Picking up where I left off, I had just finished talking about how the industry, as I saw it, had changed in 10 years. Now we get into my sordid career.
In 11 years, I have had 11 jobs, not counting short term freelance gigs and side projects. 2 jobs lasted more than 1 year. 3 lasted almost exactly 1 year. One company went bankrupt. One was bought and sold a couple times. I quit before I could be laid off. One was boring. One gave me gray hair. One laid me off after a year. One laid me off after 6 months. One laid me off after 3 months after bouncing direct deposit.
If you’re allergic to change, this is not the career for you (I’m an extreme case – but be warned, this happens). There is an incredible turnover in skills, style, and technology and people that is mind boggling to anyone outside of the industry.
I’ve been a small cog in a big machine. I’ve work 72 hours on 4 hours of sleep. I’ve almost gone to nursing school. I’ve almost rage quit. I wrote an email to my boss describing, in detail, why we deserved to be fired by our client. I named 2 lobsters, Ravi and Sachin, after a couple outsourced offshore devs/project managers who were making my life miserable. They tasted delicious.
Not every day is easy.
On the other hand, I made a calendar for Tecaté. The models were pretty. I helped grow a small company. I was on a video shoot with a barge mule (it was huge) and cheerleaders and fake blood. I had 3 interviews and a long-term freelance gig less than 36 hours after getting laid off. I’ve been poached and promoted. I wrote a “this is why we suck” email to my boss, and was praised. I helped animals get adopted, and I helped raise awareness for clean water. I was unemployed for less than 12 hours (and fielded 3 offers) after getting laid off. I’ve worked with geniuses and cool people. I made something useful. I made something cool. For every skill I’ve lost, I’ve gained one.
Some days are pretty good. I’ve probably come out ahead.
What should you take away from all of that? It’s a random, capricious, and occasionally cruel industry. Sometimes it takes its toll on people. Sometimes it’s incredibly fun. And it never makes sense. You can either let it drive you insane, or you can figure out a way to make peace with it. How that happens is up to you.
So far, still so good. I’ll stop here because I’ve just taken nighttime cold medicine, and expect to be unconscious in 15 minutes or so. But also, This is about where my talk starts delving into advice, which is dodgy as hell.