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Shifting gears

After 18 years with one company, last August, I said two small words which changed the course of my career.

I quit.

Two small words, quick to say but the reality was much bigger. It took months of negotiations, round tables, offers and counter-offers. Having been divorced before, it reminded me a little of that. This working relationship had been built over 18 years and it wasn’t going to be dissolved in a minute by two small words.

That was 12 months ago and I know it sounds predictable, but everything has changed since then. Not least, my career and how I work as a designer. The first thing I noticed after I left was the lack of politics in my life. All big companies have politics, and in my experience, the higher up you get, the more the game is played. When I left the company as Design Director of Asia, every project I worked on had two clients; the actual client, and my boss. My day was neatly split into two, half of it was spent on the client and the other half of my day was spent managing-up.

With the politics gone, it turns out I have a lot more time on my hands. It’s in this free space that my creativity gets its air time. I’m a curious person by nature, and being able to take the time to pull something apart, just to put it back together is what keeps me thinking laterally and keeps my design-mind fit. Just to make sure I’ve got enough to work on, I bought a little race car that seems to need constant tinkering! My career started in 2000, working in a small design agency, which I helped to grow to become a global business. Now, 19 years on, I'm back at a small agency, but this time it's mine, and that feels right to me.


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