I consider myself fortunate in having had the opportunity to gain lots of experience before recently graduating college. What’s more, the opportunities I’ve had learning in my field have been in working with real clients and products, allowing me to grow my professional portfolio to something I can be proud to call my work. Though all of the work I’ve acquired has been in graphic design and social media marketing, it has been humbling working with creative professionals in the TAP program here at AdEase.
The difference between agency formats and how they function has proved to be the biggest culture shock of all. I’ve worked in digital marketing, and although it’s a growing field, it’s also a young field. Literally, it’s young. It’s difficult to learn much from someone who is only a couple of years ahead of you professionally and this absolutely limits you in the critical first years in the field.
It’s not to say I don’t appreciate every pseudo-Art Director I’ve worked under, but it’s just that without the direction of someone experienced in the field who knows what works and what doesn’t, you’ll always be taking shots in the dark. Now, I’m a fan of taking shots in the dark because sometimes you hit your mark. When you do, it’s a wonderful feeling at first. Then you google your solution to find it has been reduced to a tweeted color theory tip by @Art Director X of Agency X who loves his dog X. It’s devastating and in most cases, it’s reinventing the wheel.
So, I’ve decided to stop reinventing the wheel. Trial by error is and will always be my favorite way to learn, but maybe making mistakes under someone who can tell you why you’re wrong is the better way to do it. Perhaps I’m not being fair to the many startups and agencies that make this field – this city in particular – so interesting and wonderfully competitive, but I can’t help it. It’s refreshing being challenged by someone other than the client. It’s invigorating to have experienced eyes on your work, teaching you things they don’t even know they’re teaching you.
Most of all, I’m proud to be here. At first, I was frustrated to be an intern again. I felt I had what it took to earn the salary and do the work, but the more I do here at AdEase, the more I realize how much there is to learn. I’m fortunate to be where I am, and I’m proud of the work that got me here, but whether or not I feel ready again after these three months, I’ll be in a better place… I can’t wait to look in the mirror.