Why I joined an agency

Why I joined an agency

It has been seven months since I kind of permanently joined an agency. But why? Why give up seven years of freelance “freedom” for working for someone else? First of all, I did not give up anything. Secondly, well, there is no secondly really. It was definitely not the easiest decision I have ever had to make in my career, but here is why:

Stability and routine:
Creative people are messy. And I am not just talking about my office (which I cleaned up by the way!) I am talking about life messy. We create routines and we break routines all the time. We set boundaries and break boundaries and we borderline everything. Working for an agency does not work like that. You have set hours, set ways and rules and regulations. As boring as this may sound, it is actually just what we need sometimes; a routine of stability.

Less paperwork:
This was probably at the top of my cons list! I hate paperwork. And the nice thing now is that I can make it someone else’s problem.

Collaboration:
You don’t realise how stagnant you become when working from home alone. You forget what it is like to randomly bounce an idea off someone else – be it work-related or not. Working for an agency requires collaboration and I am really enjoying that.

Likeminded people:
We all have one thing in common: the agency. We work as a team and with the same clients and share a communal consciousnous about what is going on at the office. It is like having a family you know nothing about but value anyways.

Creativity:
Working on your own, you deal with mostly the same clients. It never bored me at all, but sometimes it just does not make your clock tick anymore. You get to know your clients and you understand what they like and need, so it is easy to do it right the first time around. Now I get to work with a variety of people I don’t know all that well, so the challenge to be creative is bit more of a challenge. This is where collaboration is also a plus point.

Small talk:
How I missed that! A while ago I wrote a post about freelance challenges and getting lonely was one of the points. Everything in moderation, though. Work hard, play hard.

Coffee:
Yup, we have a coffee machine at work too. And I don’t have to always make it myself or wait for Hubbles to do it!

Being appreciated:
Sure, clients say thank you and tell you that you’ve done a great job, but being part of a team that congratulates AND celebrates with you is beyond many things.

Celebration:
On the topic of congratulations and celebrations; it is nice to work with someone on a project and be able to look at the outcome and tell your partner in crime: well done.

Someone’s got your back:
Always. If you are afraid of stuffing up alone, ask someone else’s opinion and rather make sure the damage won’t be that great. Two minds are better than one!

Freedom to explore:
My position is half-day and I am free to explore the rest of the time. Within boundaries, of course!

As I am typing this I realise how many pros there are working for an agency. I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of a team and glad that I took on the challenge. I am having fun doing what I love, no matter where I do it.

The joys of being a freelance graphic designer

The joys of being a freelance graphic designer

One thing better than my job itself is doing my job from home. I have mentioned numerous times that I am one of the select few who can say that my worst day at the office is probably better than many other people’s best days. I really love what I do. And the best part? I can do it from home! Here is why I love it:

My office is mobile.

Hubbles and I don’t have blood family in Port Elizabeth. His mom and brothers are in Johannesburg (1 068,8 km), and my parents and sisters and nieces are in Lydenburg (1 371,6 km). So the upside is that I can pack up my office and work with my family for a week. No one will even notice!

My time is my time.

Sure, I work crazy hours at times, but I do have nice and quiet days where I get to run around the house with the tiny human or blog or search random useless stuff on the internet without having to close the screen when an unexpected pair of eyes takes a glimpse at my screen. I also don’t have to plan my personal appointments around my lunch hour. Sometimes, no matter how well I plan things, I need to work over weekends. It is not ideal, but I do allow myself some festive playtime the Friday afternoon before the working weekend ahead.

I don’t get involved in office politics.

Being very sensitive, office politics are one of the primary reasons I can’t work at a normal office with normal people and normal routine. I am not saying there is no politics at all, but it is not a situation where colleagues work each other up and discuss other people. You also don’t see when your friends are mistreated, which is a real bonus.

I get to listen to whatever I feel like.

No chit-chatty radio stations with annoying advertisements. No conversations about topics that bore me. No bitching. No cackling. Nothing. I listen to what I want when I want and at any volume level. (I have to add that I do miss the ever so often small talk. Thankfully I can phone a friend or family member.)

I get to spend a lot of time on research and inspiration.

My boss won’t stand behind me tapping a foot while I am scrolling through my Pinterest feed or reading a blog post about Graphic Design Humour or something else. As creatives, we need these things. We need to feed our minds with juices from other creatives. It is a visual culture every creative feeds from. I am thankful I get to spend quality time on this.

I don’t have to dress up every single day.

A couple of years ago I worked for a client at their offices. It is nice to dress up a little more than just jeans and slippers every now and then, and one does feel a bit more >I don’t know the word< when you are all dressed up and you actually have someplace to go. But, apart from running out of clothing options, I got eczema around my eyes for only wearing mascara every day. (Read this post on how to fix tired eyes.) So, at home, I like to vary my outfits. Some days I dress up and makeup, other days I just put on a pair of jeans with a comfy sweater. I don’t really spend the day in PJ’s, although it sometimes sounds like I do!

I get to be a magician.

Well, that’s what many people think, anyways. Especially the members of my family. It is nice to be able to do stuff not everyone else can. Sadly so, I also often take this for granted and expect that everyone can do it. You know, click here, do this do that, and voila! Magic. Time-wise, sometimes my clients also think I am a magician. It is tough gathering powers from places you never thought to look for it, but seeing the magic afterwards is just priceless.

So there. It takes a lot of self-discipline and dedication to work from home. But the pros outweigh the cons by far!

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