Monday, January 28, 2013

All you will gain

This week marks several new and exciting developments.

1. I've handed in my notice and as of the end of February will officially be available as a full-time Freelance Graphic Designer.

2. I'm now currently studying psychology part-time through the Open University.

There's a comfort in having a routine, even if it's one which leaves you dissatisfied or unfulfilled. 'Better the Devil you know...' and that sort of thing. Hugh MacLeod over at GapingVoid published a great cartoon about this. I'll wait while you go have a look-see...

Back? Brilliant.

So, it's all very well and good doing the same things over and over because:
1. That's the way the world works
2. We all have to take responsibility and work isn't/shouldn't be/can't be fun
3. If you're good at something you should persist, even if you don't enjoy it
4. We all have to make do
...and so on.

I think it's all a bit pants.

2013 marks my tenth year since graduating high school. In those ten years I've worked in the not-for-profit and charity sector almost exclusively, with a few tangents into retail, restaurants and, gloriously, being an animator.

I assessed the many roles I've had and my favourite bits of any of the jobs I've done. I've got a strong work ethic, excellent organisational skills and an abundance of enthusiasm - all skills that have helped me immensely in any job I've done.

It's my love of the undiscovered that has always produced my best work. I love figuring something out, finding solutions and creating something that works. For this reason I set up a not-for-profit organisation to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans youth find sustainable safe spaces. Once it was established and it reached the point of general operation, I was ready to move on.

So it was with my work at Pancreatic Cancer UK, a two and a half week temp job that turned into a two and a half year permanent position involving project management, staff training, system development, marketing and design. There was so much to do to make it work and I was able to tackle multiple problems and develop successful, long lasting solutions. Once that was done though it became day-to-day maintenance and I was, once again, looking for my next opportunity.

I don't think it's ever too late to retrain, although I don't actually feel like that's what I'm doing. I feel more like I'm shifting my focus from one skill to another. I'm taking all my passion, enthusiasm and imagination that has helped me successfully develop websites, write policies and procedures, or set up data entry systems, and looking at it from the perspective of Designer, instead of Administrator.

The brilliant thing about graphic design is that every project is a new problem that has to be solved. How to brand a company that works with inner city youth? How to brand a product that is being marketed to 30-somethings? How to make a logo that clearly conveys a professional but fun organisation?

I love it, entirely, because every day is different and every day my skills are becoming more and more refined. I am not stagnating and I'm not bored - two states I simply cannot tolerate. Instead I'm switching tracks, changing directions, and starting to build momentum. I've no idea where it might take me but I can and do think of all the possibilities and that is what makes it worth it.

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