The hottest job on Earth

Stare at the clock in the left hand corner of my screen. 3:25.
Stare at Photoshop. Try to coax out ideas that won't come.
Stare at clock in left-hand corner of screen.
Continue staring. 3:51.

Open Illustrator. Actually listen to lyrics coming through headphones. Wonder how Paula Cole got so damn weird. Realize that you're opening a program but don't know what good you can do with it when it opens.

3:52.This is what it feels like to be totally overwhelmed. This is what it's like after you've been here for seven hours, having only stopped for five minutes to eat a burger. This is what it's like to have come in, worked all day, and done nothing but fall further behind than where you were at the end of the day before.

Thus, the journal entry. It would be delusional of me to think that the next ten minutes I give up to organize my thoughts would have any chance of me getting caught up on this day.

This is not burnout. Burnout I know. This is the ugly part of the design business: you fly high, you swoop and soar and amaze your clients with your aerobatic tricks. Then the creative brain stops, the ideas stop coming, and it's time to settle back down to earth and tend to the home front while you wait for that mysterious creative part of your brain to recharge. You don't know how it works, but you know that it's what makes this aerobatic stunt you call "web designing" work.

These problems I can handle.

But adding to this our current staffing problems and you've got two designers who are ready to pull their hair out. We found a designer that we could have worked with. My company made her a lowball offer. She refused it.

So, yet another day of being down several staff members. Welcome to the hell of the dotcom. (Or, in my company's case, the dotnet.) We are being placated by promises of additional help, but my employer won't fork out the cash to get the kind of competent help we truly need. I spent nearly three hours on the phone today, talking with prospective employees.

I am not HR. I am a web designer. But I have the unfortunate gift of being able to look at a résumé for a web position and knowing by the tone and phrasing used whether someone is truly familiar with what they claim to know—or if they are angling for a job that they really don't know how to do. If I don't screen these résumés, we will interview virtually every human that walks in and claims to know HTML. In the end it will waste more of my time. Time that I currently don't have.

If my phone rings again today, I may just try to eat it, just to shut it up. I'm about to that point. I don't want to hear another person calling me back to try to sell me on their fledgling HTML skills; I need someone who will shoot back answers as quickly as I shoot out questions.

For the second job in a row, I'll be interviewing for my supervisor. This was really old after the first time I had to do it. Just once, I want to come out of these interviews saying, "Wow, that's someone who knows more than me. That's someone I want to work with." Not, "I'm twenty-four and I know more than you do. Why, again, did you apply?"

We should have promoted April to manager. I know this. April knows this. Everyone else is beginning to understand this. But the manager position is the least of our worries. We need a new consultant to sell our sites. We need another designer. We need a coder specializing in back-end web development. Once those are hired and trained, my workload (and others') will ease.

Welcome to one of the hottest job markets on earth. Welcome to the ultimate "in" career. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to stick my head back up Photoshop's ass and see if I can pull out graphics for a web portal. While I'm at it, I'm going to look for a six-pack of beer. I figure if I'm going to wish, I might as well make it a GOOD wish.