Changing direction

Designing a New Start.

We all have doubts about our career trajectory. Our Designer Mark talks through his experience changing career paths, and re-capturing his confidence along the way:

As I'm sat here, working out how to start this blog, my mind is flooded with the where, the when, the who and how. Anecdote after anecdote spring to mind, reminding me how far I've come in such a short amount of time.

My mind does this a lot, flooding my thoughts with ideas and possibilities. Usually, it's right before I go to sleep, meaning I'm in for yet another restless night. I'm used to this, so I've learned how to cut through the static. The take away? Creative minds are... noisy!

I was 42 when I made a life changing decision to leave a career established for over 20 years. All that skill, knowledge and experience born out of years of hard work, long hours and lots of bumps in the road.

However, when it really came down to it, the only thing that I was hesitant about leaving behind was the confidence that all those years of experience gave me. You see, for 20 years, or more, I could walk into a room knowing that I could hold my own against anyone. My technique was simple, over the years I learned to stop and listen. I truly tried to understand what was being expressed, regardless of age, job title or background. I could always learn something.

By undertaking this process, I was able to formulate better decisions and create more meaningful responses. This system allowed me to find my place and understand where I could contribute. Most importantly of all, this engagement gave me confidence, and that's what I feared leaving behind.

Why I needed a restart

Over the last few years I had started to lose my passion for what I was doing, I never really felt settled. It's an uneasy feeling, an acknowledgement that I wasn't doing what I was meant to be doing.

At school I was always good at art and as a child, drawing was always a passion. I was always imagining new and wonderful creatures to draw. I was obsessed with Star Wars, cartoons, sci-fi, fantasy and films. To this day Clash of the Titans remains one of my favourites, because of the effects and the creatures that it brought to life. It captured my imagination.

To this day, my mind remains the same. A constant reminder of a hidden potential, that had never been explored or fully expressed.

When I finally gave myself time to seriously think about changing my career trajectory, it became clear it was a no brainer, I had to unlock my creative potential! And it seemed fated that soon after I made that decision, I walked past a poster advertising a perfect Graphic Design course for my situation. Specifically aimed at students wishing to change their established career. The choice was obvious and my path was clear. I took those next steps and never looked back.

Learning new skills

Walking into the college on day one, I had no idea about the subject, no idea about the skills you need to become a Graphic Designer and like everyone does, I weighed up the rest of the cohort and made my assumptions.

I realised my mind was doing that flooding thing, so, I sat back in the student lounge, and waited for our inductions. I observed and listened. I reminded myself to stay patient and use the technique I'd perfected over my career. And finally, after so many years, there it was, I found it. My place.

After day one, I already know that I was never more confident about a decision before. I understood that this direction was exactly the correct one for me. I felt ecstatic!

I was surrounded by people of all ages, all backgrounds, all experiences and despite that, I felt like we were all equals.

I won’t go through all my college stories (and frankly, I never guessed that aged 42 I would be having ‘college days’). I can save those for another blog. I will conclude this story on a simple anecdote.

There was a point during my studies, when I was walking along Kensington High Street, off to meet my cohort, my friends, at the Design Museum. The sun was shining, I had good tunes in my ears and realised, I had a huge smile across my face. No weight on my shoulders. No thoughts of what challenges I may need to overcome during the day. No thoughts, just absolute joy!

That day, that time, changed my life forever! Life IS too short, so grab it and live it... your way!


Directors note: Mark, thank you so much for sharing this. Your creativity and motivation make a huge difference and we're very proud to have you on our team.