mistakes and plagiarism. So, if you find out the typical clients from your next job are originally coming from these new emerging Asian or South American countries, you might need to prepare yourself for long working hours and plenty of drama.

Why shouldn’t you work for anyone who involves in fashion industry? 

Fashion designers, models, fashion enthusiastic and artists have the robust creativity and imagination, and for those who are extremely talented ones, their ideas can grow beyond what you can even imagine. However, if they stay at the fashion design industry or art field, they can be outstanding artists or fashion designers, but if they cross over to interior design industry, and you are working for one of them, expecting those ego infested design ideas without considering feasibility will give you hard time during the design development phase and construction document phase. As a licensed interior designer who is NCIDQ certified like you, you might already have the perfect design solutions to make things work, but more likely your design solutions will be down played and ignored by the sky high ego that is commonly seen in fashion design industry or fine art world, so if you consider yourself a technical oriented designer who is very capable of designing something that really can be built or executed, good luck if you work under an artist or fashion enthusiast, you will definitely perform not as an interior designer but a mess cleanser.

Don’t work at the firms don’t charge clients hourly

The clients pay flat fee tend to make more design changes and ask for more intense shop-arounds. Don’t blame them, cuz it’s free!!

Changing approved designs, especially during Construction Document phase can be really counter productive which also means the disasters waiting to happen. Changing approved designs for accommodating job site condition is understandable, but changing designs just for change’s sake can be very annoying and time consuming. Charging by hourly serves as a mechanism to discourage the indecisive clients making constant OCD design changes. Without this mechanism, the designers will always work on repeat tasks which can lead to overtime working easily. For those clients who like you to compare prices with 10 different vendors just for one single piece of furniture, charging hourly rate can also remind them not to try to save a dime but end up spend a dollar.

At last, charging hourly rates will force you monitoring your or your employees’ time better and making sure the time is efficiently spent. Thus, good for your own well being and time management skill.

Why shouldn’t you work at the design firms that divide tasks?

Simple! Behind all the noble reasons, the truth is dividing tasks so you won’t be able to learn the whole design process. Therefore, reduces the possibility for you to successfully run your own business in the future and become the company’s future business competitor. However, if you don’t mind just doing CAD drawings and not the design development, or just to handle FF&E stuff and not the architectural stuff, or you simply don’t have the intention to have your own business and are fine to work for someone for the rest of your career, this kind of company will work perfectly for you.

Why shouldn’t you work at firms that ask you the reasons for requesting personal days?

If a firm sees you as a property that belongs to the company, not an individual human being who has privacy that needs to be respected, then you really should leave as soon as possible. When the meaning of “personal” isn’t understood, you will very likely be overworked and under paid since they want to decide if your personal day is legitimate and then decide if you can take it without understanding the personal day is personal, and its yours, you can take it with any reason or without. They do that just to discourage you taking personal days so you can work more.

DIY Mistery for Interior Renovation

For cutting costs, some of the clients told me they could supervise the construction site by themselves without me being involved, I found it very amusing and thought the home remodeling TV shows and the big building material supply stores really poisoned the consumers with DIY very well.

Many consumers don’t know how to read technical drawings such as schedules, elevations, sections, and details, without the knowledge of understanding technical drawings, how possibly they can know what the builders are doing on site? Those fancy 3D perspective color renderings look nice but really don’t tell you that much. Even for those technical savvy consumers who know how to read the technical drawings, one thing they will never know is that when they see the workers were installing base boards or door casings, if it was the accurate timing for such tasks?

Some builders and contractors don’t prioritize the tasks correctly due to lack of understanding the design details, so they might look like they have been working hard at the job site, but the tasks they performed might not be proper for that particular timing, and no any drawing will tell you that.

For example, I once designed a double swing door using floor and ceiling recessed mount pivot hinges for a project, and the door stop for that door was another piece of millwork right next to it. The contractor wanted to show the client some progress, so he quickly asked the millwork shop to install the millwork that also served as the door stop and also asked the painters to paint the walls and base boards around the millwork without installing the door panels first. The client went to the job site and saw the workers were working very hard so he felt happy since he saw “the progress”, then he returned to the job site a week later and saw all those installed millwork and base boards had been taken down. It turned out the contractor had to ask the millwork shop to take everything down because he needed to have the slab fabricator cut the floor slabs for installing the swing door’s pivot hinge on the floor. The painted ceiling also needed to be broken in order to install the other pivot hinge on the ceiling, and the walls near the millwork had to be re-painted because the walls were damaged when millwork people tried to take down the millwork, and because the wall finish was eggshell which could not be touched-up partially, the entire walls in that area needed to be re-painted. The worst part was the walls were spread painted, so the painters had to spend the entire day just to tape up the plastic wraps to protect other installed millwork in the same area before they did the spread paint. One step forward, ten steps backwards. This is the best example not to DIY the job site supervision.

Let GOP Healthcare Bill Pass without Delay

As a liberal, I have never been so for GOP’s healthcare plan before, especially after I learned this new bill will eventually hurt the Republican voters (including those democrats voted for GOP candidate in MI and PA) the most. People must be put responsible for their actions and accept the consequences. If you voted for GOP candidate, you must accept the consequences with joy, and I am here to support you. So, let the Bill pass in the House and Senate swiftly and make America great again!