I never thought I'd be able to use that expression, but here I go.
At the moment, there is a lot on television, radio and in the papers about employment conditions. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd throws the term 'working families' around so much it's lost on my radar of buzz words and it's starting to sound insincere. Actually, I have a running list of buzz words or phrases that are now ban from being said at the office or at home, due to the fact that I've heard them so many times, they're lost all meaning. These include, Let's not reinvent the wheel and Bigger than Ben Hur. They drive me nuts, because typically they are not being used to refer to something that coincides with the meaning.
Back to my original point however, there's a lot being thrown around about employment. I work as a graphic designer (slash) marketing coordinator at a medium sized business in Sydney. At the end of last year, I managed to obtain one day off to allocate to my study (sans pay of course) and now complete my work in the four days I work and study in the three days I have off. Such an exciting life.
I was originally 'trained' so to speak, in print design. Of course InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are almost extensions of my right hand but when I first started working six years ago my main area was print. At some point, I dabbled in web design but didn't really jump onto the actual building of websites. Designing them was easy, figuring out how systems would function, the interfaces but actually writing them up was never my forte, and I didn't learn how to do it. I eventually moved into the clothing industry accidentally (I am not going to say fashion, it's sport's and corporate clothing, although the industry is pretty small and you meet the same people over and over again, fashion or corporate) and I have been there since.
Now - my dilemma. I am looking to expand my opportunities while I continue studying. However, on one side I have two friends who have been working in the fashion industry their whole careers, whether it be actual fashion or corporate or sports clothing. Both of them claim that there is no work in the industry. People are being made redundant left right and centre and stay out of work for long periods of time or they have to relocate to other cities to find work (the case for one of them). They have even gone as far to say (with a small chorus being them) that the apparel industry in Australia is dying (this is based on the fact we just cannot compete price wise with larger countries manufacturing huge amounts, like the US).
On one hand I look at this information, wipe my brow and smile, and point out that I am not a fashion designer, nor work exclusively in clothing production and this cannot possibly apply to me. I'm a graphic designer for god sakes! But then, I think about it a little more. Out of the six years I have been a graphic designer, four of them have been in the apparel industry and although I do my fair share of graphic design, I also do my fair share of clothing design, production and so forth. The sweats begin and I realise that I have shockingly left myself behind. Although I have learnt a lot in the job I am in now and it has helped me with my studies, I am starting to restrict my prospects. One thing that becomes blindingly obvious when looking at job advertisements is my lack of knowledge in everything that is web development, which seems to be growing incredibly (with the ever expanding IT industry). And I'm yet to hear a designer talk about the industry like the fashion designers have.
So, where to go?
1. Move on from my work where I've already been for 3 years and look for something that I can grow into, such as IT or business and take a risk as I'm not at the market skill level
2. Stay (on low pay), use time away from work to study my degree and study web development and move when I am approaching the market skill level - this would extend my already 3 year time at the company I work for now.
First option is scary. Second option is not inspiring, but can be if I change it up enough. Although, I think I'm terrified that if I get too comfortable (which is approaching) I will get lazy. I've been quite lucky when I jump into something, so that's why I'm stuck.
Feel the fear, and do it anyway?