I recently made a big move in my career path when presented with an opportunity in e-commerce. It was uncomfortable from day one and in the end it didn't work both because the group was being micromanaged, and because there was no collective vision. Without getting into the details, I really tried to find my place within the group because I actually liked them individually and I knew I could be part of a positive rebirth of the site. Unfortunately 3 months into it it became clear that it was not meant to be. I did learn plenty:
One of the main lessons was that I can still work as part of a team. I actually enjoyed the talks and the little brainstorm sessions I was able to have. I also learned that I need space to be a designer, to create and do my craft, I cannot function under directions without reason, concept or knowledge behind them. Yes, very snobby of me. I guess I've been so blessed to have had opportunities in which the people I work with let me do what I come to do, they respect what I bring to the equation the same way I hope I show them I respect them.
Having a "thing" to believe in, something to keep you going, a reason, is also important. I just couldn't get behind the concept, as much as I tried. Maybe because there was never one...
Which brings me to my design "chi". I was always able to flow in college under a new task, EXCEPT for the historic last year when I was free to choose the projects I wanted to work on, my professor told me "choose something that has to do with your passion." Damn that word! I'm still looking for it. So I try to concentrate on what I am NOW. A designer always, a fixer, a lover of beautiful things and well designed stuff. Always on the lookout for an opportunity to do what I do for good, that is what makes me shine. And to me, that doesn't have to be the big job at an agency (never was), it is things like creating an identity within a community, giving a face to people that do awesome stuff, people like the band Quarter Pound Jones from my town of Denville, NJ. A band that not only rocks but always has an eye for an opportunity to help others, playing for fundraisers for the people of the town they love.
So I had to risk the comfortable space I was in, to go and test the waters and realize I was were I needed to be. Luckily, I was able to return home and I brought with me a bag full of new plans and the knowledge that I might need to stop "looking" to "see" that I need to be here NOW, present and relax on the search for that passion so I can be relieved on what IS.
My design CHI today was brought to me by the awesome dudes from Quarter Pound Jones that trusted me with their band's logo. I don't know about you but I'm happy getting some legit Rocking street cred. Check the guys out!