2010 has been deemed "The Year of Change". At least that's what I've been calling it since there's all sorts of change happening for me this year. Landing the new academic job at Lander has caused all sorts of change to be afoot around my house. There's a house to sell, there's a house to find and buy, there's all manner of things to be moved from one location to another...and then perhaps moved again to another location. There are decisions to be made about where we want to raise our kids, what schools are good, do we really want to live near other humans and how far will we have to drive to work each day.
Though I've been teaching part time for 7 or 8 years, moving into full time teaching still constitutes a major career change for me. Not only will my job description for teaching change completely, but there will be all sorts of new expectations and opportunities coming along with the change. And there's the simple fact that it IS a different career for me. Many folks who know me as a teacher or as an artist forget that my "real job" for the last 16 years has been that of a full time Graphic Designer. Which, of course means that one of those major changes involves walking away from that job later this week.
For 16 years now I've made my awesome coffee and sat down at my desk and have tried my darndest to appease the aesthetic whims of 9 year old Girl Scouts, 50 year old Boy Scout Leaders, perfectionist military designers, and the ever unpredictable local business owner. I've advanced from hand drawing every single item that moved through our corporation to digitally inputting all the drawing information while staring at a LCD screen all day. I know exactly where I'll find the guard dog sleeping every morning and I know which florescent light tubes do not need replacing because the ballasts are out. I've even grown to appreciate the sales staff, and if you deal with sales and artists in the same environment you know that can be a very difficult relationship. They want the impossible. You want the legible. They want the customer to be happy. You want the design to be excellent. They want it in 10 minutes. You want the design to be excellent. Even with these pitfalls, I've learned to anticipate what they meant to say when they said something different and with the help of my trusty Magic 8 ball, I can pretty much provide them with a suitable design with very minimal communication.
Americans develop these tricky love-hate relationships with their jobs. I'm not sure if it's the influence of "Office Space" or "Dilbert" or "Married With Children" but many of our entertainment sources indicate that we should hate our jobs, dread Mondays, and put up with the pain only because there's a paycheck involved. There are things about the Graphic Design job I do not like...things I'll be more than happy to leave behind. But there are some things I'll miss. And as I've slowly packed away the artwork covering the walls and the years of knickknacks I've stashed in my office because my wife labeled them too tacky to stay at home (hello pink flamingos with Mardi Gras beads, inflatable Gumby, and dashboard dancing Hula girl) I've started to think about the intangible things I should take with me as well.