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The Worst Job I Ever Had.

I'll begin by acknowledging that I am pretty happy with where I came from in my career. But reaching these goals meant going through a heap of challenges and even questioning my career choice as a graphic designer in the first place. Working in a dreadful design agency was secretly the best thing that could've happened to me. It's the ultimate blessing in disguise.

Since I was a kid, I've been bursting with big ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit. I've always been an artist, but I've also had a knack for business. An entrepreneurial desire was fueled even more as I experienced the most toxic work environment imaginable. Heck, I was sitting at my desk working my first big girl job wishing I could return to my Gold Star Chili job from high school. But this pushed me further and taught me so many life lessons. Now I could never look at another job with the same love that I have for being a designer.

I could talk for hours about why I hated my old design firm. Hours. However, the bottom line is, that they treated people terribly. Not just clients, but the workers as well. I chose graphic design to release my creativity, but they overworked us to the point where the best parts of being a designer were not important. I was responsible for over 400 billable hours per month. If you do the math, that's impossible and their clients were completely overcharged.

Graphic design is about making brands stand out and adding a personal and unique touch. I love spending time making sure my client's brand shows their personalities. The creative process that came naturally to me was rushed and it started to feel like it wasn't even my work anymore. It was just meeting requirements and doing mindless tasks. My creativity was completely gone and I was constantly questioning if I was even good at this. That's what burnout does to you. Clients weren't given the opportunity to create a relationship with their designers, without this connection, the design work they were given was not reflecting who they were, it was reflecting the basic requirements of design.

One thing I am proud of is my incredible work ethic, and I hold myself to a standard where I can feel confident in my work. At this design agency, we were discouraged from exploring creativity. She would literally tell me it didn't matter and I needed to just get it done faster. Not to mention we were getting yelled at constantly and expected to drop anything for our jobs at any given moment. If you are going to choose to manage people, I think that you need to have some level of gratitude for your workers, especially if the workers you are hiring are underpaid and miserable. My business is run by my passion, but all my old design agency cared about was money.

I told myself I could not morally work for someone like that so I quit. I found a remote job with more flexibility and began pursuing my own business. I structured my business to be people first. I truly care about the work I am doing and the businesses I am helping. I believe that if I do right by others good karma will reward me.

Just like other aspects of life, being selfish in your business isn't sustainable. Looking beyond my career, prioritizing my mental health is the most important reason to leave a toxic work environment. No one deserves to have panic attacks and drive home crying from work. My favorite part of the day was coming home to see my husband, but I often came home in a terrible mood from work, which isn't fair to either of us. Work is just one part of your life, it shouldn't ruin the other parts.

To wrap it all up, being in a toxic work environment has taught me exactly what not to do with my business. The best choice was to decide I didn't want my name on work I am not proud of. Business should be built on treating others how you want to be treated. I thought that was a basic life lesson from elementary, but it carries us through life. Because I treat people well, I believe my business will continue to succeed. Design is art, it's beautiful and it takes time and thought to do it correctly. Design tells a story. I love design and I could talk for hours about how careful of a process it can be, but my favorite part of the job is making connections and friendships with my clients and I love that I have that opportunity again.


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