Words from my first week on the job

Character Design by Peter DeSeve’

Here it is, the long-awaited review of my first week on the job!  I hear lately that many people have wondered what in the world Mandie Anderson is doing at her strangely vague job appointment in Carmel, Indiana.  To answer you, Clint Harris, no, I have not unwittingly joined the mafia, and I do not believe that there is any money laundering scheme in the works.

Yes folks, this seems to be a legit full-time graphic design job!  Two, in fact, for they seem to think that I’m capable of pulling my weight several times over. (I’m flattered?)  I’m currently under the employ of Residential Warranty Services, a sort of new homeowner’s insurance for appliances.  (If you truly care to know, I’ll explain it to you, though it’s really not worth it)  RWS has released several products marketed to realtors and home inspectors that requires a designer to maintain, hence the nation-wide publication. I also do promotional materials for trade shows we host around the country, as well as promotional materials for the company.

So in a few words: I do marketing materials for RWS.  Lots and lots of marketing materials.

Here is a run down of some of the things I’ve learned as my first week as an in-house designer.  They are in no particular order as follows:

1.) “Grab a pencil and some paper, you’re going to want to write this down…” This is the most helpful phrase anyone could possibly speak to me on the job.  Within the first few hours of my first day on the job I received a phone call from the owner of the company spewing concepts for the Las Vegas trade show in the fall.  Through the receiver I vaguely hear  “…business…off… upward…plane. On my desk by Friday.” as I scramble the desk for a post-it note and a functional pen.  I calmly reply “sure, I can do that.  Do you need anything else?  Great!  I’ll have it to you by Friday”  Meanwhile my mind is reeling louder than the  blow horns at the World Cup.  “Planes?! What?…for What…!?”  Thank goodness for my new found friend, trusty Pen and Paper.  I must always, and I repeat, always, WRITE THIS DOWN.

2.)  If you squeeze your brain hard enough, something interesting will pop out. Yup.  This pertains to many good things, like toothpaste, oranges for orange juice, frosting piping on a wedding cake, and my brain.  On day three I’m working happily on one of my 15 assignments I’m given, when I’m invited into a conference call with (again) the owner of the company. As we all gather around the tiny phone in the middle of the room we reverently listen as he passionately relates a new plan of attack for the day.  However, after  all of the orders were doled out, the immediate responsibility of the project fell on to me.  i.e. “Here’s the content everyone, let’s design it into an ad.”  As my colleagues filed out of the room to execute their end of the project and I entered ‘brain squeeze’ mode.  So I sat at my desk and crushed and crunched and crammed and scrunched my poor little brain until something interesting popped out.  And it did!  Unfortunately it manifest itself as a pink and purple radial pattern akin to the Cheshire cat.  But once finessed and adjusted in Photoshop to a more palatable blue, I got the design out the door by the end of the day and my peers were quite pleased with my work.  Brain squeeze=success.

3.) Get freaking organized. I’m not kidding. This, in no soft terms is the most important key to my job.  I am now in charge of the look and layout of the nation-wide real estate publication, as well as a copy editor, and ad designer.  And that’s only one facet of my job.  As you remember, I also design the promotional materials for the trade shows we put on around the country.  And to top that off, I basically do whatever my boss thinks up on a moment’s notice. Oh, and I answer phone calls from 3:30-5:30 for one of the companies in the building.


So those things begin to pile up in the form of post-its, computer paper with thumbnail sketches, printed instructions on how to answer the phones, and copy upon copy of the publications.  So this morning I got freaking organized. With the smell of fresh white plastic binders still lingering in my nostrils, I filed my nonsensical paperwork in an orderly fashion.  Today went unbelievably well. Who’s surprised? Not me!

I can’t complain.  Not at all.  I feel so blessed to be in a position where I can employ my creative abilities full-time with the sort of freedom that is so refreshing to a young designer.  I’m the only one in my department, and my basic instructions for every day I come into work are “make it appealing,” “make it interesting,” or “make it pretty.”  I have no booklet of design parameters. For now I just go and design what looks great!

Even though there is quite a bit of pressure to create professional work in a timely fashion, I can feel myself thriving.  I don’t mean to be trite, but I do really want to thank Jesus for this opportunity.  I can feel it deeply that I’ve been given this as a gift.  Even if it is just for a season, I feel truly, truly blessed.

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  1. Stephanie

     /  June 16, 2010

    Holy goodness they’re keeping you busy! Totally awesome though- every part of it! I’m so happy you get to be creative (I hope they’re realistic about their time crunches though, I’ve seen assignments doled out with no sense of reality) and you’re being stretched AND strengthened in your abilities! Hooray and thank you Jesus for arranging something so fitting for you! Best of Luck (and look back at your post and remember why you enjoy your job in times of frustration and stress 😉

  2. This post was fantastic!! I love that you elaborated on the things you are learning in your job! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Grandma McDonald

     /  June 17, 2010

    Thank you, Honey, for explaining your job. It sounds very “busy”, but you are the most capable person for the job. Your blog was, absolutely, you. Interesting, informative and funny. We are so proud of you!!

    We love you,

    Grandpa and Grandma McDonald

  4. elizabeth

     /  June 17, 2010

    Hey Mandie!

    Congratulations! I’m really sorry I never got back to you! So you guys are back in Indy? That’s great! Indy Alliance is meeting at the Salvation Army in Fountain Square now! Congrats again!



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