Monday, August 27, 2007

175 x 13 = 2,275

My death is being sponsored by Adobe CS2.

Work has been hell, lately. A specific kind of hell that demands 14 hour work days. I basically handle the graphic design and publications management for the nutrition program I work for. The program is disseminated by a large state university. A large, overwhelmingly bureaucratic state university.
And hence, the hellaciousness of my job lately.

I am in the middle of several large, tedious projects that are pretty important to our program. The largest and--by far--the project that has totally kicked my ass is the cookbook. One week prior to sending this PAIN IN THE ASS to the printer -- via the Visual Communications department of the university -- my VC coordinator sent me this little morsel:

"I kinda don't work for the university anymore. Work directly with AB [printer rep] on the cookbook."

Um, what?

Now, I like working with printers. No, I love it. At the risk of sounding really snotty, I'd dare say I am really good at working with printers and coordinating production of printed materials. I love that work. But. The university is very paranoid that one of the dozens of designers employed at this gleaming institution of higher education will slap some porn on the university lettertype. Apparently, that wouldn't be very funny.

So, the manager of the VC office caught wind that I was happily and efficiently prancing right over her head and working directly with a printer. The sin! She put the kibosh on those goings-on immediately. So, all of my production materials have had to come and go through her. And she sits on my proofs for days at a time.

OHMYGOODGRIEF. She sits on my proofs for days at a time. (Anyone out there in print or publishing? You know that one day of sitting on a print is like three days of work, right?!?)

*throws up into nearby trash can*

Anyway, long, annoying, irritating, infuriating, vomit-inducing and mind-numblingly stupid story short, being required to still send all my production materials through the manager of the VC office has slowed down all of my projects to the point that NOT A SINGLE ONE WILL BE PRINTED BY MY DEADLINES. (To be fair, the manager is disgustingly overwhelmed with projects thanks to the notice my previous coordinator utterly failed to give when he left. She knows deadlines are being missed and yes, I do understand she is human. But I thrive on deadlines and this just might kill me.)

I don't have to tell you how awesome that is for a workaholic, lazy, perfectionist such as myself.

As an added bonus to the production-materials-black hole, it turns out the crackpot software that my program used to generate 175 nutrition fact labels cannot, in fact, generate nutrition label graphics at 300 dpi, no matter how many times you set and double-check your print output setting. Everything is a gloriously low resolution of 72 dpi.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! It is just rad that I managed to overcome my usual state of uncontrollable paranoia and one-tragic-event-away-from-full-blown-OCD tendencies, resisted the urge to double check that every single graphic produced was truly 300 dpi and I trusted the program to do what it said it was doing. RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD.

So, another
long, annoying, irritating, infuriating, vomit-inducing and mind-numblingly stupid story short, I spent one my recent Sundays recreating and fucking around with 175 images. Each image required no less than 13 steps to manipulate it into something remotely suitable for print.

175 multiplied by 13 is 2,275. That is a lot of
long, annoying, irritating, infuriating, vomit-inducing and mind-numblingly stupid steps.


  1. Oh dear. This sounds unfortunate. When I saw the title of your post, I was like, "oh, goody...MATH!". But then the rest was a little blurry. But INTERESTING!

  2. Math is misery to me! Hence the inspired post title!

    This was a bit of shop talk, I know. But it is -- unfortunately -- all that has been on my mind lately!

  3. I feel your pain. Oh, how I feel your pain.

    Might I make a suggestion? Alcoholism. People will be unreliable, and computers will be evil. But after a bottle or two of wine, who cares!

  4. Oh man. I would be so tempted to quit. At my old job, website copy used to sit on the director's desk for weeks. I would kill myself trying to get it ready in a timely manner so that the information it was sharing would still be relevant by the time it went up, and then it wouldn't get approved for another month at least. That was part of a larger systemic problem where comms and web work was not prioritized, and it was a big reason why I left.

  5. Lisa - you rock! I am so glad you are back!!!

  6. Jess - I've found that more often than not communication/web -- and especially graphic design -- work is undervalued. There is a huge misconception that anyone can work in these areas, that it requires no special knowledge or skills...


    On the flip side, said Visual Communications office was so impressed that I KNOW WHAT I AM DOING they asked me to apply for my former coordinator's position! That was kind of an awesome glimmer in an otherwise gloomy week.

  7. That is more than a glimmer... that could turn out to be totally awesome! Keep us posted.

  8. If I had a dollar for everytime someone said to me, "I'm a good speller. I could be an editor."

    Keep us posted!

  9. This is why my one venture into the Real World of Work made me run for cover. Other than my One Hideous Mistake, I have successfully worked at a variety of low-paying but rewarding and non-vomit-inducing or mind-numbingly stupid jobs. Well, my current job is occasionally mildly mind numbing. But not nearly as scary as Real Work. Good luck...and go for that job!


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