It’s been just over a year since I took a leap and quit my clock in and clock out job. I worked there for over five years and the work was becoming less and less satisfying. My hours were continuing to get cut, the work I was handed was intended for the brainless and those who just wanted to skim by to get a paycheck, and my confidence was dwindling by the second. I missed trying to come up with something amazing instead of something just to get the job done. My creative soul was being extinguished and it hurt bad!
I can remember moving here from Los Angeles to be with the man who is now my husband. In LA, I had a two hour commute there and two hours back. I worked as a graphic designer, creating hangtags, labels, and other little tidbits that you find on clothing. It was a blast working long hours, putting together over the top presentations to wow the customers, and to see the Los Angeles skyline glimmer in the sunrise as I took that turn off the 10 freeway. It was exciting and I felt that I had made it, but I needed to follow a different part of my heart. So, I moved here.
First couple of days of being here I landed a job as a graphic designer for a man who ran a small local coupon book. It was good for about a week until I had someone over my shoulder every time my hands hit the keyboard. Designing for the coupon book was fine, but then I started designing for his new printing company, car magazines, and the list goes on, all while he was over my shoulder. The paycheck was what kept me there, until six month later I asked for a raise and got the response, “You will get a raise when you can read my mind.” I left that moment and called my boyfriend balling. I had no back up plan.
Every day I checked to see if jobs were posted online and each one I contacted. One interview I went to, I was told that there was going to be some manual labor and I was actually excited about that! Putting together signage that you designed seemed like an awesome job. But, I was told, “Well, you’re a pretty girl and we don’t know if you can do that”. Another interview came months later and I was told, “I don’t look like a typical designer”.
Finally the job I stayed 5 years at came along. I was beyond excited to work at a print shop and learn the ins and outs of printing. I worked so hard, coming up with ideas every week, but was shot down. I didn’t let it get me down, and I continued working 150%. In June of 2009, I got married, went on a honeymoon, and came back to a job that had cut my hours. I received one raise 9 months from when I started working there, and my hours were continuing to get cut back. The work was not challenging, the environment was toxic, and my fire was going out. Freelance graphic design work was coming in sporadically, and it was always fun. I just felt that it wasn’t enough for me to continue to pay the bills.
The search had started again for a job, while working for the print shop. I went to a job interview and was asked more questions about what my husband did than about my qualifications. Unless, you would count one of my qualifications as not having kids, because “kids get sick and then you have to take time off”. Several months later I went to another job interview and didn’t get the job because I had too much experience, so they hired a kid straight out of college.
It wasn’t until one night I woke up next to my bedroom door screaming at the top of my lungs. My heart was pounding, I felt like I was going to pass out, and I was terrified. I felt completely cornered, depressed, and hopeless. My health, mentally and physically, was hurting and I was in a very bad place. What was I going to do? I decided I was the only person in charge of my life so the next day I quit my job.
Now, I own my graphic design business and I am happy. No, I am not rolling in dough by any means, but I do have electricity and food, a wonderful relationship, and creative ideas flowing. There is still so much for me to learn and I am scared but more excited. The biggest hurdle for me is to continue to believe in myself and to grow that confidence back to where it used to be. Thanks to the wonderful support I have, I am able to do what I love.
Sending happiness out to everyone!