The Accidental Designer - Part III

Mikey 9 comments
  • Design
The Accidental Designer - Part III

It took me a few months to become comfortable in my new job. My skills improved each day yet I remained humble, and I am glad to say I didn't have that elitist snob attitude a lot of other designers seemed to have. That came later.

As the company grew we moved into a bigger office, and I was happy to be trading my shared small cubicle for something bigger. After a few years the company eventually let me down (with the ATO involved - but that's another story), and I resigned. Most of the other employees followed suit.

I had a plan. I felt I had acquired enough knowledge working so close to bald guy that I could start my own web dev company, and a few weeks later Creative 9000 was born.

"I accepted a webmaster's position for a well known celebrity who runs Perth's best known 'escort service'"

My Experience with bald guy's company and Creative 9000 opened many doors. I accepted a webmaster's position for a well known celebrity who runs Perth's best known 'escort service'. She wanted me to project manage a team during the development of what was going to be Australia's largest online gig and business portal.

I barely had my hands in Photoshop during that time as my role was primarily managing the project, although I created the design that made it to launch.

When the project eventually launched I had little to do. My employer was happy to keep me and I was happy to spend my time getting paid well to do personal projects.

But as a designer, I felt I had spent too much time away from a 'hands on' position. Less than 5% of my total time was spent on any design applications and I was getting edgy and knew I needed to move on. Designers are essentially artists after all and we need to keep venting creativity lest we go insane. That said, I find I enjoy coding just as much and sometimes preferable.

As if the design Gods were listening, I was suddenly head hunted by a company that we had contracted during the development of failed portal site. They offered me a Lead Designers position, which I accepted much to my former employer's annoyance.

She desperately wanted me to stay, even trying to negotiate a situation where I would be with her three days a week and them the other two days. That was never going to happen.

I expected my future with the 'fickle mistress' would not be promising if I had stayed. And as my partner and I had just given birth to our first child I needed something more secure and less stressful.

A lot has happend since then. Today I am Senior Designer for the same great Perth based company and I have a great team under me. I'm known as a bit of a web standards Nazi but in this industry that's actually a compliment.

"Any designer that claims he has learned everything has learned nothing"

I always remember my accidental roots and try not to get too cocky, although everyone tells me I have earned the right by now. I know my skills have been finely tuned for a while now. I'm happiest when designing and coding a harmony of XHTML and CSS.

Creative 9000 (which I was still running in my spare time) was eventually acquired and afforded me more time with my family, my second child being born about 9 months before the acquisition.

The awkward noob in me is long gone, yet I am still learning. Any designer that claims he has learned everything is lying.

I still look back and wonder where I would be today had I not taken that sick day back in 1999, and I can't imagine. It's classic serendipity.

But I do know that if a short round bald guy had not taken a chance on a Photoshop noob, my life would be completely different today.

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Wednesday 7th February 2007 | 06:38 AM

Its all true ;) Used to work with this snob ;) hes bloody good!

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Tuesday 13th February 2007 | 01:19 AM

It's a long way from making tunes on the Amiga, too!

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Tuesday 13th February 2007 | 04:11 PM

Geez that small shared cubicle looks familiar!

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Tuesday 13th February 2007 | 04:37 PM

Does that take you back, Muzza? :-)

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Monday 26th February 2007 | 11:52 PM

LOL i remember it all! even remember doing work exp with my older brother at the shared cubicle place :P Also going to his house to play quake 2 hahaha. oh the days! the days i miss so much :(


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Tuesday 6th March 2007 | 01:36 AM

I worked with Michael at his fickle mistress job and I have to add that I learnt heaps from Michael.

I had only used pulisher by this stage and once starting work on the entertainmetn guide web site i learnt mainly from Michael how to use Photoshop and dreamweaver and my skills got so much better becuase of it.

I am still amateur but do websites for friends and co-workers sometimes, but maybe one day I might get more time to hone my skills better.

Just want to say thanks to Michael, you taught me much and lead me on to a better knowledge past. There is not much on a computer I can't use now and love learning new things and programs.

I am sort of jack of all trades and master of none.. LOL
But I'm happy with that.

Thanks Michael.

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Sunday 25th March 2007 | 09:18 PM

One of the best stories I have read about accidental careers. Lucky you still like your career. Did 'bald guy' have a name? :-P
Thanks for sharing.

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Monday 2nd July 2007 | 12:29 AM

Curious you made mention of the 'design gods'. Perhaps you are religious after all? ;-)

May I suggest of you made the text a little darker and add a few pixels to the line hight you will have one of the easiest to read blogs on the interweb. Very nice and it even validates!

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Monday 2nd July 2007 | 09:32 PM

Thanks Fargo. I will take that under advisement :-)

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