On My Mind: Taking Risks
For a long time, I’ve felt like I’m in a bit of a work rut. What started as a really exciting and fulfilling position, has turned into an insane workload, less creativity, more production work, and constant last-minute band-aid fixes instead of solving the root of the problems. In a word-the corporate man has got me down. It’s frustrating, it’s draining, and it’s incredibly discouraging. Worst of all. I know I’m not doing my best work. It’s not for lack of trying. Most of the strong, exciting ideas that I/we have pitched to the business have come back either with a flat-out “no” or worse, the subjective “I don’t like that color”. Any more we don’t even get a chance to present a concept, they just art direct from the start. I have become a puppet.
But it’s not all bad. Actually there have been quite a few perks that deserve to be mentioned. For starters the creative team is awesome. They are laid back, friendly people who work hard and play hard. I have the freedom to work from home one day a week and can pretty much set my own hours. I’m that crazy early bird that shows up at 7-7:30 and leaves by 4pm because the idea of having to take the train through rush hour makes my blood boil. So there are some perks, but one thing i just can’t compromise on is my work ethic. I need to continually be doing the best work I can, creating great experiences for customers and solving actual business problems.
Ever since the Creative Freelancer Conference and Moxiecon, I’ve realized that I’ve been settling because it’s comfortable. Part of the reason why I relaunched my website was that I wanted to attract new clients, and maybe start compiling enough personal work that would make me eligible for an agency job.
Well, I got what I wished for. An agency hiring manager contacted me a day ago and wanted to know if I’m interested in a 3 month design position. After answering more questions, I decided to go for an interview yesterday. I had my interview and during our discussion I realized that I really don’t have much experience in what they do and I think she knew it too, but I think I expressed myself in a way that I’m actively trying to learn and am interested in learning. After I walked back to my work, I started getting anxiety.The idea of taking such a big risk was getting to me. I thought to myself.. is this really what I want? Am I just trading one evil for another? What if I can’t keep up with the work load or I can’t give them good work. Is it REALLY that bad here that I would leave stability and comfort? YES!
It’s gotten so stressful at work, that I just have this giant urge to get up and walk out. I need a break. What I really want is to take a month off and recharge my brain. I called Jeremy and told him about all this madness going on in my head and he proposed a plan to work another 3 months (either where I am now or at the new job) and then take a mental health break. He reasoned that we’re not living paycheck to paycheck anymore and if we cook at home more, we’ll be fine if I don’t work for a month.
It was an incredible relief that he was behind me on this, and I just needed to hear it. In my head I know that I have to take that job if it’s offered because it will not only serve as a chance for new growth, but it will open more doors to other agencies down the road.
My advice to myself and to you is: don’t settle for comfortable, take strategic risks and your life will be more exciting and fulfilling.