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Advice please

Discussion in 'Graphic Design Forum:' started by Mark2000, Feb 9, 2015.

  1. Mark2000

    Mark2000 New Member

    Hi. I have been struggling with a few things for a number of years and hoped a few people here may be able to help if possible please.

    I started out having a successful career in Graphic design & Illustration working for some great global brands on a variety of creative projects. I took on a very demanding project for a big Nokia advertising campaign one year and consequently it broke me and resulted in me having a mental breakdown. Since then I have had another mental breakdown a few years ago and generally struggle with the stress / pressure of my work. Due to the fact that I am not good with pressure anymore I have built my business up using the skills of others, but the result of this is I have become a project manager rather than a creative and also don't earn very well from things as the majority of the work is outsourced. I know that if I did the work myself I would obviously earn more money but I just am not very good with pressure anymore.

    I love being creative and designing but if I don't work well under pressure then it becomes a bit of an issue, and this is leading to believe I should maybe change my career as hard as this is to accept. I have thought about being a design studio manager, recruitment consultant or maybe even a account handler, anything that still keeps me in a creative environment was my immediate thought.

    I haven't come on here for any sympathy but welcome any advice on what you would do if you were in my shoes?

    I am willing to completely change my career but unsure of what else I could do if I left design.

    I also have a family to provide for so I can't afford to retrain for 3 + years at University so a bit stuck with where to go.

    Hope someone can help


  2. PriyeshDesign

    PriyeshDesign Member

    Oh dear, Mark.

    Working under pressure is about how confident you are to face the challenges, also an opportunity to showcase your talents and to prove yourself whether you have the capability to reach the target on time or not.
    (Taken from another source)

    If I'm not wrong, many large creative agencies have Client Relations, Project Managers, Creative Consultants, etc. I think you could look into these possibilities, if available in your area.

    Apart from design, what other interests have you got? Technology?
    Mark2000 likes this.
  3. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    Doesn't matter what career you're in, working under pressure is almost always there.

    There's no such thing as an easy job. If you think you're good at design then do that. But expect pressure. Just as if you were a carpenter or a carpet layer or a mechanic or a food delivery person.

    Designing under pressure is usually the scope of the job, I like to liken it to a surgeon, although a surgeon is a role I think a design career shouldn't be compared to in anyway, shape or form, but like a surgeon, if you can't perform under pressure then this is not a career for you.
    Mark2000 likes this.
  4. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    I know you said you haven't come here for sympathy but I really do empathise with you, because I have discovered over the past 12 months that pressure, or more in my case stress, has caused me to develop certain health problems too. Nothing as severe as yours but it still affects my life. Although my pressure/stress is the opposite of yours, a different kind of pressure, it is from when I went for long periods with no work. I personally welcome pressure from working in design, as it means I have lots of work on and can keep busy.

    I believe your problem may all be in your mind, because you are fully capable of working under pressure, you just have to believe it. How do I know this? Because and I quote, you have had a "successful career in Graphic design & Illustration working for some great global brands on a variety of creative projects." That is a superb accomplishment and I am sure it wasn't an easy ride - but you did it.

    If you are not already I feel you should maybe see a professional specialist for your problem, as I am doing for mine. They will teach you how to 'trick' you brain into doing something you don't think you can i.e. coping with pressures of work. You will learn to stop fighting pressure and accept it and see it as a challenge that one way or another you will accomplish. There is no greater satisfaction than tackling a tricky brief or working your way through numerous projects.

    Have you thought about working in a team, where you can help and support each other, bouncing ideas off one another and sharing the work load. Having someone there to ask for help when you need. Or maybe you could think about going freelance and starting off small, working your way up at your own pace, only taking on what you feel you can manage. With your experience, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to get going, as you probably already have a good few contacts in place.
    Mark2000 likes this.
  5. Mark2000

    Mark2000 New Member

    Thanks for your advice PriyeshDesign, much appreciated. Those careers you mentioned sound interesting so will certainly look into those. Yes I love technology but couldn't see myself as a developer as not that technically minded, but certainly would be interested in that area.
  6. Mark2000

    Mark2000 New Member

    thanks hankscorpio. I know what you are saying about pressure existing in lots of jobs, and I suppose some are more pressurised than others. I think for me its the combination of designing under pressure but also quite a bit of my work is 3D & Motion based which has its technical challenges too, often making it more pressurised trying to figure out technical stuff at the same time as designing. I suppose some careers are more deadline driven than others, but can't seem to figure the best way to go with things at the minute.
  7. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    I'm freelance now, but these things still apply. Pressure only comes when I've made the wrong decisions, usually the result of:

    1. Not giving myself enough time to do the job. Deadlines can be tight, but with experience, you should be able to work out how long a job will take.
    Don't say you can do something for next week if it's not possible. Don't underquote or you'll be playing catchup.
    If you need more time, then say so before you start the job. If you need more money, then say so before you finish the job.

    2. The client changing things. Cover yourself. Make sure you have T &C's etc to cover all eventualities. If they change things, you will need more time.

    3. I'm out of my depth. Don't take on a job you may struggle with (or delegate in your case). If you do take it on, you either need to charge more as you'll need to put in extra time,
    otherwise put it down to experience.

    I know I've probably simplified it too much, but I hope it helps and good luck!
    Mark2000 likes this.
  8. Mark2000

    Mark2000 New Member

    thanks Carl, really appreciate your perspective on this.

    I am sorry to hear about your stresses regarding work and certainly empathise with you. I too am freelance and have been for over 14 years and know how stressful it can be when you have inconsistencies with the amount of work coming in, but yet still the same bills going out each month. It sounds like a positive that you are seeking help. May I ask what type of person you are seeing and if you can recommend someone who you think may be worth me speaking too? I have spoken to a GP based councillor before but not a specialist in this area if one exists??

    Thanks for the kind words about my career, it means a lot. I think you might be right as it seems like I have lost my confidence in doing the work myself and always outsourcing it as I feel I won't be able to handle the deadlines / pressure. My fear is that if I do take a project on and then screw it up it will affect the small business that I have built up over the years.

    My current business is very much 3D & Animation focused but I am considering rebuilding my career in graphic design. I had thought about starting out by redesigning a few local businesses websites and more specifically mobile and tablet based design versions of the websites. My idea then was to show this work in my portfolio to then try and seek permanent employment with a local company.
  9. Mark2000

    Mark2000 New Member

    thanks Wardy, much appreciated. Please can you send me a link to some T & C's that may be tailored to my needs?
  10. Wardy

    Wardy Well-Known Member

    I'll be honest and say I don't have any. Do as I say, not what I do! I'm sure others can help you there.

    Most of my work comes from regular clients and they know my rules and I theirs, but generally I keep things simple these days.
  11. @GCarlD

    @GCarlD Well-Known Member

    If you have spoken to your GP I'm sure he/she knows better than I do, maybe re-visit your GP and have a word. Don't let them tell you there is nothing more they can do, there is lots of help out there, you'd be surprised. It took me a very long time, to say the least, of re-visiting my GP from time to time and constantly complaining about the same thing. I did a lot of research online about my problem, presented my GP with my findings and pretty much demanded he referred me to the people I needed to see. Eventually I guess he got tired of me and finally sent me to see a 'specialist' in my problem area, who in turn put me in touch with the right person.

    I'm no expert but I would of recommended you to see a counsellor, this is only because I am familiar with what they do, due to a close family member of mine being a professionally trained counsellor. But you have already tried that, how did it go for you? There are also lots of different types of therapists, including ones trained for specific problems. If counselling isn't for you, have you thought about seeing a psychotherapist, and maybe have a some cognitive therapy sessions?

    I do a bit of motion graphics myself, but I haven't been able to really develop my skills in that area, as rarely gain that type of work in order to really push myself. Absolutely love it though.
  12. jungledrum

    jungledrum Member

    great advice :)

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