The Last Day

Inevitably, the last day at my job has come.

The day was kind of a somber one; those of us that were left have kind of been going through the motions for the last few weeks. Some of my coworkers are staying through the end of the month, so at most an additional two days of work. It would be interesting to see how that would be, as many of us have already left.

I held up pretty well though, all things considering, and I tried to push it to the back of mind as much as possible. It’s hard to accept that I will never see some of them again, as we are all splitting up and moving across the country. Those I’ve grown closest to I truly hope to keep in contact with and see often.

I was able to speak to my department manager on the phone today, as she is located in Arizona. It was refreshing to get to talk things through a little, and she was thankful for everything my team and I have done for the company. She’ll be staying on in a new role, as the Production Design Team in its current format will be no longer. I’m honestly so thankful for the experience I’ve had at this job, and I do know that I am truly in a much better position than when I started.

As far as the job hunt goes, I have applied for my first few jobs yesterday. Still working on finalizing my cover letter and applying for jobs that require that as well. I will be speaking with a job placement assistance company my employer offered for us as part of our severance package. I’m hopeful that their guidance will be useful, and I’m excited to hear any feedback from what I’ve been doing so far.

On another note, I enjoyed the process of designing my portfolio website so much, that I have created another one to replace this blog! I’ll still be posting on here, so those of you that have been following for the past few years will still get to see what I’ve been up to. I’m still working through the kinks on the other site, so it’s pretty basic at the moment but I am hoping to expand it into showcasing my stationery and wedding suite designs and offer them for purchase.Β Check it out here! Let me know what you think!

I’ll be checking in more often during the next few weeks, as my job hunt commences. I have a list of things that I would really like to focus on during this time, so it can be a productive and positive period in my life instead of a wasted one. We’ll see how it goes!

The Last Month

Oh, hey.

It’s been just about three years since my last post. I’ve definitely let things here slide by unattended, and have focused more on the mundane day-by-day instead of overall goals. I’ve been working with the same company I mentioned previously, and it’s honestly been pretty great overall. I’ve made some amazing friendships and have had a lot of fun being a part of such an amazing, close-knit team.

As a bonus, I have learned a lot about my craft, further refining my skills and regaining confidence in the field of design. I’ve taken on a ton of extra responsibilities within my department, and have been trained in on a handful of specialized teams. All of this was done with the intention of moving up within the company, and learning as much as I could during my time here.

Unfortunately, my time here is close to an end.

One month from today, July 28, will be my last day. There has been a company restructuring, and the executive staff has decided that my entire department will be no longer needed. This is eliminating jobs for over 100 people in my department alone. Yup. Ouch.

We found out back in February, and none of us saw it coming. I’ve experienced such a range of emotions since then, and everyone has dealt with it differently. In a way, it’s nice that it’s happening to all of us instead of just a few, since it’s much easier for us to relate to one another. It’s brought us all together, and unified us as a team more than ever before, but it’s also bittersweet since we all know it will soon come to an end.

For me, during the first two months, I think I cycled through the stages of grief at least a dozen times. I then sunk into a weird, emotionless void, where I knew a huge change was coming but I didn’t want to think about it, so I did my best to just ignore it and try to live in the present. (Admittedly, I didn’t always succeed.) The past few months I’ve spent building up my portfolio and preparing for the imminent job hunt. I finally finished my updated portfolio website earlier this week, and am hopeful that it will be of use in landing another graphic position.

I’ve really been trying to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. Funnily enough, looking back on my blog posts here has helped. I was going through a lot of the same things three years ago as I am now, and it’s been nice to reflect back on those hopeful feelings. It’s definitely a similar cycle, and although this time it wasn’t as much on my terms, it’s still very much the same. I do have hope that this unexpected change will lead to better things, but I will confess that I am terrified that I will be taking a step backwards.

I guess all I can do in the meantime is just try to be positive and keep my head up. I have learned so much during my time here, so I am in a much better position than I was three years ago. And in all honesty, this could be a really good time for a change of pace, and a great opportunity to see some new faces and have new experiences. My life has become a bit stale as of late, so this could very well be the kick in the ass I needed to take a step forward into a new, brighter future.

I will do my best to post updates when I can, and I’ll try to keep you all in the loop. I’ll also be posting a few of the projects I’ve worked on over the past few years, and maybe even get that Pinterest Find of the Week up and going again (although probably not weekly as before).

I’ll end with a quote from my “Firsts & Lasts” post:
This time last year, I was in the exact same place as I was this year.
This time next year, essentially everything has the potential to be different.

Fingers crossed it will be for the best! πŸ™‚

One Week

So.
My first official week at my new job has been completed.
Overall, I think it went pretty well, which is a huge relief.

The training process was incredibly thorough, so there was a lot of information thrown at us in a relatively short period of time. Including myself, there were ten new hires for the Production Design Team, and everyone seems to get along great. There hasn’t been a large amount of time for mingling and really getting to know each other, but I do like everyone so far. I think we’ll be an incredibly strong team once we all get the hang of things.

The position seems to involve a lot more customer contact than I was expecting, but we’ve been given a lovely little booklet of phone scripts to work through for a variety of possible concerns. We haven’t had too much practice with that yet, but I think once there is actual back-and-forth dialogue with the customers, things should (hopefully) flow naturally. I have always been the kind of person to hate being on the phone, so I think this may provide my biggest challenge with the position. As much as I will probably dread making the first few calls, I am glad to get the experience and hopefully get over that phone-hatred that I’ve always had.

We’ve been told that this week is going to involve a lot of shadowing and one-on-one time with specific evaluators we’ve been assigned to. I’m thankful that my assigned evaluator is actually located in the building, as some of us will have to work with evaluators from satellite locations.

I’m anxious to see how this week will go, and I have a feeling we’re going to be thrust pretty quickly into doing things on our own. Since college, I honestly don’t think my brain has had to work this hard to actually learn and remember things. I understand most of the bits and pieces so far, but it’s just a matter of putting everything together in the expected process. That might be a bit tough, so we’ll have to see how that all goes. I’m just trying to keep my head up and stay positive, and not get too overwhelmed. We’re all in the same boat, and it’s to be expected.

It’s really incredible to think about how much has changed in one short week. I already feel like leaving my old job happened a really long time ago, which I find kind of funny. I spent so much of my life there, and I’m already barely looking back. I think that just goes to show that this was really a good change for me, and it truly was long overdue. This year really seems to be about forward progress, and I think a lot of that comes down to my mindset. It’s amazing what we can accomplish if we refuse to get caught up in the shitty parts of life and give up. I really hope that good things will start falling into place, as long as I keep myself open to it and take some chances.

I’ll be sure to keep updating on the new job, and once things settle down a bit and cash flow gets going again, I’m hopeful to start focusing a little more on designing and selling through Ruby July.

Hopefully this week goes as well as the last! I’ll post again soon! πŸ™‚

Firsts & Lasts

Throughout the course of our lives, we all experience a large variety of ‘firsts and lasts’. With these ‘firsts’, we begin new and sometimes incredibly exciting adventures. With these ‘lasts’, we end these adventures and close these stories.

Without these ‘lasts’, we cannot begin another ‘first’.

I think this simple fact brings upon the biggest challenges all of us have to face in life. There is a drastic change brought on by every closing of one story and the beginning of a new one. It’s amazing to me sometimes, how one singular choice has the potential to radically change the course of your entire life.

Over the past two weeks, I have experienced a large amount of ‘lasts’. Having been in a stable, steady job for the past five years, my life had admittedly become quite routine and rather uneventful. Very few things changed, and opportunities for personal and career growth were few and far in between. After receiving and accepting the Production Design position I mentioned in my previous post, I have had to quickly close down any residual storylines from my previous job and in some sense, my previous life. I have had to say good-bye to some really amazing friends (most of whom I hope to keep in contact with!), and I have had to say good-bye to every tiny part of the routine of which I had become so accustomed. Even something as minute as turning left instead of the right turn I’ll be taking from now on, or setting my alarm to 5:55 instead of the new 6:15, all of these things are now in my past.

Beginning tomorrow, a new chapter of my life is starting to be written, and it is scary as hell.

I keep reminding myself, though, that without these risks and bold choices, I would potentially be blocking out anything new and wonderful from occurring. I feel like most of my options were worn out at my previous job, and with the new job, there is so much untapped potential. It is terrifying, but at the same time it is truly amazing. I’m really trying to go into it with a positive and hopeful mindset, which is overall quite different from the way I have reacted towards drastic changes in my past. I am hopeful that this decision could help bring me closer to some of the best days of my life. I will make new friends, try new things, and get the fresh start that I have needed, but been afraid of, for so long. This fresh start is very much overdue, and even though I am hesitant and honestly still scared, I am excited.

This time last year, I was in the exact same place as I was this year.
This time next year, essentially everything has the potential to be different.

If any of you feel like there are things in your lives that are stale or old, make a single bold choice, and see where it could lead. Routine will continue to be routine, until we take the power to change it and mix it up. If there is something you’ve always wanted to try, or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, do what it takes to get there. All it takes is one choice to change your entire life.

So, here’s to new chapters, new stories, and a whole bunch of new ‘firsts’.
Here we go! πŸ˜€

Radio Silence

Like radio silence, even when there is very little information being tossed around, things are always moving and silently progressing.

It’s obviously been awhile since my last post, and there finally has been some forward progress made. I’ve been working hard in preparing an updated portfolio, chock full of Photoshop photo-correcting (yes, I actually can learn new things!) and Illustrator type-setting samples. I’ve been studying, practicing, printing, and keeping busy. All of this work has been produced in the hopes of being offered a Production Design position at a rather large and well-known company in the Twin Cities.

And I’ve been offered the position.

…yup.

I filled out the paperwork online tonight, and now have to figure out a way to tell my boss tomorrow that after five years at my current job, I have to move on. I don’t want to burn any bridges along the way, as (most of) the time I had spent there was pretty great. I’m also a little unsure of the long-term prospects of the new position, so I’m really hoping that if worst comes to worst, I’ll have something to fall back on.

This is definitely one of the biggest risks I have taken in my life. Since moving out to Minnesota, I haven’t had much to fall back on, so this could be super, super risky. Now it just comes down to me being able to prove my worth to the company and get hired on as a regular full-time staff member.

But really, what fun is life without a little risk? I think it’s time that I step outside of my little comfort zone and try something new. I just hope it pans out, and can lead to something really great. I guess we’ll have to see!

Honesty Hour!

I’ll just get this out of the way, first and foremost: I’ve been really sucky at maintaining this blog and at staying focused.

I’ve been too easily distracted, and once again have let myself get caught up in the muddle of routine. I know I say I’m trying to refocus and plan for the future, but I’ve done a shitty job at it as of late. So, now that’s out of the way, and we move forward. I’m completely in charge of what I do with my life, and where I end up, so it’s time to take control of that and actually do something. So here we go (again!).

The day job has been alright lately, besides the regular hiccups that you would come across anywhere. It’s still not that satisfying or where I want to be, so it’s up to me to change the routine. I’ve been working in a different area of the department, which has actually been great. I’ve been working a little more closely with someone who has his own photography studio, so he’s been really fantastic to bounce ideas off of every now and then. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, who actually has relevant advice and similar interests.

Another coworker recently decided to start his own photography studio as well, and asked me to design a logo for him. He had some pretty well-defined ideas to start with, and it was a real pleasure for me to work on something that will actually be used. I ended up with three complete and different ideas, and he ended up choosing one that had a good blend of both his initial vision, as well as a bit of my clean design style. For your viewing pleasure, here’s his final choice:

It was a relatively quick and easy project, and I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. It’ll be really fun to see him use it for his business once it gets going and turns into something. And it’s good practice for me, so I can’t complain! πŸ˜€ I’ll be sure to link to his website and work, as it becomes available.

As for me, I’ve been spending some time working on calligraphy. I bought some books, which have both been fantastic resources for hand-lettering tips and advice. If you’re interested, check out Modern Calligraphy, by Molly Suber Thorpe, and Creative Lettering, by Jenny Doh. I’ve always had an interest in hand-lettering, and I think it would be a fun skill to really master and utilize in my future career. I think back to when I was a kid, and made my mom buy me so many gel pens and hand-lettering books, and I just sat and played around with them. Even when going into certain stores, I would always make a beeline to the writing aisle. I think it’s kind of funny when I look back at things like that, and realize how much of an impact design and creativity have actually always had on my life. It’s what I’m meant to do! πŸ˜€

I’m going to make an honest effort to squeeze in at least a little bit of time for Ruby July every week. Whether it’s a blog update or just working through ideas in the sketchbook, it’s about time I actually get back in gear and do it. Wish me luck! πŸ™‚

The Fine Art of Being Rejected & Other Non-Sensical Mumblings

So guys, rejection sucks.

But obviously, that’s not really news to anyone. Here’s the deal. I’ve been applying for a few graphic design jobs here and there, and I seem to keep running into the same final result: rejection. Now, it’s one thing if it’s for a position you know you’re under-qualified for from the beginning, but you figured “Hey, why not?”. It’s another thing entirely if it’s for a company you already work for, and it’s an internal position. Now try that twice. Super fun, right?!

It seems like so many of the jobs available in my area demand more experience than most people would consider entry-level. Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear entry-level, I think “straight out of college” or “we’ll train you on what you don’t already know”. Apparently, that’s not the case, and it makes for a really difficult time in landing a new job. As always, I’m doing my best to remain positive, and am trying to see the best in things. So I didn’t get the internal position(s) at my current job. It does suck, yes, but it also frees me up from having to continue to work there. I can be completely away from all of the things that don’t work well with me, and that alone is enough to be happy about.

It still is hard though, when it feels like being in a stable job for a good chunk of time, actually seems to backfire on you. It’s almost like the time I’ve spent at the job where I’m at now is working against me, mostly because I’m getting farther and farther away from recent design experience. It’s kind of turning into a horrible spiral of bad things. It’s making it a lot harder to land an actual design job now, than it would have been just waiting for one straight out of college.

So, I’ve still been looking into going back to school, which I’m excited about and nervous about at the same time. I don’t think I’m going to aim for MCAD, because I think that would be too much of a burden on my finances, and wouldn’t even guarantee any actual success.Β  There are a few programs at another local school that are much cheaper, and I feel would still be beneficial. I’m looking a little more into the web design aspect of things, because many of the jobs I see posted require more of those skills than actual graphic skills. Hopefully that will all work out for the best.

Since I’m stubborn as heck, I’m obviously not letting a little (or a lot) of rejection get in my way. I know what I want, and I’m still working towards that. I may have to revise and edit my path, but I’m still not giving up. I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing in even a year’s time. I guess I’ve always thought you graduate college, land a job, and go with it. I graduated college, and now am in some kind of weird perma-limbo which is getting harder and harder to crawl out of. Yikes. Life really does throw some curve balls at us sometimes, doesn’t it?

On a more positive note, my hours at work have changed so I actually have more time in the evenings to enjoy life a little bit. This also means that I have oodles more time for Ruby July related things, so I think it’s safe to say you’ll be hearing from me more frequently. Maybe my Pinterest Find of the Week may make a return in the next few weeks, too!

Hooray! (Right? …RIGHT?!)
πŸ˜€