So in my last post, I let you all know that I was made redundant. Though it wasn’t entirely soul-crushing, it was a knock to the ego. The two months that followed had me applying for any and all jobs, whether they were design or not.
In the middle of May when my finances were dwindling and I was well and truly losing my will to get out of bed, I got an email in my inbox from a familiar name. It was Adam Horne, Creative Director of Wunderman. Amusingly, he was a lecturer at my Uni. I never had him as a teacher but I used to sneak into his classes to hang out with friends and soak up his general awesomeness.
There were a few options that I could have gone with on the job front – I could probably find a call centre job pretty easily with my ‘experience’ in the field… but I didn’t particularly feel like falling further into a pit of depression and over-enthusiastic greetings (HI! IT’S KAT FROM AGL…). There were a couple of other companies around who showed some interest in me as a creative, but they seemed quite happy to be wishy washy, uninspiring and string me along for a few weeks. I took Adam up on his offer of freelance, because it felt right.
And I was correct in trusting my feeling. The atmosphere here is great, the people are delightful (a word I use sparingly), and I feel both challenged and appreciated. I’m moving into a full-time role with these purple people. The moral of the story is don’t settle. If it doesn’t feel right, if you know you won’t be happy, if you won’t be appreciated, then don’t settle. I was told by many people around me to just settle for a shitty job for the time being until I could find something more fitting. F^%$ing no.
Don’t settle. And DO NOT feel guilty for believing you are better than what you are being offered.
Go forth and prosper, my chinchillas of happiness.
On the rather sunny and glorious day that was this past Friday the 26th, I was sitting at my desk at work, checking Mashable, when was jolted back to reality by a little tap on my shoulder. It was my boss – like, the boss boss. What eventuated from a ten minute ‘conversation’ between the two of us was that my role was now ‘redundant’ within the company. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I didn’t react too over-zealously to the bad news. I was not offended, nor was I devastated. Don’t get me wrong, I am still having to brush away the occasional thoughts of “it’s because I suck“. I understood why it had to be – finances.
And so I’ve stepped back into the big wide world. I have more perspective, a heck of a lot more skill, and a considerably thicker skin. What an intriguing array of jobs I’ve had over the years. After it all, I can say this: I hate telesales down to my bones, and I love digital design to the point it makes me salivate.
What’s next? We’ll see. In the mean time, I am updating my folio site. Stay tuned, lovelies.
I recently stumbled upon a neat little app, Polar. Self-described as a super-fast and easy way to create and vote on great-looking photo polls, Polar is fast gaining popularity and it’s no surprise why. Of course, everyone (particularly the new i-generation) likes to share their own opinions and talk about themselves – I mean that’s why social networking is as popular as it is. Social networking, I believe, is %50 ‘social’ and %50 self-indulgence. That’s not the only reason Polar is so popular though.
Despite the fact that I don’t particularly believe in the notion of binary opposition (or ‘polar opposites’ – as this app is ‘punning’ on), I really adore this app. As I mentioned before, it indulges my self-obsessed side and my nerdy side. Not only that, but it pleases my design side as well (yes, I have three sides. I’m a triangle – so hipster right now).
Luke Wroblewski tested and wrote about the app a while ago in his post titled Testing One Thumb, One Eyeball Use (yep, hijacked the title – what a zinger). His article was further deconstructed by John Pavlus of FastCoDesign.com here. They pick out some interesting points which I think many designers and developers pass over when creating an interactive social app.
Of course, we are increasingly using our mobile devices to take in information rather than the tv and desktop. While this is the case, we aren’t solely focussing all our energy on the one app/program on our mobile devices at one time – we are multiscreening. Companies/apps such as Fango are taking advantage of this – the idea is to use their app on your smartphone while you watch telly. Thus, what we (designers/developers) should be doing is designing and building apps in such a way that the UX and UI is still effective and coherent when users are only half paying attention – one thumb and one eyeball, per se. This is something that Polar does quite well. John and Luke cover other points in their respective articles but I think the point I highlighted should really be more considered in the current market. It just concretes in my mind how unquestionable it is when people say; ‘Keep it simple, stupid.‘
I’ve worked in advertising now for something like nine months now. That may not seem like a long time, but when your industry is an intense as advertising is, it feels like decades. I’ve moved departments, I’ve witnessed scores of hirings, redundancies and resignations. I’ve cringed when we’ve lost clients and projects, and felt genuine pride when we’ve won others. I’ve made mistakes but I’ve also impressed. I’ve cried, yelled, sworn and …well, danced (albeit quite drunkenly). In an industry such as advertising, you aren’t sure what you’re going to get when you walk into your office. The only sure thing in your day is that copious amounts of coffee will be consumed. Advertising is highly competitive. There is at least five agencies alone in the suburb I work in (Richmond, Melbourne, AUS), many of which are highly regarded nationally and internationally. Five meters from my workplaces door, for example, is the building of DDB Melbourne.
Recently, I have been experiencing some rough times in my personal life. More than once within the past week I have left the office from air and have burst into tears. I have friends and colleagues that are providing me exceptional support, but what happened late on Thursday afternoon (March 14th) left me speechless.
At around 4PM I received an email from reception letting me know that there was something waiting for me. I didn’t have time to go pick it up, so the Concierge bought it over to my desk. It was a large bag of goodies, and sitting on top was this note:
The beautiful note that came with a big bag of goodies.
So… even though the advertising industry is apparently cut-throat, there is still room for beautiful, kind gestures such as this. Faith in humanity somewhat restored.
Well, the time has come to move on from my first apartment in the heart of Brunswick. I’ve enjoyed living there immensely – it’s an inspiring part of town. The street art, great coffee, multitude of ethnicities and the sheer volume of bikes to perve on. As much as I’ve enjoyed staying in Brunswick, I don’t quite feel I fit in there – perhaps not even on this side of the river entirely. I grew up mainly in the south/south-east part of Melbourne, on the other side of the river. The street art still quite prevalent, there’s still a metric fuck-tonne of coffee shops but the vibe is somehow different. The main thing I’ve missed is the greenery. I dig the urban feel, but there’s something about smelling cut grass and flowers every day that just makes life a little sweeter. And I miss that. Maybe I’m a bit of a hippy at heart.
So my partner, myself and our two little cats have put in our notice to vacate our Saxon St apartment. The packing is nearly done. We have secured a new pad. Perfect location in St Kilda – in the little triangle of love snuggled between Barkly St, Carlisle St and Acland St. St Kilda still has a grungy feel that Brunswick has. The difference is that I could (and will) just jump on my bike and within minutes be able to sink my feet into the sand or zone out in the Botanical Gardens. It’s just a very familiar part of Melbourne for me.
In other news, I snagged a little old bike from Gumtree for $50. It’s a gem. Nothing amazing, but it’s perfect for me. To ride it feels like a weird mix of BMX and vintage commuter. Plus, it has ape hangers. I fucking love ape hangers.
So, during my downtime at work I don’t want to just sit there and let my brain stagnate. While scrolling endlessly through Facebook reading posts that I, frankly, rarely care about is a past-time and a habit of many, I don’t want to do that at work – even if there isn’t currently anything on my plate. After leaping around like a gnat asking if I can help anyone with anything, I then turn to a sketchbook. But that quickly loses it’s appeal as I don’t feel as if I’m being useful to anyone or any thing except my boredom. So what better to do than trawl the internet for inspiration and information so that I can learn and grow in my current position. I have subscribed to and started habitually reading at least 15 advertising based blogs. I’ve done the same with at least 10 other blogs that are about creative pursuits. Once I’ve organised them in some sort of comprehendible list I will post them – I encourage you all to do the same with your valuable bookmarks.