I don’t get the chance to go down to London much, and there are obvious plus and minuses to that. I get more work done if I don’t go down, and get to stay in the comfort of my own office, but if I’m project managing the refurb of a showroom it’s a pain in the rear not being there to direct activities.
As is turns out, today I am travelling down, by train, to check the final work and do a bit of fixer upping to the showroom. I do enjoy the train, but only when it’s quiet, like it is today and they have free wifi (big thumbs up to Hull Trains – Thank you!) and I can actually sit down and do a little deep thinking and a bit of work. Naturally, when I booked my tickets, I diligently booked a seat on the quiet coach, thinking that I would be able to get a little work done, without having to worry about the hoi polloi from the other passengers. This, unfortunately was not one of my best ideas!
Being a designer can often mean long hours of working alone; isolated from the rest of your group, like a lone wolf stalking a prey that will not yield without the quietness of solitary confinement. Well it did until you begin to have to manage projects. This unfortunately means talking to people – and – frequently! I’m sure this wasn’t what I signed up for. At the bottom end of the design career, you will undoubtedly work for another designer higher up the design career volcano. It can be frustrating as you quite often don’t get your own way and rarely get the credit you think you deserve. You have to work on designs you won’t like, and won’t have the freedom to cherry pick clients you believe are worthy of your quite obvious astronomical talents. It’s tough! The pay can stink as well.
As you move up, get better pay, get more of a say, you may if you’re lucky even get listened to, your job will change. You will no longer be the solitary mysterious worker who always has their head down, headphones on, ‘zoned in – zoned out’ whatever! You will actually have to talk to people – and quite often. I’ll be honest it’s a pain. People can be painful. You will probably find that you are actually managing someone else – someone that used to be like you. You will be giving them work to do – NOT because you don’t want to do it, but because you don’t have time. You would love to spend the next two days working on that new product video, brochure, advert, website – but you can’t because you have to go down to London to see the showroom, and have an uncomfortable conversion with the carpet fitter, because, quite frankly, he’s crap! And your reward for this? Pay. you are getting better pay, sometimes a lot better. when you move further up and you manage staff, you take on greater responsibility, the stakes are higher and the hours longer, you will usually get paid more than the guy who keeps their head down, zones out and gets the work done. It’s not just money though is it?
When this showroom is complete, I will have a lot of people to thank. It’s never down to one person, and things simply wouldn’t work if you didn’t rely on other people to help. It will be great, I will be able to stand back – ignore the carpet, and appreciate the fruition of all my (sorry) – our hard work.
I’m on the quiet coach and I’m getting calls every ten minutes! it could be worse.