An abstract drawing of clouds and rain by my five-year-old son
An abstract drawing of clouds and rain by my five-year-old son
Image by my 5-year-old son. Open to interpretation.

Recently I’ve been battling depression. Like millions of others, I lost my job at the end of March due to negative affects of COVID-19 and my search for a new one hasn’t been fruitful. I started off pretty optimistic, but as time dragged on with not much to show for my efforts, that optimism waned and was slowly replaced by negativity and fear.

When I didn’t get snatched up quickly, I began to think I must not be any good. That’s when the depression started to creep in. I didn’t want to admit how much of my identity is wrapped up in my career; I don’t think I realized it. But as my career path suddenly became unclear, I started to doubt not just my value as a designer, but my self-worth. …

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Don’t get me wrong. I knew full well the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic we’re all navigating right now. I tracked numbers. …

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Recently I’ve been on the hunt for the next adventure in my career. A handful of times throughout my search I’ve received email responses to job applications, similar to the following:

Dear Alexander,

Thank you for your interest in [Unnamed Company] and congratulations on making it to the next step in our hiring process! Having reviewed your career history, we are pleased to extend you an invitation to complete our two pre-employment assessments: a cognitive assessment and a personality assessment.


First, the term “pre-employment” is being used pretty loosely here. This is the first communication I’m receiving from the company. So yes, technically this is pre-employment, but a better term would be “pre-interview”. And while I doubt this language is meant to be deceiving, it does kinda make it sound like I’m further along in the process than I really am. …


Alex MacDuff

Designer person living in beautiful Austin, Texas.

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