Musings II

The Thinker Auguste RodinI had a several things that I wanted to post about.  None of them were fully fleshed out.  I thought I would include another post on my random musings.

1. Pet Peeve: Lazy dog owners Most dogs are really territorial, especially if they are protecting families.  If you are going to let your dogs out of the yard, near you house, you should probably be out there with them.

2. Running out of…  Working under a lot of stress for a long period of time can cause your work personality to fracture and bits of your true self (irritated short tempered self) to show.  My workload has been quite high for the past two months.  I have finally run out of … well… its no a good thing to run out of. I am kind of surprised that I lasted this long.  I am also surprised how much my increased workload effects my relationship and work with my co-workers.  Needless to say that we are all having a rough week.  We all ran out of _____’s to give.

3. Friends are Awesome  I do not make friends easily.  Quality over quantity in my world.  Recently I realized that I have a few more friends than I thought I had, and that it is awesome to have friends.  You never know what skills they have to enrich your life.

4. Personal Dilemmas Artist risk a lot when they put their art out for all to see.  Trolls like to hunt them down and do what they can to undermine the confidence of the artist.  What should the artist do?  Take the trolls to heart and change their content to go with the main stream ideals or maybe break all the rules and risk everyone and everything. I would like to say be yourself and do what you planned, but it is hard to ignore what people say and not let it change your works.

5. Cat in a bag

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Just my cat Guido in a grocery tote.  I carried him around the house in the bag.  He loved it.

 

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Moving into a New Year

MerryChristmasSeattleBannerMerry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

I hope that it is Merry and Bright for everyone.  If it is not looking like it will be for you, I hope that something stands out as good.  Focus on that and you will make it.

ChangeRoadSignWhen I graduated from University I was not prepared for the career I paid (lots) to learn about.  That is my fault for choosing the wrong school, wrong course and not questioning things as much as I should have. That left this year as a quest to get over my fear of change and failure.  Fear of not being “good enough” to graduate (some how I did,) not being able to get a job (still at my old one,) and not being able to do what I want to do (Web Designer!)  This year I failed to do a lot of things that would have made it easier to do what I wanted to do.  I got the wrong internship, I did not keep up with my studies, and I did not ask questions or look hard at what was going on.  Only when I got frustrated and angry did I start making changes.

I am not saying that this year was a waste or all bad.  I had tons of great things happen.  I DID graduate from a reputable University.  I DID get an internship.  I DID create some websites (no matter how basic.)  I DID quite my internship when I realized that it was not going where I needed it to.  My spouse and I made the move to home ownership (that was stressful.)  I have a new internship lined up and I have plans on making next year good.  All in all the good outweighs the bad since I learned things that enabled me to move on.

One of the tools I used to get over my fears is Planning. I find that making a rough outline helps keep me on track and keeps the fear of change at bay.  Whenever I HAVE to do anything (that I don’t want to do or am afraid to do) I plan.  I actually plan the fun out of it and cover pretty much every contingency (I have no idea why I did not go into project management.)  Plans allow for the greatest amount of light to shine on something that you are afraid of.  Especially if it is something new.

My rough plan for 2014 is pretty basic right now.  Do some follow up education so I can understand Web Design and Development better.  There are many things that make no sense to me and in order to get a job I feel that I should understand them and be able to work with them. As I learn more I want to rebuild my website (down for financial purposes – darn house) and the others I have built, practice, practice.  I also want to start building demo sites and templates for some of the various content managers out there.  I think if I can learn enough about those I can secure a decent internship (paying?) or start charging for my services (freelance.)  This means reducing the number of hours I spend on graphic design.  While it is fun I need to spend that time coding and expanding my Web Designer skills.

I have other personal plans too.  I plan on spending more time off my butt and walking around.  Exercise is important and I can use the time to plan out other things.  I can also increase my collection of photos so I have things to use when I need to make a graphic for a site.  I plan on encouraging my spouse to blog and finish his degree.  I plan on seeing a doctor on a regular basis (that is really scary in my mind.) I also plan on taking a vacation this year.  I has been a while and I am feeling the need to take a break.  That means saving up some green and paid time off.  I should probably spend some time with my friends too.

OtherSideOfFearFear is natural.  I think almost everyone is afraid of new things.  Things that they cannot fathom or understand.  I find planning helps reduce the fear.  Fear will never go away until you deal with its cause, but you can lessen it to the point where you can deal with it.  All it takes is some planning and research.  I need to research my medical plan and learn about finding a provider and paying the bills.  I need to learn how to use my insurance and so many other things.  I am worried that I will put it off again this year (it was a goal for 2012.)  I know that if I do research and ask questions I can over come this and help other co-workers figure it out. Once I figure it out I know the fear of it will be gone and I can spend that energy fearing something new.  The process repeats.

Have a great holiday season! 

Do what you need to do, even if it is scary.  The fear will go away once you do it.

 

 

Getting it Together

The beginning of this month has been crazy.

I quit my internship.  It was not taking me where I wanted to go.  They also changed direction and I was not going to be able to do what I spent 3 years in university and many thousands of dollars and hours to do.  I started out as a web developer for their WordPress pages but quickly let myself get sidetracked with the graphic design component of the work.  I left because I was offered a SUPER AMAZING pro-bono gig for a non-profit. 

There are some things I need to do to take full advantage of the opportunity.  Get a business license is one of the first things I need to do.  Another is set up a formal meeting with them and find out exactly what they need and figure out how to provide it.  I have many, many ideas that will help them grow and prosper, but what I can do depends on what they want. 

A big part of the project gathering the basic information on Who, What, When, Where and How.

  • Who is going to do the blog, the FB, YouTube and Twitter and when?
  • What constitutes acceptable content? 
  • What cool stuff can we offer the variety of interested parties? 
  • Who are our stakeholders?
  • What do our stakeholders expect?
  • How do we give the stakeholders what they need and expect
  • When do the stakeholders expect the product?
  • Can we get it to them in a timely manner?
  • Where can information and content be found?
  • How do we market ourselves better?

There are so many other questions to ask, but those will get us started.

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Thank you yourownawesome.org for the image. It is AWESOME!

I learned a lot at my internship.  Some of the questions I will ask came from that.  It was a great experience but in the end I was not going to go in the direction I wanted to go. It was time for me to move on and use my skills and talents in another area.

I actually waited a bit to long to make this choice.  By the time I had, I was struggling to complete what little work I was given.  I dreaded going to “work” and events.  Once the direction changed and more staff was “hired” (more interns,) I realized that I did not have to stay around.  It was not in my best interest to stay around.  The dis-satisfaction was causing problems elsewhere and I needed to move on.  It was not an easy choice.  I am very loyal by nature.  There are times when it is better for everyone to just move on.  Sometimes it just takes time to realize it, or, as in my case, another opportunity to knock and be really awesome.

I am going to be working really hard to make my part successful and I am going to blog about the process.  I cannot wait to share my new work with everyone out there.  I will as soon as the ink dries on the plans.  Many of you that follow my blog are going to be interested in the organization and I hope that you will be able to offer me input to make things awesome.   

Maybe, just maybe, we will inspire others to take up the cause.  Or maybe someone who is starting a web based non-profit will succeed and make their dreams a reality based off the information I have shared.

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Not Good Enough

Our days are colored by our first thoughts in the morning.  If your first thought is something like “I don’t want to get up and go to work.” You are probably going to have a mediocre day.  On the other hand if you wake up and our first thought is more positive “That was a good sleep.” You are probably going to have a better day.

not-good-enough_design  Many of us wake up and our first thoughts are of the work day or what was on our minds when we went to sleep.  Most of the time I (and many people I know) got to sleep by running over a list of things that did not get done and need to be done “tomorrow.”  How depressing is that!  Even worse is when you are doing extra work (volunteering or internships.)  Those extra hours of work make your day really long and add to your daily to-do list.

Looking at this I am not surprised that most of my morning thoughts are “I don’t want to get up and go to work.”  I am basically working two jobs.  I do well at the one I get paid to do.  The internship, I am not sure about.  When you are unsure where something is going that increases the negative things that go on in your head.

Everyday we encounter things that make us feel like we are “not good enough.”  People may tell us this with words or action, we may just encounter an activity that makes us say “I am not good enough.”  Every time we encounter this we have a choice to give up, avoid or keep trying.  I know a lot of people will avoid the issue until they have to give up because the time to deal with it is past.  There are lots of people that just give up without even trying.

Stephen-Hawking-QuoteI think the fewest number of people actually keep trying.  To keep trying when you think you are not good enough and to keep trying when other people tell you that you are not good enough show perseverance. To be able to keep going when YOU think that you are not good enough is the hardest thing to overcome (personal opinion.) These are the people that are usually successful.

Most of us want to be successful.  Many know that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  When we come across self doubt things get harder than most can deal with and we end up giving up.  If you can get past your self doubt and persevere you can be everything that you have dreamt about.

I win. You win. It is All Good.

Recently one of my clients (graphic design client) was going to make a really bad decision, based off of some really bad advice.  What is a person to do?

1. Remain polite, controlled and logical.  I was informed by email, so I took some time to reason out the problem and sent a “calm” (I was NOT calm when I was writing it.  They will never know that though.) and logical email detailing why the idea was REALLY bad. Be very detailed, what bad things are associated with the bad idea and will the target audience go there.   I also made sure to include a solution to the problem.  That is problem solving 101.

2.  Plan for a rebuttal.  Yep they replied, with a sales pitch not even why their idea was better!  I do not think they really read my initial response.  No one really reads anymore, it is so sad.  But since I planned ahead for the obvious “you are wrong” reply I was ready.

3. Reply, a bit less polite, but still professional, logical and remind them who the subject matter expert is.  They are paying you for your expertise after all.  I, again, laid out the problem and (almost) word by word explained why their idea was bad.  I laid out why my idea was better.  I even gave them some room to play and “improve” my idea so it would work with their plans “better.”

4. Plan for the rebuttal.  I got lucky.  The head cheese read my email (someone who READS!! whole emails too.)  And they agreed with me.  I did not have to rebut.  I did have one planned though.  I was going to put my foot down as the subject matter expert and pull my support for the event graphics (risky but I am working on this for “free.”)

In the end I won, which means my client won and everything is good.

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I do not think you can win enough.  The problem is learning which battles are worth fighting over.  I know most people with think something like a event title is a small thing.  It is not.  It is the foundation of the event, the corner stone.  This is what people will remember the event by.  Search engines will take the words and title and show people this.  Titles are important.

 When you are working with a client and they are going to do something that damages their “name” or brand, it is your responsibility as the subject matter expert to stop them.  If something is going to hurt their name and your name is on it, you get hurt too.  All credibility down the tube because you would not stand up for your craft.

I am a very “go with the flow” type of designer.  If the client wants it, I will do it.  Obviously that comes within a limit.  I am not on your team because I am a pretty face or a good chair filler.  I am on your team to provide you with a service that you cannot do or choose not to do.   When the laid back person tells you something is a bad idea, you might want to listen. Just because I go along with most of the ideas and plans does not mean that I am going to let you damage your image (and mine.)

Certain things work in graphic design and others work well in TV and still others work well in newspapers or on the internet.  Using buzz words is great to snag the TV, radio and internet video watcher, but they are not always going to work in newspapers or on internet articles.  Buzz words do not work in graphic design, when the template is already made and the words cannot be highlighted appropriately.  However if you use a good graphic with intelligent words and the buzz words in your hash-tags and descriptions, you have a balance and that is what will get you the best results. 

I think people forget that the words they see in a .JPG or .PNG image are not searchable.  The only thing that is searchable about the image is what you have called it, the alternative title and any description you have provided.  As the designer it is your job to know this, and any other rules and regulations that might affect your client (copyright laws specifically.)

In summary:

*Stand your ground when it matters, and make sure you win by being prepared.

*Remember that anything bad that happens to your client because of your cowardice shows on your portfolio.

*Take the time to know your client and the clients audience.  If you can show that and idea or action will damage their target audience you will probably win.

*Have a solution ready!

Winning is good.

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