Standard Finishing
4Over

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Over 50 unemployed Prepress Tech, should I call it quits for printing?

Collapse
Canon
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Over 50 unemployed Prepress Tech, should I call it quits for printing?

    Hello all, I was laid off 6 months ago, I have been a prepress technician for most of my career. My company moved, restructured than laid myself, along with other long time employees off. I was with the company for 13 years, was paid well above scale for a prepress tech and that I believe is the main reason I got the boot. So much for loyalty! Anyways, after 6 months of looking and being turned down for people half my age, I'm thinking its time to give up on the printing industry, trying to figure what to transition into is the problem. (I'm 54 now). Disillusioned, confused and scared to say the least. Thx
    Last edited by photoshopdude; 01-08-2018, 09:32 PM.

  • #2
    WOW! Feel for you there, it´s not just you, a lot of people are in the same situation including me, at least until about two years ago, being over 50 is the new plague. luckily I have now found a job doing what I was doing 20 years ago, but hey! Beggers can´t be choosers. The slope you are on is slippery and can lead to depression and anxiety in a big way. My advice is to forget Prepress tech for a while and get something else, it took me 1700 sent out CV´s and 400 days to figure this out, from these 1700 CV´s I got four interviews, but only after I left my age out of the CV and Photoshoped my picture. All the other contacts died after the age question cropped up. So I don´t know how flexible you are but I left the country I was living in and moved to a tiny island in the med for a job scrolling a mouse wheel as a E-bay moderator, I did that for two years before finding this job. Don´t let yourself get to the point where you can no longer function normally, get anything that goes to keep you from going insane and wait and look and bide your time. A good prepress Tech will bounce back.

    Comment


    • #3
      One ex colleague same age was in your place, finally ( after 2 years...) found a job in a label factory and recently found a good paid one in a similar company.
      I'm 45 and my age is out of my cv years ago, even though those who consider it significant will ask you before and turn you/us down before we have a chance...
      There are certain jobs that demand experience apart from skills and i think if you're lucky to find one usually are better paid than average ones!

      Comment


      • #4
        Photoshopdude....have you considered selling digital printing equipment and software? I did prepress and some design for about 13 years in commercial print shops before going into sales. It was a HUGE change for me...something I never considered. But I had alot of experience helping with the bindery and digital presses, we also did mailing where I worked, so it made me very knowledgeable when speaking with other printers looking for equipment and software. Companies like Konica Minolta are always looking for experts like you to support the rest of the sales reps. We also have another position for experts like you who may not want to do direct sales...we have a position called a "Production Solutions Consultant" who trains customers after receiving the equipment, helps to setup efficient workflows, show customers how to use imposition and mailing software, etc.
        A Konica Minolta production print specialist and former pre-press specialist.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jwheeler View Post
          Photoshopdude....have you considered selling digital printing equipment and software? I did prepress and some design for about 13 years in commercial print shops before going into sales. It was a HUGE change for me...something I never considered. But I had alot of experience helping with the bindery and digital presses, we also did mailing where I worked, so it made me very knowledgeable when speaking with other printers looking for equipment and software. Companies like Konica Minolta are always looking for experts like you to support the rest of the sales reps. We also have another position for experts like you who may not want to do direct sales...we have a position called a "Production Solutions Consultant" who trains customers after receiving the equipment, helps to setup efficient workflows, show customers how to use imposition and mailing software, etc.
          Are you being serious? These are the first companies that will can your ass as soon as you are over 45. It´s nice to imagine that your suggestions could be valid but as soon as it gets to the nitty-gritty bits, like insurances for over 5 million that no bank will back your for and that you need at least three well trained staff before companies like Konica etc. will even think about giving you a chance of a contract. And then you can only hope for zero hour contracts and only from one company, and don´t think that you can work for Agfa at the same time as Kodak. Also you have to pay for your own training and supplies and spares etc. Sorry, however I agree that there maybe a few pearls in a sea of shit and that exemptions prove the rule yadda, yadda, yadda but fact is that for most your suggestion is a a dead end.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't know if you did prepress for offset or digital. I made the transition to digital about 10 years ago and brought a lot of useful printing knowledge to my direct mail firm. It amazed me how my younger colleagues didn't know about printing basics like backup registration, imposition, grads, color spaces, typography, etc. This may work for you.

            Now 61, I've seen programs like Uluro run by coders take over much of the merged data jobs we print, but I still have my own niche for now. Prepress jobs seem very far and few between, so keep all your options open!

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you for the replies. I was a prepress tech for the offset side, Prinergy, Metrix ....etc. My specialty was as a retouching/color correction guy. I saw the handwriting on the wall the last couple years but felt I couldn’t walk away from a good paying job, now I’m paying the price for my bad decisions. I’ve spent a lifetime in the business and it was good while it lasted but nothing lasts forever.
              Last edited by photoshopdude; 01-10-2018, 07:50 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                PhotoshopDude,
                I would recommend putting together an electronic portfolio/slide show showing some intricate before and after retouching and color correction projects that you are proud of to embellish your resume, you can create a web friendly version and email it to potential employers.
                Gear up for a transition into retouching/color correction for packaging and start learning about flexo color correction requirements (min dots, eliminating contaminating colors, Flexo total ink limits., etc) and try to learn as much as you can about the big dog in packaging Esko's Automation technology.
                Packaging printers need color techs and although the color work may not be as challenging as publication/advertising projects there is always a need for cartons, labels, cans, bottles, etc.
                A packaging printer may give you a shot (even as a freelancer) because it is easier to teach the flexo basics to a Photoshop Dude than to teach a newbie how to create intricate layering, masking and (one of my favorites) spot color channel creation in Photoshop.
                You will be taking a cut in pay, but half of something is better than all of nothing....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by photoshopdude View Post
                  Thank you for the replies. I was a prepress tech for the offset side, Prinergy, Metrix ....etc. My specialty was as a retouching/color correction guy. I saw the handwriting on the wall the last couple years but felt I couldn’t walk away from a good paying job, now I’m paying the price for my bad decisions. I’ve spent a lifetime in the business and it was good while it lasted but nothing lasts forever.
                  I don´t think good or bad applies, regardless whichever way you decided the outcome would have been the same in the end. As you said the writing was on the wall for a long time, I always thought of it as a train coming towards me and I was unable to get off the tracks but I always had 100% trust in my abilities and skills and knew for a fact that nothing could touch me. Until I started to see programs and workflows that did what I did best with hardly any user intervention required. Great, I told myself somebody still needs to set the systems up. And that is where it broke down...! "What you are over 50? Sorry Mr. Slammer but we feel that you do not fit in with our young and dynamic team, I mean can you imagine yourself subordinate to a 25 year old fresh out of university?
                  "If the guy is competent, why not?"
                  "Fact is, we simply do not require that level of experience." Read, we do not want to pay for that level of experience.
                  "And apart from that we find that older people are off sick more and tend to be unflexible."
                  That actually was a talk I had with a company based in south Germany.
                  Thing is we are competing with advanced systems that no longer require people like you or me to be on call 25/7 which are used by younger people with just enough basic knowledge to work the system.
                  We have become obsolete.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    All too true
                    Last edited by photoshopdude; 01-11-2018, 08:55 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Open your own shop. Go digital.
                      People underestimate the front to back knowledge a good prepress person gleans from years of experience. We know the common problems from customers of all ability levels, we know how the presses operate technically and we know bindery operations because we've been dead center in the middle of the whole operation. Owners don't really appreciate that sometimes. Heck we even know how customer service people speak to customers...so we know how to do that better as well. Don't shortchange yourself and simply call yourself a prepress pro. Those of us who have sat in that chair are often more well-rounded in every aspect of the printing business than the managers that loom over us. It's not the end of the road, it's simply an intersection.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Trying finding a job when you are over 60!! I have spent 55 years in Prepress. Learned computers in '88 and ran departments for multimillion dollar operations. I sent out over 300 CVs when I was laid off in 2008 and the convention biz took a 50% drop in sales.
                        I have actually had the owner of a company in Florida (after I was hired by the VP) tell me I was too old to sit for 8 hours 15 years ago!!! I told him he was correct, I would have a hard time adjusting to 'only' 8 hours a day as I had been working 10-16 hours a day for the past 15 years and NEVER in my Printing career worked an 8-5 shift!!
                        I got lucky 5 years ago and landed a job as a platemaker for a company that does a combo of offset & digital.
                        I was the only non-manager involved in a multi-million dollar expansion to add an inkjet web press.
                        Unfortunately we were bought out 3 years ago and the new, much larger owner s puting in all the 20-30 year old workers. They absolutely refuse to listen to my suggestions and use my experience even though I have kept up with the latest software solutions.
                        For instance, I know one of their existing vendors already has POC for an interactive website for client portals. Will they listen to my suggestions? Hell no!!! The "kid" running IT has talked upper management into spending over $1 million in a DIY solution that is 3 years overdue! BTW, my recommendation costs $100,000.
                        I am left with semi-retiring overseas and work online with my own consulting biz.
                        Sad state when decades of experience is just forgotten by the Industry in the name of "age"

                        Good luck all you co-"old-timers"!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I've been there and done that...twice, in 5 years. Seems no one was willing to invest in an over-45, female, mid-level designer with more than 20 yrs. offset and digital prepress and production experience, at least not for more than $15/hr. Folks loved my resume and my portfolio was solid, but even my barest minimum salary requirements that might cover transportation, much less pay any bills, even that number was too high for me to even be considered for a position. Finally I got an offer that wasn't perfect: part-time, for lower than average salary (but much better than the $15/hr. rate). But it turned out to be the best job I ever had and I was devastated when that gig ended due to budget cuts.

                          It was another 18 months before I was so desperate that I took one of those 15/hr. freelance gigs, and 5 yrs. later, at 51, I'm into my second year at a full-time job that I love with a different company, at reasonable pay and amazing benefits. But geez, what a depressing, frustrating, ugly struggle it was.

                          Here's the thing: I had to find needs in the new place I worked, then fill in the holes in my own knowledge of current software and processes in order to fill those needs. I ended up researching and becoming the "expert" leading the company into online proofing software. Then I researched volume production techniques and implemented data merge processes, cutting production time by 30%. Then I discovered scripting and researched that and worked up some funky Acrobat JavaScript Actions that were far from perfect, but automated a couple of basic tasks we had been doing manually. And I did most of that at $15-$18/hr. The agency I was freelancing with had a client who was impressed with the outcomes of these couple of things I worked on. It was a bit of a circuitous path, but they took me on in-house. Now our photo library is a disastrous mess but no one has the time, energy or inclination to do anything about it, but I called out the need and did a lot of research and self-education and have taken on the charge to implement a DAM system.

                          There's a lot of new technology out there and lots of things to learn that can be applied to jobs that are out there but might not seem worth it on the surface. It's a ton of work and not for the feint of heart, but essential for those of us fighting obsolescence. And it is a fight.

                          Big things that are out there that could be avenues to something: Automation and scripting, especially in production and pre-press, both digital and offset. DAM technology and processes. Online proofing systems. Workflow optimization. Anything else that you love or even something new that you are interested in learning about, can serve as springboards to something that's out there that you don't even know about. Also a willingness to venture into the less-than-perfect not knowing what it might lead to.



                          P.S. Medication and/or therapy can temporarily help with the depression, frustration, and humiliation that are almost unavoidable in this situation. It can at least keep those things at bay long enough for some motivation and optimism to seep through to the surface and keep you moving forward. I couldn't have done anything without it.
                          Last edited by lenasal; 01-11-2018, 02:26 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NeildawgNCP View Post
                            Open your own shop. Go digital.
                            People underestimate the front to back knowledge a good prepress person gleans from years of experience. We know the common problems from customers of all ability levels, we know how the presses operate technically and we know bindery operations because we've been dead center in the middle of the whole operation. Owners don't really appreciate that sometimes. Heck we even know how customer service people speak to customers...so we know how to do that better as well. Don't shortchange yourself and simply call yourself a prepress pro. Those of us who have sat in that chair are often more well-rounded in every aspect of the printing business than the managers that loom over us. It's not the end of the road, it's simply an intersection.
                            You are right about that. I have thought about opening a business but simply don't know the first thing of how to do it or where to get funds for that. I have a small startup online where I design and sell banners on my website and etsy (alterimagebanners.com) but I just started and it doesn't sell enough yet. We do as prepress techs have great knowledge, but the age factor is a problem, and the prepress role has been in decline as the industry moves toward digital. If you can code variable data that helps, the shop where I was at had a young girl doing that for probably half my salary. I started out as a film contactor, than a cameraman, than a crosfiled drum scanner operator , than a Scitex Prismax operator (those were the days), than I adapted and learned photoshop which I love, than as the retouching/color correction went away I became the platemaker which was the nail in the coffin for me. Why would a company want to pay me good money to press a button, collect plates, roll them out to the press room. the new ownership figured that out real fast and gave me the boot asap.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by flphotog View Post
                              Trying finding a job when you are over 60!! I have spent 55 years in Prepress. Learned computers in '88 and ran departments for multimillion dollar operations. I sent out over 300 CVs when I was laid off in 2008 and the convention biz took a 50% drop in sales.
                              I have actually had the owner of a company in Florida (after I was hired by the VP) tell me I was too old to sit for 8 hours 15 years ago!!! I told him he was correct, I would have a hard time adjusting to 'only' 8 hours a day as I had been working 10-16 hours a day for the past 15 years and NEVER in my Printing career worked an 8-5 shift!!
                              I got lucky 5 years ago and landed a job as a platemaker for a company that does a combo of offset & digital.
                              I was the only non-manager involved in a multi-million dollar expansion to add an inkjet web press.
                              Unfortunately we were bought out 3 years ago and the new, much larger owner s puting in all the 20-30 year old workers. They absolutely refuse to listen to my suggestions and use my experience even though I have kept up with the latest software solutions.
                              For instance, I know one of their existing vendors already has POC for an interactive website for client portals. Will they listen to my suggestions? Hell no!!! The "kid" running IT has talked upper management into spending over $1 million in a DIY solution that is 3 years overdue! BTW, my recommendation costs $100,000.
                              I am left with semi-retiring overseas and work online with my own consulting biz.
                              Sad state when decades of experience is just forgotten by the Industry in the name of "age"

                              Good luck all you co-"old-timers"!
                              I hear you my friend and my heart goes out to you and any of us going through this but that is our reality.

                              Comment

                              4OverStandard FinishingDuploSmartsoft (Presswise)AleyantCanonKBA
                              GTI4OverStandard FinishingDuploAleyantCanon

                              What's Going On

                              Collapse

                              There are currently 4534 users online. 109 members and 4425 guests.

                              Most users ever online was 6,597 at 10:25 AM on 04-20-2018.

                              Working...
                              X