Thanks. I'm definitely struggling myself (often).
Feelings of panic, of inadequacy, of depression, of trying to learn a million things a day just to measure up to what I feel are the basics of what my career is made of. I have a BFA from a design school, a few years of professional work experience, and I still feel like I know very little. I'm stuck at a job where I feel like what I DO know and what I was actually hired for isn't respected while I make significantly less than the local industry standard. My attempts to lend my knowledge after endless consumption of studies and research is often met with hostility, as if I have motives other than simply doing my job well. The result of these events is typically that an executive makes a poor decision without any education or research to back it, and it goes unchallenged. I feel like 90% of my efforts to do my job are pointless. So I look for other work, and the majority of the job opportunities look bleak. Soulless companies with "holdings" in the name and abysmal websites where I can only imagine an equally oppressive experience. The occasional interesting looking jobs are typically well above my level of experience and it's typically the classic case of the Unicorn. UI/UX + Code and also be a rockstar/master. I'm afraid to waste much more time at places where I won't get adequate experience. I'm afraid of wasting years and the industry passing me by as I work somewhere that doesn't accept qualitative data as important and refuses to do responsive design because the developer simply has to throw his hands up and say it's impossible and that's the end of it. My spirit is crushed, and I feel I have few opportunities. I'm honestly not sure I wouldn't be depressed anyways considering I'm in a constant existential nightmare where I'm not sure what about life could actually be meaningful or fulfilling. I've also taken a lot of time off lately, and I keep telling myself I'll do something productive with the days but I can't bring myself to do anything but sit around. Ugh okay I'll stop rambling now.
Being a latecomer to the industry, I used to think about this quite a bit, but sharing your thoughts with other close-knitted designers/design communities does help.
Man. This resonates all too well. I've only been out of school for two years and I've already felt all that you have described. It is comforting to know I'm not alone, but hey, keep your chin up. I have a reminder set everyday at 10am that says "Make Things // Better Yourself". I think small reminders like these are what force me to realize that you can use this experience to make yourself better even though the work you are doing at your job is sometimes a complete waste of time, and against what you know is right. Maybe this will help motivate you? I don't know, if anything, just remember you aren't alone :).
Looks like it's time to burn the ships and to practice your street skills because the risk not taken is more dangerous than the risk taken.
I hope your comment is satire, because these trite platitudes don't help much.
Gee, I can really feel for everyone who talked about their experience here. I meddled with depression before but nothing as serious as this, I think I have only felt the tip of it. It was horrible experience, and not one should ever gone through it alone.
I have Mengto to thank because reading his story, I had a similar experience with him. Sharing with him also gave me a boost after he replied with some words of encouragement.
Mostly I am thankful that I have someone close to help me out. I had tremendous support from my fiancee to pull through, but it really took a lot out on our relationship. It the end, I pull through and was back on my feet.
Don't be afraid to reach out
I'm here to tell you its okay! same as what James is trying to say. It is hard and it can embarrassing, but thats the first step out. Often things can get worst if you leave it alone. Sometimes, It can be easier to talk to a stranger about it because there are less opinion and judgement when they don't know you.
DN is a nice community and we'll try and help you out if we can. Please feel free to reach out if you ever need someone to talk to, ping me on twitter or at hi[at]jonathanyap.com
Really positive to see lots of great discussion around this topic here on DN. Although I haven't been affected by depression personally, I've seen first hand my father suffer from it and it really is hard and difficult to understand. Its really helpful to me hearing these stories and knowing some more about how people are feeling and how to frame it. Bravo people.
I've also had a recent run in with the unspoken D word. It took me about 18 months to come to terms with it and get help. If it wasn't for my awesome wife I'd hate to know how far I would have let it go.
One thing to remember is that its not always work related things that can take their toll on you mentally, I had a mixture. In the space of about 5 months I had a series of events happen that felt like my world completely caved in, Im from the UK and currently work in the Middle East, this made all of the events harder to take and deal with.
In July my grandfather passed away, I never got to say goodbye and felt useless towards my family in the UK with being so far away. In September my sister gave birth to my second nephew (which was awesome) and he was born with Downs Syndrome, I found this hard to deal with. I felt useless not being able to be there for my sister and brother in law. Working so far away knowing that my family were dealing first hand with hospital visits, tests, it was hard to take. Following this I made the decision to leave my job. I wasn't happy in my job for a number of reasons. Leaving my job resulted in damage being done to a friendship, which didn't help things. I decided to start my own company thinking I would have the freedom to go in the direction I wanted to go in, also being more flexible so I could get back home more often. Things started slow and my self confidence was at rock bottom. Throw in a cancer scare back home and I was truly a broken man.
18 months on and my wife convinced me to seek help. I was at rock bottom. My business was suffering, I was no fun to be around, I gave up on myself. Talking to someone was the best thing I did. I felt I was always over exaggerating at being hit by that 5 months, but being able to speak to someone about it changed things completely. Im now not ashamed to speak to family and friends about what I went through and how I felt, I now have a more positive outlook on life as a whole.
Talk to someone, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Again I have to applaud you for sitting down and writing this. What I've realised myself after working almost 10 years in the industry is just remember to find yourself again. I've also after ten years started thinking that: "Man, if I'm starting to feel sick of this right now, how on earth am I going to continue with this as a profession for the rest of my life?," and it's here that you really have to think in terms of life balance. All these external expectations, pressure of succeeding, seeing others doing work better than yourself, deadlines, not finding work, finding abysmal work etc. is just noise, and it's people or yourself weighing you down.
For me, if I'm going to be in this game for a long time, what I've come to realise is that I need to be in this on my own terms. And I've started just plainly shutting these things down. An example: A client / manager / stakeholder says: "Here's a new assignment, it needs to be done tomorrow," I tell them this is not realistic whatsoever, and if this is the case then I'm not your guy, find someone else. Compared to things I was afraid of when I was just starting out, of losing clients or not getting the chance to prove myself, all these situations where I've avoided projects with unrealistically short deadlines, or unrealistic expectations they've actually turned out for the better. Yeah sure, you might lose a client or not be a part of an amazing project, but in the end it's your life we're talking about, not some insane one month of work—it's supposed to be sustainable.
Again, well written. And I wish you all the best moving forward.
I totally understand how you are feeling, I'm from Mexico and here the clients and some old agencies are totally stuck in terms of design innovation and in general I think.
I know your situation, but man, don't you ever be where you don't want to be, do everything you can to make your situation better, here are some points I myself did and I'm doing pretty well now.
- Quit your job, find one that you do not hate at least.
- Learn to code, believe me this is a game changer.
- Now that you know how to code, quit your job and find one that you love.
- If none of the above works, quit your job and make your own company, believe, this is way easier than you think.
If you need any other advice during this process, feel free to ask anything.
You're amazing ::Air Hug::
I can't find it now, but I recall a few months ago I read an article by a designer whose hours-old daughter had passed away, and the battle he and his wife had with depression following it.
I think I saw it posted on Sidebar and it was an article on the designer's personal site, a couple of months ago. If anyone knows what I mean, it'd be great if you could post it here. I feel like it's relevant.
(I'm not saying 'that post is invalid because this guy had it worse'. I don't want to compare situations. I just thought it was relevant but annoyingly I can't find it now.)
You mean this? https://themanual.org/read/issues/2/alex-charchar/article