If I were to survey most of you reading this blog, you’d probably all have a horror story about a past job. My first job was terrible. I worked for my dad doing construction over the summer during high school. I worked 50 grueling hours every week in the heat of the Texas summer. It was by far the worst job I’ve ever had. But, it made me realize that work is more than a paycheck. Work should always be something that you love doing.
That’s the case for the majority of the graphic designers that I’ve talked with. However, there’s a subset of them, and I think we’ve all been there, that simply don’t enjoy what they are doing. They love the idea of design and creating, but they aren’t creating something that they are proud of or they don’t like the product that they are designing for.
That may be you. It could feel like you’re in a slump. Or maybe it’s something that you’ve felt for a few years. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 5 ways to get out of a graphic design slump:
1. Take a vacation
Seriously. Disconnect for a week. Leave your laptop at home, turn your phone off, and just enjoy a week away from your work. You will come back refreshed, inspired, and ready to dive back into your work. Or, it may make you realize it’s time to move on. Either way, you get a week to leave everything on the table and simply get away.
2. Maybe It’s Time for a New Job?
If you come home feeling drained every day, dread going to work, and are generally just bitter about your work, then it’s probably time for a new job. If the 40 hours per week that you’re at work are affecting the 168 hours per week that you’re away from work, that’s a major problem. It is stressful and draining on both mental and physical health.
Update your resume and only apply for jobs that you would love. Go for that dream job, even if you think you won’t get it.
Or, maybe you want to freelance. It’s a great option and I highly recommend everyone freelance at least once during their careers. Freelancing puts you in complete control of the projects that you accept. It also puts you in complete control of your income which can either be great or really scary. Your biggest asset in freelancing is recommendations from past clients. You may need to take on projects at first that you aren’t passionate about, but as you build your client base you’ll have more opportunity to say no in the future.
3. Find a Passion Project
If you’re not enjoying what you’re currently working on, but still love your job, it’s time to find a passion project. What’s the one thing that you would love to work on if money wasn’t an option? For me, that’s Church Media Source. For you, that may be helping a local nonprofit, creating tutorials, or taking on a few freelance clients. It doesn’t matter what the project is, just find something that you love that you can spend a few hours working on every week.
4. Contribute to marketplaces
Creating projects to put on marketplaces can help to give you a creative spark. Obviously, I’d love for you to become a contributor on Church Media Source, but there are dozens of other marketplaces online that you can contribute to. Making your work available on a marketplace is also a great way to supplement your income. You can easily add a few thousand dollars per year to your bank account through online marketplaces.
5. Just Do Something
There are tons of other ways that you can overcome a slump in your career. Be creative, after all that’s one of your biggest skills. Travel. Pick up a new hobby. Exercise. Read a book or twenty. Learn a new language. Take on a DIY project. Go skydiving.
Find something that you love doing to help reignite your passion for your work. Pursuing things that you love will often remind you of the reasons why you love doing other things like graphic design. Don’t wait for things to get better. Just do something.
Interested in selling your work on Church Media Source? Our pay what you can marketplace is helping churches of all sizes get access to great design resources. Find out more about our contributor program here.