Hi guys So a bit of background. I gained a first in BA graphic design. Worked in house as the only designer fresh out of uni at a large chain of office supply companies for a year and was very well commended. There was a lot of repetition and the companies were in turmoil with poor sales managers, directors etc, my bread and butter work was small email graphics, and presentations. However I got the oppurtunity to aid a rebrand, various editorials, and a full website design (even though I had next to no knowledge of web design). I was bossed around and given poor briefs (or was a bit inexperienced at handling a briefing from non designers) quite a bit, however in the end i managed to build confidence and a reputation as the "expert" for the artwork, so in the end I had real ownership and could squash silly amends that derailed projects. But i felt i needed some assiatance and training on artworking, web design, larger projects etc that my own keen initiative and reading books/youtube couldnt provide. Now 2 years on (so i have 3 years experience now) i have been at a growing agency. There is a big team of seniors, project coordinators, and directors and only one other person at my level in the company. I thought this would be good. My artworking and print skills have improved quite a lot during the first two montha but now 10 months on are quite stagnant. Im feeling immensely frustrated about my chosen career path at this point. The job at the agency is very high pressure, quick turnover, i never know if i can plan anything in the evenings yet the utmost quality and artworking is expected even on tiny 1 hour jobs. I find the way of working and treadmill of scheduled work (30 mins for this, then 1 hour for that, 2 hours for the next etc) to kill creativity, accuracy and also not allow any room for technical errors or unforeseen issues. Add to this the work - it is exceedingly dull and dry for clients with quite outdated ideas. The project coordinators dont seem to fight to keep good design, and keep the goals of the project in mind (make the logo bigger, so bigger that the underlying marketing message is not conveyed , as a hilarious example) we then send this work back. Get told it looks rubbish (of course it will do when we take on board silly comments) by the client and then have to do it again, normally after work hours or in a hurry. This basically seems to happen all thr time. Also they hired me as a graphic designer, but the vast majority of my work is tracing supplied files, relaying bodies of text in booklets with predetermined styles, working in powerpoint with supplied messy decks to tidy them and chuck in icons (PPTs comprise of 70% of my work). Whenever i do get a vaguely creative project 9 times out of ten it will be "re thought" and essentially redesigned after i have done it by the project coordinators and non-designer senior management team. Even minor items like simple booklets. Most of the time the senior designers dont agree with this and turn around to tell me they thought my design worked, while then in the next breathe submitting to the comments of the Project coordinators. Ive also noticed that the senior designer could suggest one thing, if i suggested it it would be shot down. Even when i mimic his delivery of this message. Just because its coming from me. The other junior seems to experience all of this aswell. So not juat me neccessarily. Its gotten to the point where i expect this now and just end up as a default asking what my senior designer collegue thinks of the designs ive done at every stage of the game. No independence. Ive never had a long range project here. Never worked on packaging, i havent learnt anything on webdesign or ux despite saying for 2 years (and them claiming to put a training plan in place to facilitate this), I have virtually nothing for my portfolio that any other place is gonna care about apart from small things like tiny illustrations... the odd brochure. I had way more at my first job! I left my in house job as i thought i would get MORE ownership and less ruining of artwork from non-designers, but now i actually get more because of the hierarchy of different people who all desire an opinion. Im starting to get quite mad, im completely disengaged at this point in my work and i just dont care anymore. The project coordinators are all very young and less experienced than me even, i dont tell them how to do their jobs, but they tell us designers. Theres no quality to my outputs anymore. I dread going to work every single day but its hard to wonder if perhaps uni set me with too high expectations. I have been keeping an eye on the freelancers who pop in and even notice them talking about derailed projects. So i guess i have some questions below that i need help with. It seems i really like to own a project, and i do understand you are probably gonna lose many projects, most in fact hardly any will win awards, and yes as a junior you have to work to the top and maybe do the gruelling tasks. But i have three years experience now. I am goibg to look for a new job but this has me questioning my actual career choice. Shouldnt it be better than this? Should i have more ownership of tasks at this company now? My salary also hasnt gone up since being there even incrementally. I am struggling to live on my wage and when i look even at mid weight jobs it seems to be hardly much more than i am on now. Is it always like this being a designer? Is every agency like this or is in house better? Is freelancing better? Have you guys been though this? How did you cope? I didnt enjoy either of my jobs, but looking at it now my first job seemed more suitable and happier. Is there light at the end of the tunnel or as a designer am i destined to just keep being told the same repetitive stuff on a salary that doesnt even sustain me to live independently?