The offers began coming last week.
Not for Jrex. For me.
It happened after I'd shown them some quick type studies I'd done the night before. The two execs in the room, Kind Big Idea Guy (K-BIG) and Tall Exec had traveled from Detroit and LA respectively. We were trying to slam together six BIG ideas in two weeks. They immediately started to give me feedback: liked one of the typefaces, liked the version with this and that, but could I mix that with the other? Then Tall Exec stopped, "I'm so sorry. These look really good, I'm sorry to jump in like that."
I shrugged, "I'm not a design diva, I just want to get it done and your feedback is good."
He looked shocked, "Do you want to move to LA?! I've got a great job for you."
K-BIG jumped in, "No way, I've got dibs since her husband is interviewing in Ann Arbor. How large a house do you want? I'll call my realtor."
I laughed at both of them and we kept digging into the project.
It's so weird. I'm doing all this ambitious seeming stuff, but I just don't care that much. I get invested in each project and I've TOTALLY made this one happen to the detriment of my body, eyeballs and that poor stranger in the cold, lonely bed, but my identity isn't in being the best designer of all time. I want to do good work, but if we lose this $4.5 million dollar deal, I'll know I did the best I could but otherwise it won't affect me. Even if I get a promotion, I don't care except for the general principle. I want to learn more and be excited about work, but that's for my own sake. I know that this job isn't the be all end all, even though I do get absorbed in my projects.
I keep thinking about what's next. What do I want to do when I'm finally a (poor) doctor's wife? I've got a business model going in my head for package deals for non-profits. Part of the idea is to actually help them pitch me to their biggest donors and help them raise the money to cover my fees. I see that as a small studio with me employing a numbers person and a web developer. Another idea is to go back to school to become a teacher. All I know is that I need to either be directing others to 'make it so' or I need to get out of the agency behemoth and get back to having 'just a job'.
I feel like I've gone far enough down this path to know that I could be a big designer. Win some awards, travel the world, yada yada. Yet it's just not meaningful enough to sacrifice the people in my life for work, no matter how interesting. I've got to get smaller and reconnect with LIFE.
It's definitely cool to know that I was able to jump off the deep end on this project and complete 'the Avatar of RFPs' as one of the participants labeled it, but at the end of the day? It's ideas for parties for some of the world's richest people. Fun and interesting, but not profound. I like not having regrets and this is helping me to check "Big Deal Designer" off my list. I've seen the cost, and though I don't want to pay to play, it's really cool to know I could have. Makes it easy to walk away.
Even if we move to Ann Arbor, I don't see myself taking him up on his offer. (Jrex is off to interview there this week!)