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Oh, hey. It's been just about three years since my last post. I've definitely let things here slide by unattended, and have focused more on the mundane day-by-day instead of overall goals. I've been working with the same company I mentioned previously, and it's honestly been pretty great overall. I've made some amazing friendships and have had a lot of fun being a part of such an amazing, close-knit team. As a bonus, I have learned a lot about my craft, further refining my skills and regaining confidence in the field of design. I've taken on a ton of extra responsibilities within my department, and have been trained in on a handful of specialized teams. All of this was done with the intention of moving up within the company, and learning as much as I could during my time here. Unfortunately, my time here is close to an end. One month from today, July 28, will be my last day. There has been a company restructuring, and the executive staff has decided that my entire department will be no longer needed. This is eliminating jobs for over 100 people in my department alone. Yup. Ouch. We found out back in February, and none of us saw it coming. I've experienced such a range of emotions since then, and everyone has dealt with it differently. In a way, it's nice that it's happening to all of us instead of just a few, since it's much easier for us to relate to one another. It's brought us all together, and unified us as a team more than ever before, but it's also bittersweet since we all know it will soon come to an end. For me, during the first two months, I think I cycled through the stages of grief at least a dozen times. I then sunk into a weird, emotionless void, where I knew a huge change was coming but I didn't want to think about it, so I did my best to just ignore it and try to live in the present. (Admittedly, I didn't always succeed.) The past few months I've spent building up my portfolio and preparing for the imminent job hunt. I finally finished my updated portfolio website earlier this week, and am hopeful that it will be of use in landing another graphic position. I've really been trying to focus on the positives instead of the negatives. Funnily enough, looking back on my blog posts here has helped. I was going through a lot of the same things three years ago as I am now, and it's been nice to reflect back on those hopeful feelings. It's definitely a similar cycle, and although this time it wasn't as much on my terms, it's still very much the same. I do have hope that this unexpected change will lead to better things, but I will confess that I am terrified that I will be taking a step backwards. I guess all I can do in the meantime is just try to be positive and keep my head up. I have learned so much during my time here, so I am in a much better position than I was three years ago. And in all honesty, this could be a really good time for a change of pace, and a great opportunity to see some new faces and have new experiences. My life has become a bit stale as of late, so this could very well be the kick in the ass I needed to take a step forward into a new, brighter future. I will do my best to post updates when I can, and I'll try to keep you all in the loop. I'll also be posting a few of the projects I've worked on over the past few years, and maybe even get that Pinterest Find of the Week up and going again (although probably not weekly as before). I'll end with a quote from my "Firsts & Lasts" post: This time last year, I was in the exact same place as I was this year. This time next year, essentially everything has the potential to be different. Fingers crossed it will be for the best! :)

Week two at the new job has almost officially come to an end, and it was surprisingly good. They threw us in on actual orders right away, beginning Monday morning. I think most of us are processing pretty slowly, but it's expected and is actually preferred that way. We aren't messing anything up, and we're able to learn through our own mistakes as they come. The week started off a little rough, and there was definitely a point Monday afternoon, where I was just thinking, "I want to go home", but the rest of the day evened out, and I settled in. Since we've been processing actual orders, our job is to look through them and catch things that customers had either missed, or not taken the time/care to fix themselves. It's amazingly horrifying what some people send in, and the customers even get to see previews of their orders when they submit. They don't magically go from shit to glory. It's our team that makes it go from shit to glory, with a lot of strained eyes and carpal tunnel. It does seem like a lot of the processing is the same, and I can definitely see how it could get repetitive. I haven't minded that at all, so far, but I am also taking way more care than I probably will come December. Right now, it's more about testing the boundaries and getting our skill set up to speed with the demands of regular, full volume processing. Our assigned evaluators go through our completed orders and then send them off to print or back to us if changes are needed. So far I haven't had any awful mistakes that would likely have come back as reprints, so that's a relief. Although, my orders for today haven't been checked over yet, so that could change. Hopefully not! It's definitely a different kind of atmosphere here, too. I think that's the most amazing thing about it so far. My last job seemed to stifle fun and creativity, and here it's completely welcomed. The ten of us, plus our evaluators, all get along wonderfully so far. Both of our on-site evaluators have moved here from another location, so in a way, we're all new here. We're all in the same boat, and we all are essentially strangers. It's an even playing field, which is quite nice. At my last job, it was really tough at first, because I was going into a tight-knit group of close friends so it was difficult to break in and feel like I belonged. Here, it's different. Our entire team gets along great. I've had lunch with a few of them already, and it's definitely starting to feel more natural. Some people are already making vague future plans for things to do as group PDT Outings. Tonight, we're meeting up for our "First Official PDT Happy Hour". Yup. Right?! My old job didn't do anything even similar to that, so it really is refreshing to be in this new, fun environment. All in all, things are going pretty well. I have my own desk area, a private little lock box on wheels, two (!) computer screens, and my own phone number. Wowsers. I imagine it will be a lot more hectic when the orders ramp up, but I think we're going to be given plenty of time to really learn the process and therefore, plenty of opportunity to succeed. I'm definitely happy so far, and hopeful that things will continue to improve as we get to know the job and each other a little better. This weekend should be a nice relief from the past few stressful weeks, even though it will involve a ton of driving. But I'll get to see my puppies, my preggo friend, and my birthday cake. Yum and yay!

So. My first official week at my new job has been completed. Overall, I think it went pretty well, which is a huge relief. The training process was incredibly thorough, so there was a lot of information thrown at us in a relatively short period of time. Including myself, there were ten new hires for the Production Design Team, and everyone seems to get along great. There hasn't been a large amount of time for mingling and really getting to know each other, but I do like everyone so far. I think we'll be an incredibly strong team once we all get the hang of things. The position seems to involve a lot more customer contact than I was expecting, but we've been given a lovely little booklet of phone scripts to work through for a variety of possible concerns. We haven't had too much practice with that yet, but I think once there is actual back-and-forth dialogue with the customers, things should (hopefully) flow naturally. I have always been the kind of person to hate being on the phone, so I think this may provide my biggest challenge with the position. As much as I will probably dread making the first few calls, I am glad to get the experience and hopefully get over that phone-hatred that I've always had. We've been told that this week is going to involve a lot of shadowing and one-on-one time with specific evaluators we've been assigned to. I'm thankful that my assigned evaluator is actually located in the building, as some of us will have to work with evaluators from satellite locations. I'm anxious to see how this week will go, and I have a feeling we're going to be thrust pretty quickly into doing things on our own. Since college, I honestly don't think my brain has had to work this hard to actually learn and remember things. I understand most of the bits and pieces so far, but it's just a matter of putting everything together in the expected process. That might be a bit tough, so we'll have to see how that all goes. I'm just trying to keep my head up and stay positive, and not get too overwhelmed. We're all in the same boat, and it's to be expected. It's really incredible to think about how much has changed in one short week. I already feel like leaving my old job happened a really long time ago, which I find kind of funny. I spent so much of my life there, and I'm already barely looking back. I think that just goes to show that this was really a good change for me, and it truly was long overdue. This year really seems to be about forward progress, and I think a lot of that comes down to my mindset. It's amazing what we can accomplish if we refuse to get caught up in the shitty parts of life and give up. I really hope that good things will start falling into place, as long as I keep myself open to it and take some chances. I'll be sure to keep updating on the new job, and once things settle down a bit and cash flow gets going again, I'm hopeful to start focusing a little more on designing and selling through Ruby July. Hopefully this week goes as well as the last! I'll post again soon! :)

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