Looking back, graphic design was probably the job I always wanted but at first, never knew it existed and then, never thought it was something I could actually make into a career. Like Jenna, I was always a super creative growing up. We both loved crafting with our mom, painting, baking, coloring, etc. and as I got older, while most people were using the standard Arial or Times New Roman fonts (or worse, Comic Sans), I would experiment with different typefaces and font treatments for even the most basic report.
In high school, I took the only graphic design class offered as an elective, "just for fun" and continued to be as extra as possible with my projects through out my four years in high school and into college.
After college (where I studied the more practical fields of Real Estate, Finance and Marketing as concentrations), I got a marketing position with a large commercial/industrial real estate company. Wanting to be as involved as possible and really "prove" my worth, I took on as much as I could, including creating invitations for company events and other graphic work. I didn't have any experience with the Adobe Creative Suite so instead, I used Microsoft Publisher, which is now hilarious to me looking back, I honestly don't know how I even made anything work, haha. But, I did! And when I (quickly) outgrew Publisher because I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do, I started attempting every project in Illustrator. Now, nearly six years later, I've taken numerous courses, read probably thousands of tutorials and how-to articles and sat in on intensive eight-hour classes learning Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop. I've created thousands of projects and truly feel like an Adobe expert, which is something I'm really proud of as it has taken a lot of time and work to get here!
I left that position in April of 2016, just four months after Jenna and I started PBC as a way to work together, have a creative outlet and do something we were already doing for several of our friends. My main reason for leaving was the fact that my husband, Patrick, and I wanted to start having kids soon and the position I had most recently been promoted to included a lot of travel. As someone whose biggest childhood vacation was to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I LOVED traveling but after a couple years of it, I grew tired, missed home and felt like my free time was constantly taken up with airport time, packing, unpacking and planning for my next trip. It didn't feel like I was in the right position anymore, with how my life, needs and desires were evolving so I put in my notice and left for another job in marketing. As is so common in the workplace today, I was promised very appealing work-from-home benefits, extra vacation time and a raise within three months... only to find out down the road that most of those offerings were not approved by upper management and I had to constantly fight to get the things I was promised (side note - I didn't want to fight for them at all... Patrick encouraged me to and I'll love him forever for helping me see my worth and get what I originally negotiated).
Still, the constant back and forth about what I was offered vs. actually presented with left such a bad taste in my mouth and after only 11 months, I finally accepted that taking the position was a mistake. I had such a strong heart pull to put more time into PBC but didn't think I was in the right spot financially to do so. Back when I was applying for a new job after leaving the industrial real estate company, I had applied for another marketing position and they didn't end up calling me until I was almost ready to leave company #2. We talked, and it felt like a great fit but the salary they offered was quite a bit lower than what I was currently at. So, I suggested a part-time position for the same salary (which would make the new job in line with what I made hourly already) and they agreed. It was truly a match made in heaven for the season of life I was in - I was able to still make a salary that was in line with what I was making before but worked 4 days a week instead of 5. Dedicating Fridays to PBC was a game changer for me and our company.
It's now been a year and a half and in that time, Patrick and I have gone through a devastating miscarriage but have also welcomed our sweet baby boy, Liam. After his arrival, I found myself at a crossroads again... do I continue to work 32 hours a week as a graphic designer and do PBC on the side, while Liam goes to daycare? Or do I leave the part-time job (and secure, steady paycheck) and balance growing my two babies - PBC and Liam? After lots of long heart-to-heart conversations with Jenna and Patrick, number crunching and planning ahead, we all decided I should put my time and effort into PBC and baby Liam. I can't tell you if it's the right decision, but I can tell you it feels amazing. And, having the support of my sister and husband feels just as good.
I honestly feel like I'm just at the very beginning of my journey... but I've crammed a lot into the last several years. The most important thing I've learned (that I'm just finally starting to truly understand) is that you have to listen to your heart and be receptive to lessons along the way. I knew in my bones that the second job I took was not a good fit for me... but if I hadn't have taken it, the timing wouldn't have lined up for me to move on to the part-time job I loved.
I'm so looking forward to what this next chapter has to offer. It feels like I'm in the most challenging/demanding season I've faced yet but I appreciate and love each day because I feel so deeply that I'm doing what I love to do (both design-wise and raising my baby). I can't thank my husband, sister, friends, family, clients and other cheerleaders in my life enough. Here's to taking a new turn - thanks for standing by my side through it all!