I didn't fully appreciate the extent of my error until I arrived in Rome. I had decided―reasonably, I thought―to buy new shoes before leaving, not realizing that my entire perception of style, fashion, and “normal” was about to change. I left those Sketchers on the street after purchasing a pair of what a week before I would have called bowling shoes, aware on a subconscious level that everything was different now.
Several years later, I had a similar feeling. I had transitioned out of a modest stage acting career, through a litany of odd jobs, and ended up working for Children’s National Health System, the children’s hospital in Washington, DC. My new boss produced an incomprehensible Excel spreadsheet which supposedly outlined the numbers for a massive, confidential initiative. I reworked it into a more concise, digestible format, and printed the whole thing on four carefully taped together legal sheets. As he giddily paraded it about the office, I recognized that I was a designer now.
That was eight years ago. When my wife and I decided to move west two years later, they didn’t let me quit, and kept me on as a full time remote employee. I’m now the Associate Director for Creative Services, and have produced print and digital pieces in nearly every imaginable format, defined and continuously execute a graphic design system based upon approved brand elements, guide and mentor designers in other departments, and ensure that the quality of everything we make reflects the outstanding care that our organization provides.
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