Sunday, February 8, 2009

Awkward young designer...

Today is my 23rd birthday. I remember when turning 20 was a big deal and both my dorm-mate and I felt like things were gonna change dramatically between being a teenager to being a 20-something. Whether or not I feel dramatically different... I don't know. I think being an early 20-something in this day and age is really quite similar to being a teenybopper. You're still confused as hell. You're still running around wondering what you should be doing.

If I was born a few generations back, I would most likely have some kind of stable career choice in mind or at least working full-time by my age. I might even be married and already have a baby on my arm. Adulthood came fast for my parents' generation, but it doesn't seem the same for my generation. That period of feeling unsettled, unsure, and (for my current situation) unemployed seems to drone on...

I'm not very happy about my birthday actually. Because it only reminds me that another year has passed and I still haven't felt like I've grown up into adulthood. I still live with my parents. I can barely drive on my own (I'm a terrible driver). I still don't have a real job nor do I even know how to properly search for one. And for the most part, people take care of me. I'm still baby Van.

This has caused me quite a bit of stress after I graduated college in the summer of 2008. Its usually expected that I run out of the classroom and straight into the office. Straight into my line of work where I get a nice cushy salary and health insurance. Where I can finally watch all my time spent getting my degree actually pay off. I guess its these expectations that are really bogging me down more than anything. Do I want a job like that? Do I have to be like everybody else in my graduating class who ran out for internships and open slots at fancy design studios? I'm just intimidated by all of that.

Don't get me wrong. I like my degree in Graphic Design, but the thought of spending every day in the office staring at computer screens moving pixels around... it kind of bothers me. I guess I've been sort of hesitant about jumping into the workforce because I'm afraid I'll get sucked into that 9-5 soul-sucking kind of job. I dunno. I think I'm just at a stand-still right now. I really don't know which direction to move forward that will make me happy.

On the bright side, I do like my etsy shop, and I do like the freelance gigs that I've been doing to keep myself afloat these past months. I've even been given an opportunity to be a freelance illustrator for a NYC-based print studio just a few days ago. So... I know that my talent is being wasted. I know that I like being creative and I love to make things. So I wonder if this would be the right career path for me. Somebody self-employed. Would it be successful? Could I live off of what I make on my own? The prospect at least seems exciting to me, but I do have my never-ending string of doubts about self-employment and failure. I just wish I had a cohesive plan.

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