Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Challenge and Change

Much like other creative types around the internet, I've decided to participate in Reverb 10. In short, it's a project for creatives (photogs, writers, etc.) to reflect on the past year and send out some good vibes for the upcoming year.

It all begins today with this:
December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)
2010 - Challenge
This year has definitely been a challenge. As a graphic designer I have always been challenged. I love a challenge but it goes much deeper than that. Factor in certain economic constraints with a company that decided to work towards salvaging their business by asking all involved to make sacrifices so rather than sacrifice talented individuals they asked us, in 2008, to dial back our paid hours. Doing this for the first 18 months or so was more of an economic challenge because everyone, it seemed, was struggling financially. But this year was one of shake-ups and the challenges went from being personally financial to being professionally time-constraining. To right the ship we moved ahead at a speed which I had never seen my employer move. We launched a multitude of new products and made some staffing changes. I was thrust into a situation where my management skills were further honed and still, under those same time contraints, made (I hope) for a better workplace and gained the respect of others.

The challenges were many. Swift design changes, juggling dozens of projects and tackling areas which demanded I learn new skills have all challenged me immensely. Sure, I've done amazingly well in some areas while others haven't gone as well but I'm not giving up and am still challenging myself to workharder than ever to make my skills viable as the industry I chose to work in over a decade ago goes through an evolution of sorts.

2011 - Change
The word itself is vague but pertains to myself it's more of a wide-open range of possibilities. I'm eager for change. I've held the same job for nearly eight years. To me, that's an awful long time and after last year's stint honing my managerial skills I am hungry for a position of that caliber. I love being a graphic desinger and I realize that since I began in the field it has changed more than I ever could have imagined. Gone are the days where you could stroll out of college knowing how to use Quark XPress and have almost instant job security. After college which taught me theory but not practical use, I taught myself the software titles as I needed to learn them. Over a decade later I'm constantly discovering new ways of designing and creating elements, new tricks in every software title I currently use and realized about five years ago that I needed to know both web and print design to survive and make myself the go-to guy in my company.

While I've by no means mastered everything, I've learned enough to stay more than a few steps ahead of my co-workers and have made it my goal to move even further ahead of them. It's about more than simple job security, it's a matter of pride. I like answering questions and helping others figure things out. It brings a smile to my face to see someone who, a few weeks ago, couldn't figure out the simplest of tasks turn out a finished project which others confuse with my own work. I'm not the best at what I do but it brings a smile to my face that I still get asked questions and can answer most of them. I find the new technologies, figure them out as well as I can and help others around me use them and excel at making those technologies work for my co-workers.

Without Twitter (and one person in particular), though, I never would have known about this project.

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