Monday, November 24, 2014

Lessons Following Graduation

Many years ago when I had graduated from school I thought that I was at the top of my game. I had graduated with honors with multiple certifications in various fields of design, and was the envy of many of my classmates. I felt that someone of my skillset would have no trouble competing within one of the most competitive arenas for design, the Bay Area. Much like New York, Los Angeles, or Seattle the Bay Area is one of the top; if not a close second to New York; as the design “capital” within America.
As I set about trying to find my place within this competitive design world I went about this business in the usual method of using multiple recruiting agencies, applying to local design firms, sending out my resume, and generally networking through my various avenues. As I watched various design firms around the Bay Area snatch some of my equally talented peers, I worked furiously to establish the same footing within a field that only a few months earlier I had been lauded.
I had established various private clientele, but the work was sporadic and I was struggling to establish new customers while continuing my job search and practicing my chosen field. It wasn’t until several months following graduation that I was able to secure my first position within an established company and continue following my dream within the world of design.
So what changed within my circumstances to bring about this shift? Well, there were several things going on at the time that I was unbeknownst blinded. Number One: Ego.  Ken Adams once said, “To be successful, you really have to put your ego in the background and try to be diplomatic to achieve what you want to achieve”. Truer words have never been spoken.
The second lesson I learned from this experience, aligning again with my ego, was thinking that I was at the top of my game following graduation and that I had learned everything practical within my profession. Oh, was I so incredibly WRONG about this. Creative thinking - in terms of idea creativity - is not a mystical talent. It is a skill that can be practiced and nurtured. It is through this practice that we draw closer to this our ideal. In my career, I have learned that there is no goal within this lifelong learning process; it is simply progression within my field, which is continuously honed. It was only through this learning process that I was able to understand that my skillset was not a destination but more of a journey, and the experiences gained from this journey.
The final lesson that I have learned from this experience following graduation is patience, or an understanding and that the rest of the world is not running according to my schedule. Yes, there are those designers out there who it appears like everything seems to drop into their lap, but for the rest of us this is simply not a reality. An understanding that work within the design field is completely subjective will carry you a long way within your profession. No matter how great you feel that your work may be, there will always be someone (possibly a hiring manager, creative director, etc.) who feels that somebody else’s work is more appropriate than yours; regardless of quality. This is the reality of the world in which we live. As a bolster to your ego, someone once said, “there is no accounting for taste”.
So with this said, understand that when coming out of school, regardless of your skill level you are still, from outside appearances, a newbie within the field, so checking your ego at the door and remaining humble will carry you a long way. Finally, an understanding that you skills will change as you progress through your chosen field will serve you greatly in understanding your own advantages/disadvantages as you progress through the professional world of design. #voziestudios, #vorzie, #designfollowinggraduation,