There are some days working INhouse where you might be left questioning yourself. It seems natural enough. It’s tough to think ahead and see the big picture without questioning your abilities, your career path or where you are in your life from time to time. It’s a day like this that, while scanning magazines at Barnes & Noble instead of heading home from work, the magazine “Worth” stands out among the rest on the rack.
In this instance, it’s not the delightfully gridded, finely designed aspect of the magazine that draws my attention, but rather the title. The question looms in the forefront of the mind … Worth. It’s a financial magazine (not my typical editorial choice) but the design gives reason enough to thumb through.
“Make, grow, live.” Reading the cover article call-outs I realize that my focus is off. My vision is fine, but my goals have somehow been compromised.
Make: Take a clear assessment of where you’re finding yourself, where you thought you would be right about now, where you would like to be in the near future and the needs to be considered to meet your evaluated self-expectations. Set goals and make them a series of goals over the course of a self-determined timeline.
Grow: When assessing everything you’re putting your energy toward personally and professionally, you should be asking, “Does this help me grow?” to which you should without a doubt answer, “Yes.” Part of this process is to better document. Take everything you work on into consideration. Don’t forget to shoot your projects on a regular basis. It’s easy to fall out of this habit working INhouse. From documentation comes a reference to observe growth.
Live: If you find yourself in a rut professionally, don’t let that carry over into your personal life. Sign up for a design conference, take a vacation (even if it’s just a two-hour road trip to a nearby city like Savannah for an overnight stay), make plans weekly with close friends (even if it’s just dinner). Something like seeing a movie by yourself after work or reading a book can be just enough to distract from frustration so you can go back to work with a fresh outlook.
If you are still finding yourself frustrated with the occasional repetition of INhouse work, take on occasional freelance projects (make sure they are the type of work you like and a divergence from what you would typically work on at your day job). Take up a some sort of physical activity. I’ve always enjoyed Brazilian jujitsu, but I have plenty of friends who play kickball, train for 5ks and triathlons, and make weekly trips to the rock climbing wall at the gym. Try something like racquetball or tennis—there are so many options. There are also an abundance of organizations and nonprofits you could channel your energy into.
All of these offer an outlet to rejuvenate your focus and energy that can be transferred back into your work and contribute to having better days all around. It just takes a step back sometimes to move forward from ruts.
~Jim, Programming Director (INhouse designer)
INitiative is a joint partnership between AIGA and The Creative Group. This national program provides knowledge and tools to help in-house designers make a greater impact at their companies, evolve professionally and connect with a broader network of peers. INitiative delivers inspiration, advice and insights from leaders of the in-house sector via online channels and in-person events.
If you haven’t heard about INitiative, read up here.