New Horizons

2 January 2015

2015 promises to be a year of change for me, professionally speaking. In December, I left my role as Design Director at HeathWallace after more than 9 enjoyable years.

It was a very hard decision to make; to leave a company you’ve poured tens of thousands of hours into (not all during ‘work hours’), a company who you’ve helped grow, clients you’ve helped make happy, colleagues who’ve become firm friends. But, after all those years, I felt I needed a new challenge: new ways of working; new teams; new problems to solve in new verticals. Our industry moves at such a pace, I worried that I was becoming stagnant.

I started asking myself some difficult questions. If I stayed, where would I be in 12 months time? What experiences would I have had? Was I happy? Through months of cognitive chewing, I came to the sad conclusion that I needed to move on.

The world of contracting was appealing: short term blasts of exposure to new work, teams, methods, challenges. The flexibility to choose the kind of work I might like to do. The ego massage that when you do a good job, it reflects well on you personally.

And yet, at the same time it was terrifying. As a father of two young children and the sole breadwinner of the house, I would be taking a massive risk. Contract roles do not come along until a matter of weeks before they start. My notice period was three months; I probably wouldn’t be able to find a role until 2-3 weeks before I left. So if I left, I wouldn’t know where I would end up for months. As someone who’s meticulous about finances and planning, this was incredibly difficult to accept.

Questions gnawed at me. Am I good enough? Can I survive in the far-more-cut-throat world of contracting? How will it feel to be treated as a commodity, rather than an embedded employee? What if the work dries up?

Ultimately, I’ve decided that the risks are worth the potential enrichment this experience offers. And no, I don’t mean fiscal enrichment!

I’m lucky. I’ve got the support of my beautiful wife and that of our families. I know that they believe in me and want to see me professionally happy and fulfilled. We’ve been open about the risks and what it would mean; ultimately it’s a decision I could only have taken with their full support.

So here we are. For the first time in my entire career, I’m doing my own thing. Whether it works out or not is completely down to me. And that’s massively sobering.

I’ll try and document my experiences as I go — I certainly found solace across the Internet when I was pondering change. I feel it only right that I should try and pay some of it back.

So 2015: what you got?

Tagged with For Posterity, Working

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