Being the Newbie: My First 90 Days as a Junior Designer


Ann Wood

on 9/28/2017

18 years of school are officially over. My graduation cap is displayed on my dresser, my backpack is stuffed in the back of my closet, and I’m no longer in debt to the outlandishly priced UofL parking passes. I’ve officially moved on to the next phase of my life, and it’s been pretty freaking awesome. I’ve been the Junior Designer at VIA Studio for the past almost 3 months, and I’ve had to pinch myself, convinced that I’m dreaming. I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and obviously about the working world. I’m about to tell you about my first almost 90 days here at VIA, and I hope you enjoy hearing about it as much as I’ve enjoyed experiencing it.

Ready? Set? GO!

And keep going, going, going…

This is what it’s felt like since I entered the building on day one. This Junior Designer position was by no means a low-level, retrieve-coffee-for-the-boss type of position. I was expected to dive right in, and I was more than ready to get my feet wet. There was so much for me to learn: efficient work flow, communicating with clients, estimating and budgeting my time for projects, getting familiar with our brands–the list goes on. I’m obsessed with this job though, so from the beginning I was ready to tackle every challenge I could to make my best work not only for myself, but for VIA as a whole.

All of my friends were jealous when they heard about our cabrewing trip, and rightly so.

There are so many too-good-to-be-true parts of my job. Dogs are in almost every day, Thursday morning meetings revolve around breakfast, and Cabrewing is a group sport in the summer. We definitely have a work hard, play hard mentality. It’s not been all rainbows and sunshine though–I’ve had my fair share of challenges to work through.

Personal mental struggles have made the majority of these challenges harder for me than they should be. Perfectionism and self-deprecating thinking have been fighting with my optimism since day one. Thankfully, I have some incredible coworkers who understand these struggles and who are here to help me every step of the way and to give wonderful advice. I’ve learned so much from them, and a lot from my own experiences so far.

I’ve condensed a few things that I’ve learned and put them in a list here for convenience. Feel free to reference this list, just as I will reference it to try to remember my own advice.

Ann’s extremely humble words of wisdom:

  1. Be transparent with everything. Over-communication is rarely an issue–be up front about everything you do.
  2. Be self-sufficient. Not familiar with a brand you have to work with? Read up on the brand guidelines. Look at previous work. Don’t expect people to do things for you.
  3. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Be as self-sufficient as you can be, but realize when you need help and be willing to ask for it. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it means that you care about doing a good job.
  4. Just be yourself.
  5. Help out other people whenever you can. Not only does it help you contribute to your company more as a whole, it also helps build valuable relationships with your coworkers.
  6. On that note, get to know your coworkers. Talk to them about their favorite movie sequels (or lack thereof). Getting to know your coworkers will not only make work more enjoyable, it will open the doors for more collaboration down the road as well.
  7. Know the value of your job and do the absolute best work that you can. Work with integrity. Be hungry for learning anything and everything.

Learning all of these things from either my coworkers or discovering them on my own has helped contribute to my feelings of fulfillment with my work. I’m growing professionally and personally, fulfilling my childhood dream of making art for a living, and having the opportunity to make a real difference for our clients. I have a strong sense of purpose with work that I love doing, and it’s a wonderful feeling. This job definitely has its share of challenges, but every job does. When these inevitable challenges arise, I try to step back and remember my humble words of wisdom. I have so much admiration for my team and our work, and I remind myself to work through challenges to help us make our best work possible.

I’ve learned so much at VIA over the past almost 3 months. The exciting part is that I still have much more to learn. I’m so ready for it. Mistakes will be made, frustrations will occur, many beers will be drank, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I will remind myself of my own advice, and I hope that you’ll be able to use some of it yourselves.

On to the next challenge. Cheers!





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