What do you do for a living?
I'm a Prepress Technician at a publishing and printing company. I make $14.50/hr, so a bit over $28,000/yr.
What is your career?
Graphic Design, focusing on print, but I can do web design as well
How did you get there (ie, what sort of schooling)?
Media Arts classes in high school, 2-year Graphic Design program, worked for the director of the Graphics department in college, and now I've worked as a Prepress Technician for 2 years
And do you think a BA in Accounting is a good degree to have if I want a job that will make decent money? Or should I choose something else? Will my age hinder me from finding work? (I'm somewhere around middle-aged).
Have you looked into applying for Prepress positions? I assume you learned prepress at school. Even small print shops need people who can do both design and prepress.
I know you're frustration finding a job that pays well. I started out of school at $13.69/hr, but that was after a lot of looking. I had an interview where the interviewer laughed in my face when I told him how much I was expecting ($27,000/yr the average amount a graduate of my program makes 1 year post graduation). He only wanted to pay me $10/hr. No thanks, I can work at Wal-Mart for more than that.
I have definitely done Pre-press work and have worked as a Pre-Press technician myself. It was at GWP publishing in SoCal a little under 10 years ago, and it paid $11.00 an hour. Raises were once a year, at about 10 to 20 cents an hour. I stayed for almost 3 years, and quit (for a better graphics job) when I realized that it'd take 5-10 years of working there just to get a raise of a dollar.
I'm surprised you were able to find pre-press work that actually paid as high as $13.69/hr. Usually, most of them pay around $8.00-$10.00 an hour, as you saw from that one interviewer. (Then again, depending on where you live, it might not be all that high. If you're in SoCal, New York or the Bay Area, CA, then the wage isn't even a living one). I personally haven't seen many pre-press jobs advertised at all, at least not where I'm at, and on the rare occasion I do see one, it's for $8-$10 an hour. Then again, you said it took a lot of looking. So far, I haven't come across one, but I don't know how long you've been looking vs. how long I've been looking (almost 3 years now). This is another reason I'm seriously wanting to switch careers. Decent jobs in my career (that pay more than retail) shouldn't be super-rare. If most of the jobs are paying close to what a Walmart worker makes, with only a few gems standing out once in a blue moon, then it's likely work will always be hard to come by. I'd rather restart with a career where jobs that pay $13.69/hr are *plentiful*, and jobs that pay even higher are not unheard of.
Thanks for your comment!