Rapid Recharge // Your Relationship with Your Career

Aired July 22, 2015. Episode 138

Have you thought about leaving the field of graphic design, throwing in the towel and starting a new career? If so this episode is for you.

Have you described yourself as “burned out” or told yourself you are ready to give up?

Is it because of the lack of ability to find a job in the field? Is it because of the type of work you’re doing? Is it because of the people you work for or the people you work with? Or have you just lost interest in doing this type of work?

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The game changer for me was understanding that the design jobs I wanted weren’t the ones advertised online or in the newspaper.

The design positions I wanted were shared among designers at AIGA events, conferences, gatherings among friends, or with colleagues over beer / coffee. These were jobs at great companies who were doing award-winning work and many were published in design annuals. These firms and agencies were talking among friends and seeing if they knew any designers looking for a job. From this I learned that designers are incestuous. But not in a creepy, I-only-hire-my-siblings way but rather, “I interview people who someone I know and trust recommends.”

Design jobs can be intimate settings and require a lot of overtime and working closely with your co-workers. Owners and managers understand that personality is half of the equation, you have to be able to get along with others plus create great work.

The best advice I can give you if you are looking for a job:

1. Have lunch, dinner, beer, coffee with some other designers you know.

2. Meet new designers. Go to a small conference like WMC Fest or Creative South, join AIGA, or another professional organization and just begin to meet and get to know people.


If you are shy I want to encourage you to open up, find one person you can go up to and start a conversation. Everyone has something to share, but if you never connect with new people the only people who think you are great are the people who already know you.

Attack it one person at a time. Engage in real, authentic conversations. You do have something to offer whether it be advice, an idea, or something else your voice is important, just try. Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk and “fake it ’til you become it.” Click below to watch it.


1. Start a Side Project. Commit to spending time daily (or weekly) to learning a skill you want to improve.

Need some inspiration? Watch a few interviews on people who have changed their life with side projects. Check them out, Bob Ewing, Danielle Evans, and Scott Biersack.

2. Change Concentrations. If you work mainly in corporate print work, then create a new brand for your favorite hobby. If you are a designer that works mostly with illustrations try creating a self-promotion piece that concentrates on using photographs or typography. If you are a web designer create an ad campaign for your favorite insert favorite color here product. (Literally a product that is blue, for example Dawn liquid dish washing soap is blue.)

3. Attitude Adjustment. The trick to sticking it out is focusing on what you love about the work you’re doing, the place (employer/clients) you work for, or the people you work with. Treat it like a relationship you would have with your child. You may not always like what they are doing or how they are acting but you aren’t going to stop being their parent.

Evaluate your level of complaining you are doing on a daily basis and stop COLD TURKEY. Do not say anything negative. This attitude adjustment is my secret weapon. If all I’m doing is complaining, my friends must think I am an idiot for staying at this job or keeping this client. Constant complaining reflects on your decision-making skills more than on your client’s jerk level. (Tweetable)

4. Focus on what attracted you to the field in the first place. Rekindle that flame. Return to the initial reason that brought you into the field.

Take some time (like four to eight hours during your next week or weekend) going through old sketchbooks, looking at work that inspires you and gets you excited about doing similar work, talk to an old mentor, reach out to someone who’s doing inspiring work.

Let me know which of these methods has helped, or just reach out and let’s have a conversation. (Yes, I am serious.)

Leave a comment below or email me at diane [at] rechargingyou.com



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