The good people over at Aquent wanted me to let you all know (well, they wanted to make sure I knew) that there aren't any freezes on their hiring now. I didn't want to confuse anybody with my last post, but when I said when I was last between positions, that was three and a half years ago. In the design business, that could be eons. Yes, it changes that quick.
At the time that was in the middle of the current downturn for my industry in the Cleveland Market. Getting interviews was pretty tough, salaries were dropping like apples on Newton's head. Fortunately I have the resume and skills that are killer (or at least I like to think that). Also fortunately for me, I was not only able to find work in my field in the space of a month and a half, the job paid better and required less. Not less work (good gracious no), but less "Is PMS177 the right yellow for this client, or maybe PMS170" less work. The work I do now is more technical in nature, and more production oriented. And I am nothing if not a production wonk (many young designers could do with a good production class, IMHO).
The job also leaves my mind free for writing and freelance design work in the after hours (you know, if I wasn't doing all this Village work). That was a major concern. At the last job I would come home, step out of the car, and feel like my head was going to spin off. I think that was a symptom of high blood pressure, although whenever I was tested I was rock steady (always has been, go me). At the end of the week I felt (creatively) like a wrung out sponge, and I would recharge just in time to go back to work.
I should say that Aquent has been very good for my industry, at least from the worker side. Design, especially now, is a cut throat business. It is staffed with "true believers" and people who can't imagine another way of living (yeah, it's that serious, take a good designer to a place that only has bad design in the environment and watch them go nuts!). Aquent did the first major salary study (that I remember, other magazines came along after). They also helped in redefining the titles and roles we all play. To say the design organizational structure has flattened is an understatement (although, I see it moving back to more layers, or maybe designers just forgetting that they also need to be Production Artists and leaving it up to the printers). Aquent, through their publications, gave us some guide posts and standardization (not all places learned, I was a Sr. Designer in my previous three positions, which seriously undervalued all the extras I was doing).
So in conclusion, if you're in the creative field (commercial writing, design, photography, web design, marketing, etc), you should check them out.