There are times in life where you go through certain events that change your whole personal situation. This can be romantic, idealistic and many other things but I would like to focus on my current professional state and which results changes can have on a person and what things you learn. The reason why I want to talk about this is the fact that I have (very) recently started a new job at a big creative agency in Amsterdam and how this has impacted my state of mind, changing of expertise and growth in both a personal and professional sense.
My job includes a lot of aspects in which I have been educated in during my college years and the time I have spent at other jobs and during internships. Yet every company has it’s own tone of voice (one can argue even a personality) and uses multiple specified formats and regulations for delivery. It takes a lot of getting used to and getting acquainted with all of this (to a point where it feels like a must to adapt and conquer) and this much I expected too when I signed the contract. But what is the core of starting a new job or venture and how can one deal with the difference in scenery in the office so to speak?
I have always been someone who has pretty much worked within the reams of 2D print and web graphics, using different tools for different tasks. This new position offers an exciting challenge, forcing me to learn more about coding within HMTL(5) and CSS3, designing interactive elements and animation more than being involved in flat design. It’s a challenge I am willing to accept and face head on but it does make me wonder why there are no universal rules yet for animation and programming for example and I’d like to make that exact point a euphemism for finding yourself in a new working environment.
Rules and regulations
Every office, every company or every department even has it’s own set of (social) rules and regulations. There’s no certain right or wrong and it is always a reasonable question how long it will take to get used to local standards. Around the Netherlands it is common to have a month of “beta testing” the new employee, in this case me. That way, both the new employee and the company can see if the new collaboration can be deemed fruitful and if “the new guy” fits within current borders. In a way this is comparable to designing/coding for different platforms and target audiences. Let’s say that employers are browsers (Firefox, Google Chrome, etc) and that it’s up to the new employee to find out which specifications go where. I won’t go in deep to the technical aspect of this whole story but let’s just say that every developer has it’s own set of rules and a way it should be handled. While this makes a certain preference able (which is good) it also proves to be a burden to those who have to create and or/switch between the different platforms. As is the same with companies.
As a new employee you always have to adjust to a new setting, and this can be very exciting as I have experienced, but it’s also difficult as your point of reference can’t always be applied in a new environment. Isn’t it time to put formats together and try and find answers to these “problems”? Why isn’t there an (unwritten) how to? When I’m making an animation for Internet Explorer I don’t want to change a whole lot so it’ll work in Safari, it saves a lot of time, money and frustration if certain things were normalized. Imagine your new working space working along the same lines as your old one; you probably wouldn’t even need a whole month but be able to work faster, more efficient and have less stress. Seems like win-win on all accounts to me.
“Pay my lip service, keep it eloquent.
Optimistic but never quite elegant.
Still a weirdo, still a weirdo,
after all these years.”
(KT Tunstall – Still a weirdo)