Ten lightning-fast years into my career I can say with honesty that I enjoy going into work everyday. I feel challenged, valued and I’m encouraged by what the future holds.
It wasn’t always dandelions and roses, though.
I had a lot of indecision in the early stages of my career as an interactive designer about whether I had chosen the right path. I can recall days and nights spent starring blankly into my monitor, mouse heavy in hand, questioning the life choices that had landed me in my specific situation.
After taking a hard look at where I was in my career and where I wanted to be I determined I was in the right line of work, I simply needed to re-dedicate myself to the craft to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.
Although I chose a career transition over a radical change, I’m here to offer practical advice on both. I am still completing the transition from hands-on designer to design manager and creative director, but I can tell you some of the things I did to make it happen:
Step 1 – Volunteer your time
I learned a valuable concept early on in my freelance design career: the best way to get to do exactly what you want to do is to offer your services at no cost.
When a client isn’t paying your rate, you’re much more likely to get creative freedom on a project. The same principle applies to volunteering your time to a professional organization or non-profit. Offer your time and volunteer to fill a role in an area where you’d like to add experience.
I see these opportunities at my day job as well, where management is looking for volunteers to step up on a special project or initiative. When these opportunities align with areas you’re looking to add experience in, volunteer your services.