I used to get pretty excited whenever we had something new to learn at work. As things have become increasingly automated and jobs have become more and more specialized, there were days that were pretty routine in the newspaper business outside of the news gathering process. Beyond the usual deadline pressure of late ads and occasional technical difficulties, much of what I did on a daily basis could be considered a tad boring after doing it a few hundred or thousand times over the course of 20 years. What I thrived on was the introduction of new software or a new way to do something or new responsibilities. In an organization where the only real movement was lateral (or out the door) one had to focus on these small details to keep interested.

Focusing on these small changes and challenges was one of the ways I made it through two decades at one place of work. Periods where nothing really new was happening at work would find me looking for ways to learn things on my own time. Learning how to make virtual furniture and setting up a store, or dabbling in freelancing and social media in my off hours were ways that I tried to keep pace with technology, things I wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn at work. Clearly, it’s not possible to keep up with everything and given the pace of change, it’s not realistic to expect to know how to do everything.

Now, as I embark on this solo effort with Daily Designz, I find myself challenged everyday. While I know how to do what I do – graphic design – there is always some other aspect of the business that is new to me and I love that I have to push myself to go in new directions and try new things. Building this website was a case in point. I have a WordPress blog but I had no idea about launching a commercial site. This still challenges me and I’m still learning.

One of the other things I am learning to do is to diversify. No longer will I be totally reliant on any one source of income. I believe that this is a good thing. The difficult aspect of this is juggling all of it and keeping everyone happy and hoping that I don’t take on too much at the wrong time. Hopefully my ten years in the creative department at the paper will serve me well here as I recall trying to handle competing projects, ten salespeople that all felt their ads were most important and should be done first.

Speaking of priorities, it’s 9:30 pm and I still have 3 car ads to do, a postcard and some changes to some business cards. I had better get to work.