Posts Tagged: reflections

Coming on Ten Years

Ten years ago this week, I gave my two week notice at my well-paid but non-web related corporate job. I gave my notice so that I could go pro as a web designer rather than just doing it as a side job or hobby. I gave my notice so that I could start my own web design freelance consultancy. I gave notice so that I could teach web design and 20th Century art history at a local university. I gave notice so that I could grow into my new life as a full-time web designer.
My timing, I have joked for years, was impeccable. I gave notice to start a web design business right on the precipice of the Dot Com Bust of 2000/2001.
In the last ten years, I have built a web design and development business / freelance consultancy that has focused on small businesses, creatives, non-profits, and education related endeavors. In the last ten years, I have offered my clients not just a new web site, but also how to conduct an online marketing or promotion campaign, how to use the internet to grow a business or project, as well as helping the internet phobic get comfortable in this new space. It has at times been very satisfying and at others deeply frustrating.
Five years ago this month, I wound down my web design business and teaching at the university to go back to school myself. I packed up my whole life, gave up my lovely 1890s back of the house in Orange, and in Sept of 2005 I moved to Dublin, Ireland, to attend graduate school at Trinity College, Dublin. I went to graduate school with the intention of learning more about programming and web development, as well as to focus on a mobile project.
When I first returned from Dublin with my new minted Masters degree, I spent 6 months in a job search of which many leads were pursued, paths investigated and interviews conducted but none lead to a corporate web or mobile design job as I had hoped at the time. In 2007, I spent a great deal of the year trying almost any new professional adventure offered to me – speaking at developer conferences about design, working as a web developer contractor to an East Coast based agency, thinking & planning a mobile hack day, etc. In one way, this was good, as I got to discover what I did not want to do, but on the other side it was bad, as I felt like I was too full of post-masters degree energy and that I was scattered and did not focus.
For the last three years, I have been working more on the web development and programming side of my skill set, both on client projects and a large semi-collaborative web application, as well as mobile development projects. Something funny happened on the way to the web app forum, I discovered that what I knew to be true in early 2007 when I was interviewing, which was that I really did not want to work for myself anymore but instead work on a team doing bigger projects than one person can accomplish alone, is still very true, in fact truer now than it was in 2007.
Furthermore, I have discovered that the longer I am a freelance web designer and developer working with remote clients or on contract, the more demoralized I become. It is not enough to work on a remote team where there are weekly phone or Skype meetings, I deeply desire, be it a larger company or at an agency, to work on an in office/studio team to be a part of a larger whole than what I can accomplish on my own. I want to hear more than just my own thoughts or what little I can glean when I throw out an idea on Twitter. I want to participate in discussion and discourse, I want to be challenged, I want to learn from colleagues, I want to be able to mentor in turn, I want to collaborate, and I want to participate together on projects.
To this end, I have spent much time this summer dusting off my resume and working on how to best presentation of my portfolio. I have been watching the job listings at companies I admire and would want to work at. I have let friends and contacts know that I am starting a job search.
While most of my client work the last ten years has been mostly web based, be it web design, development or marketing, my true passion and where I have spent most of my non-client working time in the last five years is in mobile. If you have read this blog, you know that besides mobile blogging & camera phone photography, I tend to blog about mobile. Thus, I am searching for jobs in mobile and at mobile companies.
If you know of any openings in mobile for a passionate and bright designer / developer hybrid with strong talents in user experience, communication, marketing, and systems design, please let me know.
Follow Up: Anxious? No.