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To The Max And Back. Getting My Legs Back Under Me.

Wow! Just when I think I can’t be pushed any more, I get pushed farther and have to dig into an even deeper well of resiliency.

I have pivoted, reshuffled and back-tracked so many times over the years, I no longer know which way is north. I know there are people who have been through MUCH worse than I have. I — by no means — say that my situation is dire. But I’ve been through some shit lately. It’s about time for me to get back to the things I love and re-center myself.

My job is some shit. The people in charge have zero clue what they are doing, and I am still searching for a way out. I recently had my resume re-written and, for the first time in a long time, I am actually excited to go job hunting. This time, I don’t want to settle.

I spent a lot of time over the last few years flip-flopping on what I want to do next.

I said, at one time, that I no longer wanted to be a web designer. After a recent incident (more on that later), I realized that I actually like web design — just not here… I even took it upon myself recently to dig deeper in the industry. I am pushing myself further than I had in a while and it’s actually become invigorating. I have also found ways to tie in other skills I have acquired over time.

I am taking a couple of classes on Udemy for pixel art and GUI design. I have been blowing through courses on LinkedIn Learning like a man possessed, trying to learn as much as I can about UI design. I am learning Adobe XD for prototyping, app design and website building. I am actually excited about being a web designer for the first time in a long time.

I can visualize the entire production cycle and distribution vehicles for a particular campaign or product from a marketing perspective and step in to fill gaps when talent is lacking because of my diverse skills set. I have learned motion graphics and video production over the last couple of years. I am excited again!

A recent job scam/identity theft incident made me realize how much design means to me. And the prospect of getting to do that at a big name video game publisher pushed my brain into overdrive trying to absorb everything I could. Over the last 7 years, my current job has beaten me down and sucked the soul from my bones. It’s exhausting trying to be a creative in a place that doesn’t value creativity, but places copying in extremely high regard.

The direction that we’re all getting from the top is, “do it like Apple.” But then that immediately gets followed up with my favorite gripe from the same CEO of the company, “there’s too much white space on this site.” Apple has had years developing their signature look and it’s built into their design DNA. We’re given 2 days to turn around a video production and marketing campaign that’s supposed to run for 10 days, with no clear design initiative and constant feedback from people who aren’t even designers… And there is hell to be paid if a designer voices a concern. Have you seen the Fyre Festival documentary. Yeah… We’ve also been told around here that they want solutions not questions. I even heard a marketing manager say that the process here is, “ready, fire, aim.”

REALLY…?

The copywriters run the roost here. And the shit shows… I’m fed up. A lot of us here are. And as fed up as I am and definitely looking for a way out, I am also in a very different place — right now — than I have been lately.

I was scouring Zip Recruiter recently and came across an ad for a large, local video game publisher. The skills necessary were right up my alley. You have to realize, working with a game publisher, an entertainment or adult entertainment/sex tech company or a toy company is dream job for me.

I wanna get the hell up out of this type of publishing work I am doing now. I have been doing this low visibility crap for the last dozen years. I’m not challenged creatively — because we just don’t have the time. It’s more of a production gig — where the speed at which you can bang shit out is more valuable than the thought behind it…

So when this publisher messaged me on LinkedIn about a gig, I was fuckin’ thrilled! I mean, I was FUCKIN’ THRILLED! I had an online interview and all that, and that’s when it all started to pay off… and not at the same time.

See, I have been doing a LOT of soul searching for the last 6 months — more like 12-18. But the last 6 really made me focus on my career. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about bombing an interview that seemed like a layup, but I never published it. I was in a really bad place mentally and emotionally.

I didn’t know what I really wanted for my next stop. And it showed. I got tripped up on a really simple question. The recruiter wanted to know what I wanted out of my next job? I went on some incomprehensible, unorganized rant about wanting to own my projects and that I wanted to focus on motion and animation…

The job was for a branding designer for a big client. Mind you, animation is not my career strength. I’d love to have a job where I can touch animation from time to time. But organizing information and visual presentation are my strong suits.

I think I rambled on for 3 minutes and the recruiter immediately told me, “thank you, but I don’t think this is the position for you.” I was a mess! I looked up at the sky and thought about how the (wo)man upstairs must be getting (her)his rocks off watching me struggle. I aways seem to be the butt of some big cosmic joke.

Over the next few weeks, I got back to long-form journaling and meditating. People around me started to notice the difference in my calm. My thoughts were beginning to hone in on one common thought. I was seeing the clarity reveal itself within the pages of my journal. For some time, I felt like I had to focus on something. One thing. But I realized that it wasn’t necessary. I am a Jack-of-All-Trades for a reason. I am a mentor for a reason. I am passionate and emotional for a reason.

So, when this publisher approached me, I was in the zone. I was speaking from a place of infinite confidence. A place where I knew my shit and couldn’t be told otherwise.

Unfortunately that energy was wasted. As I learned later that week, the job offer was a fake. Posted by someone who was looking to scam people and steal their identities. I worked with the local authorities and the publishing company. Things are getting resolved and hopefully no more damage will be done to myself or anyone else who thought they had scored the opportunity of a lifetime.

The emotional rollercoaster has been sickening, but revealing. Super high highs and super low lows in a very short span of time. But I feel I am better for the experience. I feel I learned a lot about a constantly evolving me. A mutable enigma. I can finally see a bit clearer and I’m getting my legs back under me. Time to put one foot in front of the other and tread a new path. One filled with pixel art, game GUIs AND web design, among MANY other skills!

P.S. Thank you to “the gothic queen” for inspiring me to write. I have mentioned this before, but i write just to get stuff off my mind. Had no idea people actually read these posts, but you and a few others have shown me that a different perspective helps you approach things in your life. I promise I will be better and much more consistent.

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