We’ve all been there, frozen with anxiety about what do with our lives and careers. Decisions need to be made, opportunities need to be seized, and your young (or not-so-young) mind just doesn’t know what to do. I posed the question, “what advice would you give your younger self if given the chance?” to the group and here’s what they said.
Make yourself noticed.
I’m not naturally assertive, but I’ve learned that you have to step out of yourself and be heard if you want anyone to notice. I’ve been passed over for promotions and opportunities in the past and been directly told it’s because the manager thought I didn’t want it or was not assertive enough to lead. I’d tell my younger self to use my voice and be (bee??) heard! – Camri Hinkie
I’d tell my younger self to use my voice and be (bee??) heard!
No project is ‘beneath’ you.
Your boss gives you a project you feel you are over qualified for? Smile and knock it out of the park. Any project or task is a chance to prove yourself and get noticed. If you complain and half ass small projects, why in the world would they give you bigger more important ones? – Sarah Cottle
Your plans will change.
I would tell my younger self that it’s okay to not have a clear plan in the beginning. Just do what you love. Things will change in the world that will shatter all your plans for the better anyway. When I went to college in 2001, Graphic Design wasn’t even offered as an option at UT. Web Design was in it’s infancy, and smartphones hadn’t been invented yet. Fast forward 15 years and technology has completely changed everything we do. The opportunities I have now wouldn’t have crossed my mind 15 years ago. Being a Product Designer was not the plan I had for me, but it’s WAY better than what I thought I wanted. – Monica Chow
The opportunities I have now wouldn’t have crossed my mind 15 years ago.
Be loud & be confident.
Because this is still something I am trying to work on, I would say “be loud & be confident.” I think designers who can justify their thoughts, actions, and mistakes are the ones that get noticed and respected. By admitting our mistakes, we show humility, and by demonstrating pride, we gain respect. There’s a fine balance, but it’s important to remember our professional course can be richly determined by our ability to brand ourselves — inside & out. And above all else … do not flatten those PSDs! – Kim Sullivan
Always know your value.
Always know your value and what you can bring to the table. If you are confident with your talent, then don’t be afraid to counter offer and negotiate stocks, benefits, and salary. Too many times you find out later that your coworker makes a lot more money and has less experience. Having said that, DON’T discuss salaries with anyone except your mother or father. It will only make you angry and hate your job. – Molly Francis
Just do it.
I spend so much time second guessing myself I don’t know how I get anything done at all. One thing that I have to remind myself daily is to just do it, just get on with it. Move forward. Do something. Whatever it is, give it a try and see where it goes. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll learn something. – Jamie Aucoin
What’s something you wish you’d known when you were in the earlier stages of your career?