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Navigating Careers

by Taylor Slattery | March 12, 2022

The person you were at the beginning of your journey and the person you’ll become over its course may be two very different people. A lot can happen over the course of a year, let alone five or ten. I recently found a sheet of paper from maybe six or seven years ago, where I had made two lists. The first was a list of short-term goals which I imagined would take me between one and three years to accomplish. The second was for long-term goals—those that I thought would take five years or more.

While I was surprised to find I had actually managed to accomplish a number of these things, despite not having looked at this list since creating it, I was more surprised by how little some of these things matter to me now. The ideal life I had imagined for myself is a far different place from where I find myself today. I’m no less ambitious than I was back then, but my values have changed. Looking at this list today, it’s hard for me to imagine the kind of person I was when I wrote it.

Our priorities and the things we place value on gradually shift without us even realizing it. I’m sure two years ago, few would have thought we would still be in the situation we find ourselves in today. And yet, here we are. The past couple of years of reduced social interaction have revealed just how important connection can be.

For some, the change is welcome. The freedom to work from home has meant being able to spend more time with family and less time wasted on commuting. For others who live alone or maybe a distance from their family, the past two years have been a struggle. In either case, events we could not have imagined just two years prior have had a profound influence on our personal values.

Any future multi-year pandemics notwithstanding, your future career path could look far different than how you might imagine. Just as it’s important to have a plan to guide your growth, both in your career and creatively, it’s equally important to be flexible and open to possibilities. The route of a creative career is full of twists and turns and you can never be fully sure of where it will take you.

We are truly fortunate to be working creatives at this point in time. At present, we find ourselves in a market where our skills are both in high demand and highly rewarded. The internet has forever transformed how we conduct business, and the resulting increased awareness of the power of creative work of all kinds to help brands and businesses stand out from the crowd has made our skills more valuable than ever before.

This abundance of opportunity also means that we have more options than ever before. Not just in the plurality of jobs available to us, but in the industries and fields we can choose to work in. As industries continue to expand and new tools emerge, this number is sure to increase even further. All this to say that it’s a very exciting time to be a creative. You never know where this journey will take you or how the choices you make along the way will mold and shape you. One path might reveal some latent strengths or hidden talents you didn’t even know you possessed, so stay open to the endless possibilities life has in store.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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