One day I was hanging out at my friend Mark’s apartment with his neighbor, Amara, and she was talking about how badly she needed a graphic designer. Mark quickly said, “Mandy can do it!” I was flattered by his confidence in me, but hesitant to agree with him. She asked me if I knew how to use the Adobe suites and explained that if I knew the programs, I could easily do the job. Weeks later I began laying out forms and power points for Amara. When she would forward emails to me, I would read, “I will send this to the graphic designer.” That was me! I was the “graphic designer.” How cool was that? This experience made me realize that I needed to utilize every skill that college gave me. This was a small, but great opportunity. This experience made me realize that just because I received my BFA in interior design, does not mean that is all that I am capable of doing. I gained a variety of skills through my schooling and now is the time to use them!
Shortly after Amara hired me, I got my job at Sears Holdings Corp. (Things all seem to happen at once!) Slowly the graphic design work began to dwindle and I focused much more on retail planning. This was, after all, my first career based job! After staring at my beige cubical walls for a few months, I needed to get the creative juices flowing again and began crafting like a fool. The owner of the salon that Britany designed wanted to hire someone to purchase, make, and install decorations for the winter season last year. Britany and I worked on that together and we had a lot of fun watching bad Netflix movies and cutting felt until our fingers went numb. It was also something small, but it is something we did and we did it well!
My next artistic venture was my art show with Evelina. It was, by far, the riskiest thing I’d ever done, but it was a good risk. I will not lie and tell you I made butt-load of money and the MOMA is looking to show my art, BUT I would definitely say it was a success. I sold a few pieces, got a commission to make a paper installation, and exposed myself as more than just a “retail planner.” What I gained the most out of this experience was the motivation to keep doing what I’m doing.
My newest venture is my new retail planning position with Walgreens Corporate Headquarters. Today makes week three of my new position, and so far, I love it! Aside from missing my baby girl all day, I am loving getting back into my career!
This round of posts was all about using every part of your schooling to your advantage. In the current economic situation, not everyone can afford to take a pay-cut to follow their dreams and work unpaid internships to get their foot in the door. So, we do what we can to achieve success and every little thing counts! And we get by with a little help from our friends! So, thank you Mark and I miss you all the time! Thank you Amara, for my first graphic design opportunity! Thank you Evelina, for always being the positive light I need in my life and doing an art show with me! And thank you Britany, for not only being an amazing friend, but always being the motivation I need to keep on chasing my dreams.