About six years ago, I took a leap and left a great job as Design Director at Happy Cog to start an independent design and consulting agency, National Design Service. As it turns out, six years is the longest I’ve held onto a job. During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some incredibly talented people and collaborate with clients that are at the absolute top of their fields. That humbles me. I often feel like I just stumbled into this career after spending most of my 20s trying to be a musician and not caring much about what I did for a “living.” However, I find that I do care quite a lot, and I’m so grateful to have met and worked with so many amazing people.
Three years ago my family and I packed all our belongs into a trailer and moved from Austin, Texas, our home for five years, and took a leap to move to the Berkshire mountains at the ragged edge of New England. I’d only visited this area once in my life, but I was excited to make a drastic change. We went from years of city living to move somewhere peaceful, surrounded by forests and rivers that would not only bring a lot of happiness to my family and me but also where the temperature during the summer didn’t hit 120 degrees. However, more than that, I’ve also got two incredible kids, both of whom need the type of school support that they couldn’t get in Austin, but they could get here.
One of my biggest anxieties about leaving Austin (pop. 1 million) for Williamstown, Ma (pop. nearly 8k) was that my work and clients might drastically change. I’ve been lucky to hang on to some great clients and to find new ones as well. One of the choices I made when I started my agency was to develop client relationships that would last for multiple engagements over several years rather than just one and done.
However, two months ago, a feeling starting creeping into my thoughts, and it’s been hard to shake. I’ve been proud of the work that I’ve been doing for this past six years, but more and more of my brain space has been taken up with worries about business development, networking, invoicing, and bookkeeping. Honestly, all the stuff that goes with running a business, I’m not as passionate about as the rest of my job. Less and less of my time has been spent doing the things I love to do: workshops, interviews, leading projects, hiring and mentoring designers, and on and on. I’ve also had the creeping feeling more companies are seeing the value of this work and they have been bringing the work in-house.
All that said, I guess this is just my way of saying that I’m both grateful and proud of the work I’ve been doing for the past six years, but I’m ready for another drastic change. I’m not sure what they change is going to look like, but if you are reading this and you or someone you know is looking for a seasoned designer with great communication skills and a strategic brain please reach out and say howdy!
I’m hoping to find something at a senior level or above at a company that values diversity, user-centric design, has challenging problems to solve, and offers remote work opportunities. I can’t wait for what comes next. Thanks for reading and sharing!