Craig’s Pissed

January 23, 2007

I’m a self-employed graphic designer. In the old days, when I was greener than a leprechaun’s testicles, nothing would make me consider suicide quicker than a potential client who was, in fact, just some deluded jackass. The hook was usually, “If you do this job cheap, I’ve loads more work for you!” and I bought that line more times than anyone with an ounce of sense ought to have.

This morning, the following was posted on CraigsList. It’s been doing the rounds on design boards and blogs in a big community whoop because it captures and excoriates so perfectly the ignorance and arrogance inflicted on designers by design morons.

The post was quickly flagged and removed (i.e. censored) by CraigsList users, but not before it became the gift that keeps on giving. Who was that masked crusader? Designers everywhere owe him a hot coffee and a big hug.


Post from CraigsList

Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane. If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.


Thinking About Adoption?

January 13, 2007


The missus and I are pretty open on-line about our daughter, whom we adopted from South Korea in April 2006. So every couple of weeks, someone sends me a note that says, roughly: “Me or someone I know is thinking about adopting. Where can I start?”

We’re in the U.S. but the following points probably hold true in most places…


If you’re planning on adopting internationally, each country has different requirements. Korea has the toughest: you have to be under a certain age, not obese, no health issues, married, etc. China has far more relaxed rules, though things are tightening there now too. Guatemala is another place to look into. Russia is popular too and has a strong, well-oiled program.


Some countries require that you travel abroad to attend court meetings, etc. Korea doesn’t and there are a few others like that, but most do.

Attachment Issues

You want a little one that’s been in an orphanage as little as possible because, no matter how good the orphanage, the standard of care is just not that great. Specifically: nutrition, health, developmental and emotional issues. It’s not the end of the world if the child doesn’t arrive home until 12 months old, or even a bit later, but it is a consideration in terms of emotional issues. You want to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible—so the earlier the better. This is why we looked into Korea and Guatemala: in both countries the children stay with foster mothers, so they have great bonding abilities. However, Korea is slowing down its program so you’d need to research carefully now. If we were to adopt again, we’d probably look into China.

Health 1

Our decision was to stress health over any other consideration. For example, looks are important to some people in terms of having a child that looks like one of the family. As it happens, we got a supermodel but the only thing we stressed to the agency was health, health, health. You don’t always have your pick there but if, as in our daughter’s case, two referrals come into the agency at the same time and only one couple is stressing health, the other couple will get the less healthy child. It’s more of a concern with some countries than others. Research will lead you down the right path.

Health 2

Some countries provide very good health records (immunizations, health issues, genetics, etc.) and some countries don’t. There is always an uncertainty factor that you just have to live with. When you think about it, it’s not such a stretch: pregnancy has its own risks.


Go to any major bookstore and flick through their adoption and parenting sections. There’s an incredible amount of info available now. It’s not like the old days, with all that secrets and lies and shame crap. There’s a U.S. magazine called “Adoptive Families” which is absolutely fantastic and I’d imagine there’s something like it available from the UK market. Maybe there’s even something specific to the Irish market. And, as always, give Google a spin. There are some good links at the bottom of this article too.


The current thinking is that your child, by the time they become an adult, should have been told everything about their background that’s known. This can involve some fairly brutal details. There’s always sadness in adoption stories because no-one wants to give a child away—our daughter’s story happens to be very pleasant and loving—but you may have to consider a story that involves dire poverty, drug abuse, murder, violence, incest, abandonment, and race. No matter what, you always have to confront a lot of unknowns: genetics, health, family history. A child is a child is a child. You don’t think about any of that when someone hands you a picture of an innocent baby. But adoption can involve heavy stuff.

Cultural Reasons Children are Placed for Adoption

One of the reasons we went with Korea was that the children there are given up for cultural reasons: for all their techno-savvy it’s practically impossible for single mothers over there, and its even harder for their children. In China, the one child policy means lots of girls are up for adoption. So, in both countries it’s not war or abuse or poverty or famine, which are the kinds of reasons children are placed for adoption in other countries: Ethiopia, Haiti, India, and Western countries.


Yes, it’s expensive. In the US there’s very good tax relief, so in the long run it’s not too bad. But in Ireland things are oddly unprogressive. You might have to shoulder most of the financial burden.


No matter what, it’s a roller-coaster. The paperwork, the interviews, the money and, worst of all, the waiting. Our process seems to have been easy as things generally go, but we thought it was tough! The waiting was definitely the hardest: you see a picture and get a few details and, from that moment on, your heart will just not stop. Every day you’re waiting for the call. It’s tough. Then the agency calls and tells you they forgot some piece of paper and it’s going to delay things another week. Then that happens again. It’s really stressful. But, in the end, someone puts your little one in your arms and you forget all that. Truly.


The culture around adoption has changed significantly since we were children. In the U.S. it’s its own demographic. Asian adoptees are their own demographic. In fact, even Korean adoptees constitute their own demographic! That’s how common it is. And there are enough open-minded people in the world now that an interracial family, with an obviously-adopted child, elicits warm smiles and coochee-coos from strangers in the supermarket aisle.

Adoption is a wonderful thing. We wish you the best.

Onine for American Parents

Online for Irish Parents