“You can be whatever you want to be.”

It’s a common piece of advice people have given over time, and it’s something you would most definitely hear in an after school special or “The More You Know” PSAs. As cliche as it sounds, I’m the sort of person who takes it to heart.

Go back in time about two months: I had just been fired from my job, and I was unemployed.

I was also freaking out.

I thought, “What am I going to do next? Do I stay in the frame design business, or do I try my hand at graphic design? Am I desperate enough to take on a completely different career path if someone wants me bad enough?”

Well, as terrifying as option three was, it sort of happened. It’s still pretty frightening. One job fair later, as well as two job interviews, and I’m suddenly within an industry for which I hardly have any experience.

And frankly, I couldn’t be happier.

Not because I actually like the deer-in-the-headlights feeling; although, there is some thrill in that. The idea that I’m taking a job that I have to research on a daily business, work hard to understand terms and new processes, and try my best to show that I have what it takes to learn fast and be smart about everything, is so rewarding on many levels. It also means I have to do a bit of self-education.

My new job, coined Project Delivery Specialist, is a many-hats-wearing, gopher kind of job where I help the Project Managers with PowerPoint presentations and InDesign proposals, I help offshore designers and Business Analysts with UI/UX (User Interface and User Experience) design, and more recently, I’m helping the VP and the President of the company with cold calls, marketing content and research. And everyday I’m getting different things to do, new things that I’ve really never done before, and I’m getting the opportunity expand my skillset.

The bright side to all of this is that I work for a company that wants me to grow. They want me to learn, and they are patient enough that I can take the time to train and absorb things. Of course, they expect me to be proactive, even on my own time, to research  and always keep abreast of trends and new ideas.

It’s a refreshing experience because the managers at my last job were never patient enough for me to train. They would always just approach training with the “push you into the pool and see if you can swim” mentality and often times it didn’t work because mistakes were made, and management wouldn’t even bother to take responsibility for ill-training. Instead they would shrug and go, “Well, I knew she couldn’t handle it.”

I also wasn’t allowed to grow in my last company. I’m ambitious, and the very moment people were leaving and I tried to throw my hat in for higher positions, I would be ignored or shifted to lower tasks. I was constantly being given entry-level design tasks, and my normal tasks were being taken away from me or I would just be overwhelmed because I would be expected to finish everything, even other people’s duties, and if I had to stay until 8 that night without pay, so be it.

Well, enough about the past. The new job makes me happier everyday. Not only do I get encouraged to Google concepts, read about new ideas to improve my job and my role in the company, but they also let me sign up for webinars and project managers are happy to sit down with me and teach me about new programs and software. They even quiz me once in awhile.

Gone are the days where managers were looking over my shoulder and scorning me for looking up something on Google, even if it was job related, just to better myself and my career. I’m done with being stifled in my ambitions and ideals. I’m able to really grow and learn, and I’m encouraged for my ideas and opinions. Competition is friendly and helpfulness is abundant.

How lucky am I to find a place that encourages education and ambition?

I also feel that this is really helping me personally. I’m not the type of person than can sit still. I can’t be at a job with the same old routines and drudgery. I need challenges and different things happening every day to stay content and satisfied. I need possibilities and things to rescue me from boredom.

I need to suck up knowledge, to stay with the evolving and changing world, whether it be technology or design, or even if it’s just how to operate in business and gauge how people react. I don’t need specific titles, even though I’m quite fond of my new job title. I am looking forward to where this job takes me and what I’ll learn.

You can’t go wrong with being in a place where obtaining knowledge is a good thing, and it’s even better when you have people who work with you that cheer you along.

About the Author

Heather Madd

I'm an artist and writer out of South Elgin IL looking for that perfect job to do when I grow up someday. Until then, I blog about geeky stuff, fashion, art, writing, and web comic things.

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