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August 25, 2009
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Idiotic Job Post Of The Week

Journal Entry: Tue Aug 25, 2009, 9:33 AM


One of the reasons I left photo retouching was the completely unrealistic time expectations from clients and employers. I worked at a weekly entertainment magazine for over 5 years so I know how to work under deadlines and tight schedules. But the business has just gotten completely out of hand. People with accounting backgrounds, who know absolutely nothing about photography and retouching are often setting the schedules.

Case in point, here's a job post I came across from The Gilt Groupe ( www.gilt.com/company/job/10066 ) :

"Job Description: The Retoucher works within a team that produces all images used in a sale, including women and men's fashion, accessories, and jewelry.  The successful candidate will work closely with their colleagues to produce, on average, five sales per week (approximately 150 images per day) in this deadline-driven and high-volume production environment".

Retouch and color correct 150 images per day? Exqueeze me? OK kids.... let's do the math: 8 hour workday = 480 minutes, 480 ÷ 150 = 3.2 minutes per image. Oh....did you want lunch or bathroom breaks? That cuts the time down to 2.8 minutes per image. They actually had the balls to list one of the job qualifications as "Ability to work very quickly without sacrificing overall image quality". F*** YOU! :lmao: Obviously nobody consulted an actually retoucher about the turn around times.

Funny thing is, I actually know the CEO of this company and she's one of the only executives I respect. But it sounds like the place is run by two sorority girls named "Alexis and Alexandra" :lol: www.gilt.com/company/ I wonder what these two have been smoking?

So for entertainment purposes only.... based on my years of experience working in fashion and retail, here's a dramatic re-enactment what a typical day working for Alexis and Alexandra is like (Susan if you read this, it's totally not a reflection on you :) :

9:00 am: Begin work, open job. Paperwork including instructions are missing. Look for images on the server, also missing.

9:30 am: Finally find the work files buried 15 folders deep and the folder has the wrong name.

11:00 am: Alexis and Alexandra arrive at the office via town car. They're both hung over and carrying Big Gulp sized cups from Starbuck's upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia… .  

11:01 am: Still wearing their sunglasses, Alexis and Alexandra make the first ridiculous work request of the day. Refusing to put down their cell phones, they provide you with vague and convoluted instructions. As they speak, you smell Clinique, cigarettes and vodka. You discreetly take a step back.

11:02 am: Open the job and discover everything Alexis and Alexandra told you was wrong. You inform them and they reply: "I don't understand, [insert name of the person who recently quit] never had a problem with this".

11:03 am: Sit down at desk, elbows on the desk and your face in your hands thinking "maybe I made a mistake taking this job". You look up and see Alexis and Alexandra still on their cells while they try on new shoes. Then Alexis knocks over her coffee and ruins Alexandra's shoes. You look up at heaven and smile.

11:15 am: Still wearing sunglasses, Alexis and Alexandra inform you they are leaving for lunch and will be gone for hours. They giggle as they leave the office and fall back into the town car. You secretly hope the driver is drunk. Look at the clock, look at the pile of work in front of you. Time for Advil.  

2:30 - 3:00 pm: Alexis and Alexandra roll back into the office. Now they smell like Mojitos and they're carrying 15 shopping bags.

3:01 pm: Alexis and Alexandra ask if you are finished. You tell them they didn't give you the proper instructions and there's no way to complete the job that quickly. They get snippy and say something like "this is why we have to do everything ourselves". They again attempt to explain the job only now the info. is Mojito filtered.

4:00 pm: Alexis and Alexandra announce they have to leave for the rest of the day "to attend a meeting" A.K.A. a manny - peddy. They'll check the job they absolutely needed hours ago.... tomorrow afternoon. They wobble out of the office shopping bags in tow.

4:01 pm: Close Photoshop, open Word. Update your resume.

4:30 pm: Search "retouching" on Jobster.com

4:35 pm: Just for shits and giggles, you Google search Alexis and Alexandra. Top results all contain the words "socialite", "party" and "sex tape". All images link back to Gawker.com.

4:36 pm: Take Alexis and Alexandra voodoo dolls out of your draw and repeatedly stab them in the eyes and crotch. Suddenly your headache vanishes.

5:00 pm. Take the work you didn't finish home to complete.

5:15 pm: Stop at bar for a drink. The woman sitting next to you is drinking a Mojito. The smell makes you gag. Put your elbows on the bar, your face in your hands and shake your head.

  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Nada
  • Reading: Your journal!
  • Watching: Nada
  • Playing: COD 5
  • Eating: Nada
  • Drinking: Diet Coke
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:iconwhiterabbitink:
WhiteRabbitInk Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2009   General Artist
Wow, 150 per day eh? Are these biblical days, or...?

Out of curiosity, what is your average retouch time?
Reply
:iconretoucher07030:
Retoucher07030 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My guess is they are working off the standard Gregorian calendar :lol:

My average retouch time? Really depends on what I'm working on. At Entertainment Weekly most images required color corrections and some minor retouching. If the image printed large, like non cover full page images or half page shots, it usually took 30 - 60 minutes. That includes creating masks for local color corrects and quick cloning or healing tool touch ups. Smaller non-critical images usually take 10 to 20 minutes. But critical images like magazine covers, editorial features, ads, etc... the time for a single image can range between usually 3 to 9 hours based on the subject and complexity. Close up head shots and full body shots generally take about 3 to 6 hours. Tabloid editorial images take between 4 to 6 hours. Photo compositions like I did for The Children's Place :thumb115097386: can take 2 to 3 days to complete between the initial retouch work and the revisions that follow.
Reply
:icondigitalserrano:
DigitalSerrano Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2009
Awesome! reminds me of the fashion week trenches at Getty.
Reply
:iconretoucher07030:
Retoucher07030 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Mainly based on my experience at Martha Stewart lol.
Reply
:iconcoreybyas:
CoreyByas Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2009  Professional General Artist
hmmm the tats kinda what I went through just last week. They wanted 72 images done ASAP, jumped to 80. So I said, ASAP I guess if I can have them done for tomorrow & she just didn't respond to that. so days later I get them to her another week and a half go by & now they want 6 more done. What happened to asap if they want more done...:confused: fun.....not!

This ended up being something I wondered even if I wanted my name to it.......I feel sorry for people that have to do retouch in a more in depth manner!!!!!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconretoucher07030:
Retoucher07030 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I use to be the guy who could never say no to anyone. But unfortunately it's become standard procedure for most businesses (and people) to simply take advantage of that. Welcome to the world of free markets where ethics no longer apply to life or business.

So after many years of being taken advantage of, I learned to just to stick to my guns and refuse outrageous requests. Which is really, really hard to do... especially in this economy. Sometimes rejecting schedules and demands will result in lost work and it could even result in losing your job. But once your identified as someone who will do everything they are told without question, people will keep testing you to see how much they can get away with. If you don't speak up, it gets out of hand very quickly.

You simply have to decide what type of stress you want to live with. Stress resulting from other people's choices, which you can't control. Or stress caused by the choices you make for yourself which you can control.
Reply
:iconskarpskyter:
Skarpskyter Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2009
Well, the companies name IS "GILT" after all... Probably should have been named "Lack of" in front to better express how they feel against making such idiotic deadlines.

Since I'm not a retoucher, I'll just have to take your word for it. :)
Reply
:iconretoucher07030:
Retoucher07030 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Give thanks that your not a retoucher :lol: !

Well... based on my last few experiences, this really has become the norm. My job at Martha Stewart was exactly like this. Unrealistic schedules and work loads plus two managers who behaved like my "fictional" Alexis and Alexandra. They'd drop 200 images on my desk at noon and tell me it was due at 2:00! Then they went out to lunch while I did the work. I was polite for 2 months before I finally put my foot down. And I actually did the "let's do the math" routine with one manager every time he handed me a job. :lmao:

So companies like Gilt don't want to hire people who will question or refuse their crazy schedules and work loads. They want people who don't know any better. Their mentality is "if we only hire one person instead of three, we can double our profits". They're not responsible business owners or managers, they're sociopaths. They take advantage of as many people as possible to make so they make more money. Capitalism at it's finest!
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