Dear Sam: I enjoy reading your advice column. Your column made me want to write to you because I feel I’m in a slight bind. I’m feeling bored and unmotivated at work, the job pays well, but most of my time is spent looking at computer monitors all day. When I was younger, I obtained a graphic design certificate but never pursued it as a career. I love art and design, it motivates me, and I would love to be a full-time artist. I need a career change, but I’m not sure what to do. Any advice? – Anonymous
Dear Anonymous: I understand your situation. It can be very challenging when you have carved out a niche for your career but deep down really feel compelled to be doing something different. Given your day-to-day work’s analytical nature, compared to the creative drive you possess, I can see the struggle you must be facing.
Have you thought about building your graphic design or art portfolio through freelance work or volunteer engagements? That’s a great way to make a portfolio and update your skills, while perhaps maintaining the security of your current role in a challenging workplace climate. I work with many clients who want to do something “different” in their career, and “different” doesn’t always have to be the complete opposite of what you are doing now. Perhaps just changing companies or industries, yet still engaging in similar analytical work, but freelancing on the side, would fulfill both your need to earn a paycheck and your desire to be more artistically engaged. You will want to evaluate what type of position you feel you would like to transition into and review those opportunities to gain a sense of how qualified you are for those roles given the lack of recent experience in the design arena. It may make the most sense to transition into an organization with opportunities for you to diversify your contributions beyond what you are doing now, hopefully with a path to getting into the more creative arena you seek. Also, start networking in that community by joining online forums or attending local association meetings (digitally, for now, in-person later) to begin to understand what the design industry is like as we move into 2021.
Samantha Nolan is an Advanced Personal Branding Strategist and Career Expert, founder and CEO of Nolan Branding. Do you have a resume, career, or job search question for Dear Sam? Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on Nolan Branding’s services, visit www.nolanbranding.com or call 888-9-MY-BRAND or 614-570-3442.