I quit my job on Wednesday.
“Where are you off to?”
I can’t explain how freeing that word is, but I’m going to try and explain why.
I’ve been thinking about leaving since I came out of my masters-degree-induced-hibernation last year. I started putting the wheels in motion this year (finally getting a portfolio site up for example), but the pull of the comfort zone was still tying me down. Realising I could stop and take a break was the thing that pushed me to finally quit.
I have worked for 3wise Internet Solutions for 7+ years. I started during the summers of my bachelors degree and have been there ever since. It has been a good job, with some interesting opportunities and the support of a lovely team.
With the exception of my teenage-shop-job and my freelance, it is the only job I have ever known. The job itself hasn’t changed very much, and that’s part of the problem I’ve been having with it. I feel it is time for someone else to take it over and breathe new life into it. Ultimately, this is the best thing for me and the best thing for 3wise.
Time to Regroup/Creative Reset
Feeling stagnant and unmotivated has me pretty tired. I’ve been working hard, but constantly craving a break. Not a holiday as such, but a break. Bar some ongoing freelance projects, I plan to have September off. I have started a list of things I want to do with my time. It ranges from “go to the National Gallery and sit in front of my favourite painting all day” to “clean all the windows” . Just some serious me time, with lots and lots of paint!
I’m calling it my “creative reset” and will be writing about it on my personal blog.
New Experiences, New People
I love the team at 3wise, but for the last couple of years I have been the only designer. I often describe myself as “designer starved” and frequently head down to Portsmouth to hang with my designer friends.
That’s not to say I don’t think of developers as designers in their own way. I do. But they don’t understand why I freak out about padding or a badly kerned font. Feedback from the team is valuable, but not quite the same as bouncing ideas off of another designer.
Change of Direction
This really goes alongside being the only designer. My job at 3wise was very technical, and often restrictive in the level of creativity required by projects. I’m looking to be more involved with the briefing process and to spend more time on the visually creative/UX side of things. I have a couple of mini-projects in mind for my time off and they all feature a few days of “research and sketching” before even touching the computer (my preferred method of working).
Enjoy the Fear & Find Control
I’m a planner and I like to know what’s going to happen. Accepting that lots of things are outside of our control is something I do struggle with. I don’t think I’ll ever be truly comfortable with that, but I have discovered it’s possible to feel in control whilst having no clue what the outcome’s going to be.
My friend put it best when he said “if you’re in a rut, you don’t have to steer the car. As soon as you grab the wheel and move out of the rut, you’re the one in control”. That’s how I’m feeling at the moment—in control.
It wasn’t until I started to do my freelance projects that I truly believed that I knew what I was doing. Without the agency to hide behind, I initially felt very naked and hugely responsible. I haven’t had any problems that weren’t easy to resolve, and I have some very happy clients.
There’s a lot of articles floating round the ‘net about how we all feel like frauds. They talk about the endless supply of amazing design making everyone feel they’re not as good so they should just give up. I felt like that, but bollocks to it. Working directly with clients reassured me that I was good and worth paying for. This has given me the courage to quit with no job lined up, I know I can always fall back on myself.
Make it Count
I love the saying “if nothing ever changed there’d be no butterflies”. I felt like I was letting myself down because I wasn’t moving forward and because I had let myself get stagnant. I will turn 26 in a couple of weeks, and although people keep reminding me “your life doesn’t end at 30” (I am well aware) there are things I want to do before hitting that milestone. I have ideas about what I want to do and if birthdays push me to do those things then for the love of cheese, stop telling me “26 isn’t old” when I cite my age as a reason to get moving.
We have a frightfully short amount of time on this planet.
This amazing video using jelly beans shows just how short. And even then, it could all end tomorrow. I want to MAKE IT COUNT. I don’t want to be spending hours and hours of my life in a job I am no longer happy in.
Sometimes being comfortable isn’t the best thing for you. Being uncomfortable builds character and makes you stronger. I want to be strong, and I want to be happy.
The thing which ignited the “just quit” bonfire was this brilliant post by Harry from CSS Wizardry. I won’t reiterate what he’s said, but trust me when I say it is worth a read.
As soon as I handed my notice in I was literally bouncing off the walls. There wasn’t a single doubt in my mind that this was exactly what I needed to do. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s right for you.