Hey guys my name is James and I have been a graphic designer for about 5 years commercial experience. Since college I struggled to find anything so I worked a construction job and did freelance until I found a design gig. Luckilly I got my first job at a print shop for $15 an hour and did things for pepsi and other big clients. This was great but I was let go after 5 months. Then unemployment came for 6-9 months and I settled for a $12 an hour job at a chain print company. I worked there for a year and it was great I learned alot, my boss was really cool, did ok designs there. Then he filed for bankrupcy and we went out of business. About 4 months later I relocated to Philadelphia for a local print company getting $17.50 an hour which was great. BUT the idiot owner got rid of me after 3 weeks because she hired 2 designers to do one job and the other designer had a house, wife, and kids so I got the boot because he had more on the line. About 3-4 weeks later I landed a job at one of the largest screen printing companies for $13 and it was great at first. I learned every print method, busted my ass, got up to $14 an hour way faster than everyone else (design team is about 20-30 people). And now I am 2 years in at this company and I am in the top percentile. I train new hires, I do very hard simulated process jobs, I try to help automate, I create documents to help train faster, and I help change the infrastructure for the better. Sounds great right? Well I am only doing those things about 10-20% of the time. The majority of my job is to crank out automated clipart designs customers made all day everyday. It is mind numbing, boring, not creative, and monotonous. I am now at $16 hourly which is good and overtime is unlimited at this point n time. I get full vision, dental, medical, and 401k. But I dread going in everyday. I am currently looking for a new job but I dont know where to go. I have been doing these shitty low paying print related jobs since day 1 I feel stuck. I know tons of print knowledge, like to think im a great designer, and dont know much coding web based stuff. What is my answer here? Do I continue to go in and out of print jobs? Try agencies? Learn web? I dont know anymore. All I want is to design great things and be respected. I have the benefits, the money, and the security but what is it all for if I wanna die every time I go into work. If there are any designers out there to help out and give me opinions on what they think of all of this please let me know I need clarity. I love creating and dont want to waste my prime years on jobs like this. I have been trying so hard to become a great designer and it has been filled with huge ups and downs. In and out of depression due to student loan debt and unemployment. And on top of this I see some of my friends or classmates from college doing so much better than me and getting awesome jobs way easier.