If you’re in the middle (or later) part of your career, what would you tell your younger self? And if you’re a student or recent grad, what do you wish you knew now that you’ll grind out and learn over the next ten or twenty years? Smpl. founder Elliot Strunk shares some insights for the community being built around our tools.
Thought Fart No. 1:
Everything you know is obsolete. Sorry.
For those of you who can still feel the tassel in your hand as you pulled it across your face or the stair treads under your feet as you exited the stage, I understand your feeling of accomplishment. You have a portfolio. A diploma. Hopefully an internship or two under your belt.
Life is good. Four years (at least) of hard work finally paying off. Congratulations.
That’s the good news.
Now it’s time to brace yourself and look around. That list mentioned a moment ago? Table stakes. You have that resume along with everyone else jockeying for the dream job you want. And guess what? Even if those internships were incredible, everything you know up to this point is obsolete.
That’s the bad news.
It’s not the fault of your professors. Well, not entirely. They had a lot do do in a very short period of time. Teach you to think creatively, critically and hopefully strategically. Help you understand the difference between RGB and CMYK. And unless they are full-time pros in an adjunct role, it’s not possible to keep up with the constant crush of new applications, trends and business techniques. Hell, that’s hard when you’re working 40+ hours a week.
So while you certainly know more than the first time you walked into the art building, stay humble. You’re about to begin drinking from a fire hose.
I’ve found that things move so quickly in creative professions that having a beginner’s mind is the best approach. There’s always more to learn from a colleague, a client or a friend. Make peace with it. Embrace it. Stay hungry. Continue to grow.
(Photo courtesy of Elijah O'Donell via Unsplash.)