We all have to start somewhere. In a career, in a blog, or in my case, both. Beginnings are hard for me. I am one of those people who never writes on the first page of a notebook because it feels too intimidating. Almost as if the contents of that one page determines the quality of the entire notebook. At the start of a journey we find ourselves in the most raw and inexperienced state, stepping into the unknown. We are a blank canvas, just waiting for experiences and lessons to paint a beautiful picture in the stretched, white space.
As I am writing this, I am about a month in to my second year as a professional interior designer at a commercial architecture firm. I graduated with my Bachelor's of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Design in May of 2014, and with the help of some very valuable internships throughout school, I got hired at a retail architecture firm right out of the gate. In short, I'm the new kid on the block.
I like to think that I am in the infancy of my career. If schooling is synonymous with pregnancy, the first four years out of school are akin to the state of being newborn. Each day brings new discovery as I explore the world around me and learn to walk on my own. In the past year I have taken many successful first steps, but have done my fair share of falling flat on my face. I want this blog to be about just that. The times I have fallen, and more importantly, what I learned while getting back up.
So if I am a beginner, still learning the ropes, why write a blog? There are a many reasons, but here are my top five:
1. There are no personal blogs for commercial interior designers. Or at least I haven't found them. Don't get me wrong. I am as obsessed with home design blogs as you are. They are fun, inspirational, and informative. I look up to Emily Henderson and bought her book the second it came out, just like you did. The residential design community is well represented on platforms like Pinterest and its a beautiful, beautiful thing.
But what about the rest of us? What about the huge population of interior design graduates and young professionals who don't work in the residential design industry? What about the people who work in hospitality, office, retail, restaurant, education, healthcare, or any other facet of design? What individuals are sharing their experiences and giving advice to the people who are a few chapters behind them?
2. I wish this blog had existed when I was thinking about attending design school, in design school, and about to graduate. To build on what I began in Reason #1, this is the blog that I wish I could have read a year ago. There is something very valuable about learning from someone a step ahead of you. They are close enough to remember what its like to be in your shoes, but have made it to the other side and know what advice to give. Nine times out of ten, its the same advice that they were given when they were in the same position.
3. I want to remember what its like to start at the bottom. There are two types of people in the world: those who remember where they came from, and those who don't. I have worked for both. Some forget what it is like to be at the bottom the second they have someone beneath them (and treat you as such). Others are respectful, eager to teach, quick to give the benefit of the doubt, and genuinely want to see you succeed. Those are the designers I look up to. That is the type of designer I want to become. I hope that by recording my experiences at the bottom of the totem pole, I will be able to look back and use those memories to teach and guide designers that come after me.
4. Those who seek wisdom tend to find it. I have always kept a journal of the lessons I've learned, mistakes I've made, and tricks I've picked up on the job. It helps me unpack what I observe from senior designers and principals while keeping a record of my progress. It also is a useful tool to look back on. My hope is that if I have an intent to write about key learnings on a regular basis, I will be more likely to see and appreciate the opportunities that are all around me.
5. I need a project. The real honest truth is that I'm still not sure what to with all of my extra time, now that I'm out of school. When I was taking classes, I also worked. When I graduated, I had a wedding to plan. Now, I'm at a bit of a loss. My goal is to challenge myself creatively and continue my education in a new way.
I hope you'll join me.