ADULTING [pt. 1]
I spent the past few days trying to brainstorm this blogpost–I wanted it to be genuine, insightful, and honest, but at the same time not discouraging or negative. Life has been one crazy ride since graduation; and to be frank, the past six months felt like both paradise and hell.
Upon graduation, I had a very exciting and fun job lined up for me and I was beyond thrilled to start working there. Unfortunately, the process to obtain a work visa was a huge pain and because there were many things I had to figure out first, I decided to move home to get my life together.
Instead of hanging around doing nothing while waiting for my visa, I interviewed around in HK and accepted a job as a UI/UX Designer.
SUCCESS, MY PEERS, AND LIFE GOALS
Afterwards, my life was a mess–I was lost and frustrated. Work did not go as well as I had planned, and I couldn't stop doubting the path I chose–which was to continue pursuing user experience design–as a graduate from that field. Though it may sound strange, I was also going through culture-shock mainly because of the work environment here. As an authentic Hong Kongese born and raised here, I have no problem with my social life; but with the work hours, disparities in the value of/appreciation for design (and even, the creative industry), the boss-employee relationships, etc, I was struggling to find my place. My place doesn't necessarily mean the place where I would be most comfortable in; my place is where I can contribute my skills to the best of my potential, be challenged, and last but not least, respect others and be respected as a designer.
While I was confused and upset, the little voices in my head also started convincing me to give into self-doubt and self-pity. He also planted thoughts that left me feeling nothing but despair and sadness.
"Look at your graduating class–they are either working at big corporates or small but established agencies/startups. What are YOU doing?" / "Your friends are living the life right now: all these fancy events, lectures, fun coworkers, cool projects...and you can't even find the place where you belong!" / "You are stuck in Hong Kong now. So while everyone else is off getting better doing what they do, you are going to stay here and eventually fail as a designer."
Every night I would lay in bed wide awake moping. The situation got even worse when I was disrespected and sworn at at work even though I did nothing wrong. I hit my lowest point and eventually broke down because I thought, 'this is it, I failed as a designer and I don't know what to do anymore'.
That was when I quit my job.
FINDING MYSELF AND MAKING PEACE
[THE UPSIDE OF QUITTING]
I have spent the past six months learning about the industry in Hong Kong and now, I can say that I have learned even more than that. I realised that it is so easy to give into those voices in your head, to agree with them that you are worthless. By strengthening your mind and value in life, you get to see the bigger picture–of what you can improve/work on and ways to achieve your goals.
To me, life is all about having GRIT–to be able to go through shit, then stand up and yell, "I DID IT" with a bright smile on your face. But there are moments in life when you just have to quit: like this podcast I listened to the other day called THE UPSIDE OF QUITTING, quitting doesn't mean you are weak, or that you suck. It just means that you've found something worth more of your time/effort/money/whatever-it-may-be...something better.
[WHEN TO QUIT YOUR JOB]
In fact, I also figured out how to evaluate whether or not you should quit your job. However, ultimately it also depends on how thick your skin is when it comes to dealing with unpleasant situations (aka, shit). Check out THIS MAGICAL LIST I found that pretty much sums up the points I wanted to make!
[PROCESS OVER RESULTS]
Another thing I learned is that opportunities are everywhere–they may be hidden, so you just have to find them and use them to their full potential. Making excuses will not get you anywhere; it is only by moving forward (even in baby steps) when you can truly feel satisfied and happy, because it is more about the process rather than results. Results give you short-term happiness, but the impacts and lessons-learned from the process of achieving what you want will stick with you, forever.
MOVING FORWARD...WHAT NOW?
Now I am spending most of my time on a couple of design and animation projects I just started–they are exciting, fresh, and challenging. I cannot wait to share what I have been (and will be) devoting my time and life to for the past few weeks (and next few months). I am now feeling motivated and inspired.
At the age of 22, I went through my first burned-out, struggled with life and work physically and emotionally, and now I am on my A-game to innovate, design, and keep working my butt off.