Friday, September 30, 2011

Working 9 to 5

Sorry it’s been awhile since our last convo. I’ve been so busy with classes and wrapped up in my programming document and trying to redefine my portfolio. While trying to get everything together for school and prepare for graduation I am slightly overwhelmed and nervous about what’s next. Every now and then the reality that I am really about to graduate and start my life hits me in the stomach. No more long nights in the studio working on projects and no more Spanish classes. It is finally about to happen, I’m graduating. Only 75 more days left before I enter the “real world”. I’m excited because it’s been a long time coming, but I’m anxious because I still have some things to figure out. Every time I think about it my stomach turns a little. It’s a bitter sweet feeling. I know I am mentally prepared and I am ready to embark on this adventure, but I am apprehensive about things like: Where am I going to live? Where am I going to work? Will I like my job? These are the thoughts that I am excited and nervous about. I realize these feelings are completely normal and just about every graduate feels like this at one point or another so that makes me feel a little better.
I know I can and will succeed as an interior designer but first things first. I must find a job. I really want to move to NYC and experience the fast pace life. “They say” if you can make it there, then you can make it anywhere, so that’s exactly what I plan to do. Initially living in the big apple might be a bit much for me, but I know I will be just fine. Well at least after I land my first job.
Like I said, I have been thinking about this a lot lately and one of the reoccurring thoughts that I can’t escape is how are my interviews going to be? So to help myself out I decided to answer a couple questions that I am sure to help me during the process.

Question #1: What are you able to do? (What can you bring to the table?)
Bottom line, I understand that Interior Design firms are concerned with getting work completed in a timely matter and getting it to clients. With that being said, I can demonstrate that I have great technical skills and interpersonal skills. I am more than comfortable using programs such as AutoCAD and Revit Architecture. I am able to create detailed floor plans, elevations/sections, and other plans such as electrical or RCPs. If you need a plan hand drafted and rendered for a specific type of client, I can do that as well.
Other attributes that I bring to the table are excellent moral and ethical character, a positive and outgoing personality, great work ethic, and a great sense of what it means to be professional and work well in a team environment.  I also have good time management and communication skills. These are essential skills that every interior designer should possess, which is the reason why I got involved in various organizations. Being a part of those organizations enabled me to get to know myself better as a leader and a team player. I learned my strengths and weaknesses and was able to work on them.
Question #2: What are you willing to do? (What are you willing to sacrifice?)
In all honesty I have been realistic in my expectations and I realize that as an entry level designer there are things that I may have to do that I don’t want. However, with that being said, I am willing to do whatever is needed to get the job done. I don’t mind working in the library filing samples or spending time working on specifications. In the end, it is going to make e a better designer and knowledgeable about interior design. Ultimately, I want to learn and be exposed to various aspects of design and business management. I have great presentation and listening skills and I am also able to clearly convey my thoughts and present them to other professionals and clients alike. Most importantly designers are problem solvers.
In my senior thesis class we had the opportunity to work with a real client and design an outdoor kitchen and pool. I really enjoyed having the dialogue with the client to discover their likes and dislikes and exactly what they wanted to gain from the project. In the end, my presentation had a personal touch to it. I was able to present to the client and explain to them the design decisions made and they understood everything. At the end of the presentation they didn’t have any questions because I thoroughly covered it all. Being able to talk about the problem, my design concepts and come up with creative ways to solve it are skills that are priceless.

Question #3: What do you want to do? (What about design gives you personal satisfaction?)
                What do I want to do?! I want to learn and absorb as much information about interior design as I possibly can. I am still discovering myself as a designer so gaining exposure to the industry in every aspect is what I want. My dream job would be one that allows me to travel to other states and various countries as a PM or in another position. I want to travel and gain exposure to different cultures and their styles of design. I really enjoy design because it is personal, for me and for the client. Whether in residential or hospitality it is making a direct impact on those who will use the created space. It gives me satisfaction to know that I will be able to touch the lives of others through my creativity.
                The part I like most about design is the schematic phase. Developing different ideas and testing them to see which ones work best is challenging, but also very rewarding when I have it figured out. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so I try to find those other ways.  I am also interested in sustainability, so I want to be able to work with a firm that shares that same concern.        
                My firm of choice to work for would be an international hospitality design firm that designs hotels, restaurants, bars, lounges, and retail all over the world. Like I said, I want to travel and I want to design. Who says I can’t have my cake and eat it to?!
Now after completing this exercise I feel less anxious about what’s next and ready to embrace it!

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