I can say that now because I really can stay at home, wrap myself up and stay in my PJs. The weather is awful at the moment - windy and wet, but I don't really mind.
Because I have been reading quite a lot lately, I have decided to re-read Twilight. You know when you're at a restaurant, maybe at a Tapas place and they give you a drink to 'cleanse the palate' so all the flavours don't mix together? Well, that's what Twilight is to me. A lemon drink that washes everything away in between business books and old classic novels. It's so deliciously trashy, I cannot put it down.
I get that the book is really bad, but I don't care. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure. Bella annoys the hell out of me - she's such a miserable cow. And Edward borders on old school romantic and real time creepy stalker. But there's nothing more delirious than teenage love, so the book sits open with all my others.
I had someone call me after seeing my details on Gumtree today - of all places. I hate the sales process - the moment where you've got to pretend you're 1000 times better than anyone. Thankfully, my generation and the one that proceeds it are not into the big, long winded sales pitches. They just want to know how much and what they'll get. These guys seemed about my age, a little older even so that works out fine for me.
I think I'd better sort out the grocery shopping. I'm hungry and there isn't much around.
My darling brother has shared his cold with me, so at the moment I am sitting in the study, the heater blazing nursing a very sore head. I was confident I would be okay, but two days exposure won out and I am now sick.
Have decided I am not doing any work today because of it - I am really not in the mood to be dealing with anyone. Have decided that my day will be spend looking at camera lens', holiday destinations and working out a savings plan to put all of it into action.
I have picked up some local work with a startup web company. Although my web isn't quite up to scratch (something I was completely open to him about), he needed a designer who would design the front end of the sites and focus on user interfaces, while his programmer did all the puzzle work in trying to bring it to life.
The money is not great. Actually, it's a touch lower than what I would expect and want. I was also up front about this as well (where did all this new found confidence come from?). He offered to start me out on one day a week, and try and find the remaining money in the next month or two. If he couldn't, it was up to me whether I wanted to stay or not.
The reason I took this was something a little different to the money. The business has the owner, the guy who stared it. Then he has his programmer. Then me. 3 people, in a 6 month old company. This was actually my opportunity to learn first hand (without the risk of doing it myself), what it was like to operate in the industry within the local area.
It was very strange yesterday when I was in the office. At my previous place of employment, the design team were not much more than glorified extensions of the computer. We were hired because management couldn't physically work with the programs we used. So they would feed their ideas into us, and we basically churned them out exactly as they'd dictated.
A couple of times we tried to get creative, but it was not liked. One of the reasons why I left - you were not given any respect for your position or the industry knowledge you had. It was extremely frustrating. An email from one of the girls I worked with not a couple of days ago, about the girl who took on two roles:
"X is coping really well considering.... she is now understanding the frustration of the lack of information and not being included in conversations." We weren't anyone important. We were just there as puppets for management.
Anyways, back to yesterday. I was completely unprepared for how the owner would want to work with me. He asked me to create a landing page for the company website - something they can send people to if they clicked on advertising. He showed me where their media was saved (banners, cards, etc) and to base it around that.
So I did. And he looked at it. And asked, "What do you think?". And I said, "Honestly?". And he laughed and said, "Yes - that's what I want you for." So I started with the layout, the call outs, the fact that the hierarchy was all wrong. What did you want them to do when they got there? What is the end result you're looking for?
And his answer? "Good. Okay. Can you go and re-do the page to how you think it should be, what it should include." And I did. And he took one look at it and said, "You're right. Much better."
I thought he was playing around with me. Then I lost all confidence - what if I was wrong? What if I should have just taken the easy, no think option and copied the current material and let him do what he wanted. But I wasn't wrong. Which made me dislike the old place even more because they had taught me not to think about my training and my expertise and just go with whatever they said.
Anyways. The whole point of working there at the moment is that I get a chance to be involved and be what I was hired to be. And only 3 people? So much control, and so much opportunity to learn, especially from the programmer and from the guy who owns the business.
We'll see how it all goes.
My sister and I have created a story that centres around my dog, Charlie. It started when he was a very small puppy, and has now developed into a full blown epic tale of wonder, 2 1/2 years in the making. Charlie was nicknamed, "Charlie, the Space Dog".
Charlie the Space Dog lives with his mum and dad in the big city, a long way away from where he was born. Charlie comes from a distant planet in the universe, and was left behind by accident when the crew from his spaceship left without warning. Charlie is very clever and wears a bright red cape. His mission is to defeat the evil McJimmius, which leads him into lots of trouble.
If you can picture it, the evil McJimmius (who get's loads of screen time) basically looks like Charlie's dad, but with an evil beard and moustache. Charlie's dad is a very important engineer, and Evil McJimmius is always trying to steal his ideas. Charlie (and the future character Lucy) are the only one's who see the resemblance and know he's up to no good.
Some of the plot lines include, "Charlie goes to the country" (when we visit my mum in Inverell), "Charlie the Space Dog, stranded on the M5" (A morning where hubby, Charlie and I were stuck in traffic, and the car overheated and broke down) "Charlie get's a friend" (When Lucy enters the picture).
We've also come up with two story lines to help kids learn about important things like, "Charlie get's depression" (He missed being with his friend Ted in the country), "Charlie says goodbye" (A topic which covers the fact that mum's dog Ted died recently) and "Charlie meets Trevor", (Trevor belongs to a lesbian couple at our dogpark).
We keep meaning to write the book, but never get around to it. I have Googled it and it seems quite complex according to the children's authors (they may be afraid of the competition??). Have had the urge today to start writing about it, and may write some notes.
“It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.” - Sophocles
I cannot remember, for the life of me when it was everyone else's responsibility to make sure that you didn't do anything stupid. I must be mistaken to think that, if something goes wrong - due to your lack of sense about personal welfare, and the welfare of those around you, then you need to take responsibility for the choices you've made.
This week, a resident of my home town was involved in a very serious and sad accident. While attempting to car surf, this 20/21 year old fell and landed on his skull and is now in an induced coma in hospital. The driver, has been arrested and charged with dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm, negligent driving (occasioning grievous bodily harm) and negligent driving.It's sad.
The poor guy is pretty young and it seems the situation has ended very badly. If I was his mother, his girlfriend or his sister, I would be very upset about it all.But it seems like anyone and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon that it wasn't his fault, and that the media - while beating up the whole 'planking' meme has in some way, encouraged this.
I had to re-read the Facebook posts again and again to realise that these people, think that it's someone else's fault that this has happened. No, it's his fault. He jumped on the roof of a moving car. End of story.
I managed to make it all the way to age 24 without going out 'planking' (even though I'm on Facebook and watch the news) and so did my husband, who quite frankly can be extremely immature around the boys.
When will people learn you take responsibility for your actions?
I have just noticed that it's been a whole year since I started the blog, and ACTUALLY KEPT IT UP. Well, whaddyaknow. I probably should post a lot more. I intend to now that I have a little more spare time on my hands.
My friend an I dubbed Fiji Airport as purgatory. We were there for hours on end waiting for connecting flights* and because it's tiny, (like "there-is-nothing-there" tiny), with bad food it got it's new name.
My friend feels like she's in limbo at the moment. Not Fiji, but the kind where you just 'survive' each day as it comes, with no breakup in between. Everything seems like it's pre-programmed into you and so the reason you get out of bed, go to work, eat and do whatever it is you do is because you're past caring and it's just what you're 'meant' to do, rather than what you 'want' to do.
I have to say - I hate the feeling that you do anything with the reasoning being you're 'meant' to do it. I don't know if it's my innate problem with authority, but I automatically question, 'but, why?'. Trust me, don't ever try and win an argument with me by telling me 'you're meant to do it'. Does not compute.
Someone called me a bad wife for not ironing my hubby's work shirts. He's a mechanic mind you, and they're not nice shirts. They're work shirts. Both my hubby and I work full time, and up until recently I worked more hours than he did in a 9 day cycle. I asked them why I was supposed to iron his shirts. He didn't even iron them. There was no reasoning for it in my books. The answer? "Because you're meant to."
I suspect their reasoning was because it was their job at home, and because they had a vagina it was their duty to make sure their husband went to work every day in an ironed shirt. For the record, I don't even my own stuff. The last time I used my iron was to melt coloured crayon wax shavings onto paper. I know, I'm yet to hit maturity.
I have also been told several times that:
1. You're 'meant' to work 9-5, 5 days a week. Really? Who the f*ck made up that rule? Pretty sure millions of people lead perfect lives and they don't work 9-5, 5 days a week. My husband for example.
2. You're 'meant' to have children, whether you like them or want them - (Not me, but that one is for T).
3. You're 'meant' to have a career [as a young female in 2011]. I like work, a lot. Gives me a purpose while I'm not travelling or spending time with friends or family (once they're in the picture, I couldn't give a rats ass about work). But I wouldn't say I have a career. Career women have shoulder pads, eat microwave meals and bust the balls of the men who sit in on their board meetings. A career means you're totally focused on being successful in your field, at the expense of everything else. A career means, 'live to work'. You should see people's heads EXPLODE when you tell them that you're not into being a career woman. Their eyes open wide, and they stutter, "You want to be a... a.... housewife?" like it's the worst thing in the world. Turns out there are two life paths for women - mother and career. You don't want one means you want the other automatically. God, people shit me.
Bit concerned about my little friend. I suspect that if she continues as she does she's either going to, a) burn out and not get out of bed for several weeks because she's created a black hole depression of some description, or b) she's going to lose her mind, rip the place apart, tell her boss and all her staff to royally fuck themselves and stab her boyfriend upon him asking, 'how was your day?' at the end of it.
I have been in the first circumstance. A couple of years ago. Just stopped caring. And then you stop caring about everything and you stop doing all the things you're really 'meant' to do, like have a life. I think it was a little trip to Thailand that reminded me how cool everything was, especially when you get rid of all the shit people tell you, you're 'meant' to do.
I give my friend 13 weeks or until the 18th August, 2011. Starting today, she has that long to start figuring herself out. If she's still in the place she is in, then I'm going to go see her, and using the majestic plural**, (in the same way her boss uses it I'm sure), I'm going to pick up her skinny little backside, shake the shit out of her and tell her we are going to change the situation.
*FYI Next time I go to Hawaii, I am flying DIRECT.
** The Royal 'We'
It feels like forever since I've been here and written. In actual fact, not really - it was only about a week and a half ago.
So the last week of work was interesting. Not bad in any way, but just surreal. I kept trying to follow things up, and kept wondering why I felt like I had so much 'free time' on my hands. It was strange, as I finished a job, there wasn't one ready and waiting for me. They were basically starting to send through all work to the remaining designer.
That's right - I left with no replacement. You'd find the humour in that when you realise that there were TWO full time graphic designers, each with a very FULL workload. And now there is one, with two very full workloads to figure out. And she only started working there about 3 months ago.
But, it's all done and dusted. One thing that did get me though, was the fact that in the past, whenever anyone had left there was always this big song and dance about it. Everyone would know weeks in advance. There was this big 'wrap up'. Now that I think about it, it was usually people leaving other departments. Our department was a strange one - or my manager I should say. Seemed to take great offence to anyone leaving. Even the two girls before me who'd gone to have babies seemed to have had a bit of rough treatment because of it. Literally, 2 minutes before I walked out of the building, my manager walks up and hands me a card, asks me if I've handed over anything important to designer number two and wished me good luck. Very different considering past farewells.
We're not a big place; less than 20 office staff. So it's not like any of the working relationships were not in some way personal. But, I guess that's what you get when you weren't chummy with the manager. I wasn't too impressed with the silent treatment I had received over the past 4 weeks, so when the 'design girls' went to lunch (aka. Designer 1, 2 and myself) I didn't bother extending an invitation to the person who, quite frankly, made each encounter with them, a headache.
But, a week into it and the place is almost forgotten. I have to remember to email the girls and see how they're going. I could imagine they're under the pump quite a bit. Anyways.
I haven't been doing too badly. Putting positive vibes out into the universe has landed me with some serious freelance work. Hopefully it continues. I have been having a hard time however setting my hourly/job rates though, which I expected - but it's hard.
You have to really 'know' what you're worth to make a living from it. If you keep under pricing your work then, a) people will see you and your work as cheap/no value and, b) you won't be able to raise the price in the future. I have always had a problem selling myself because I know I'm not the best designer out there. Some people just blow me out of the water with what they can do. I'm not bad, but I wouldn't go around claiming I'm a freakin' expert at everything either.
I had someone contact me through LinkedIn, asking if I wanted some typesetting work. Hell yes, thank you. Hourly rate? Uh, no idea. Typesetting? I can do it, don't mind it, a bit tedious if you're doing a 100+ page document. Especially if they haven't got the newest InDesign with all it's wonderful new additions. It took me ages to set a rate. And when I sent off the email, I was just waiting for the, "Sorry, my client was looking to spend much less." But they seem to have not flinched. I even set a weekend rate (time and a half, thank you very much) and offered to work on very short notice for another rate.
I've also been doing something a little bit naughty too, which I would never really admit unless asked directly. I feel like that I need a bit more work in my portfolio and I need real briefs to show off, rather than make something up. So I went to the crowdsourcing websites and signed up as a designer.
Crowdsourcing is when you write up a request for a logo and offer a 'prize' for the best one. Prizes are pitiful, and sometimes only equal to a couple of hours work (NB: A proper logo or 'brand' design where the designer actually gets to know your business, your customer base, your target audience, etc - can take a week and more and cost anywhere from $1,000 and up). So what designers do is they basically do the work for free. They do the best they can and send it to the person paying the prize. They then 'pick' the best one and the rest go unpaid and discarded.
The BAD thing about this is that it floods the market with cheap design work, which brings the quality of professional work down significantly. It also perpetuates that there is no value in design, and that you shouldn't have to pay for it (or, not much) and it makes it very hard for any professional to work if their client argues the fact they can pay on the cheap and get work done (our response is usually, "Go ahead, you wouldn't have valued my work even if you were paying for it.") It basically also lets people think that design is not hard, and that anyone can do it (without training or experience).
The only good thing I can give you is this: it's given me a chance to work on real briefs that I can show to potential clients, who are actually looking to pay me for my expertise. I can pick out a hard brief, or something I wouldn't normally work on and use it as a challenge. It's not a forever thing (seriously, anyone who calls them self a professional designer would HANG me) but just to get a bit of variety. I have heard other designers using it to break up their work (say you've been typesetting an annual report for a week and want to be a bit creative, you may have a go).
But otherwise, life as a freelancer at the moment is okay. It could be different in a week or so, but we'll see :)
I went and saw Ben Folds on Friday, and Kate was the support act - which is silly because she really deserves her own show. The more I listen to her, the more I like her. Her voice is outstanding - the below clip does not do this song justice - it was brilliant live. I think she may have been classically trained, because the control of the vocals blows your mind away.
And just because I went and saw Ben Folds, my favourite... (which he DID NOT do on the night - not cool).
I am still at work, trying to kill some time before I leave so the traffic isn't too bad on the trip home. I half considered visiting a friend, but they live so far out of the way home I decided that I couldn't be bothered.
I am all alone - the air conditioner working in the background, the general hum of the printers. I had to laugh. I leave in a week and a half and they've trusted me all alone. If only the place had something worth decent pilfering. Just stocks of crappy pens, polo shirts and sample fabrics (that no one in their right mind would want to use).
So, it seems that the biggest enemy of the west has been taken down.