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Hello There. Next Step Advice Needed...

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#1 Edgecrusher

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 09:56

Hello there, I'm Richard.

Just introducing myself on here.
I was actually a full time web designer for a recruitment site for five years, but have taken a break from anything web related for about nine months for a number of reasons - frustration at work and a close bereavement in the family took its toll over the course of five years, and I just needed a break from it all.
Am thinking of starting to look to see what's out there again, but would really like to get some honest opinions on here regarding my situation, as I feel my situation is probably a bit unique.
It would be nice to post an explanation as to how I've got to where I am but don't want to spam the forum with anything too long and drawn out. Sort of feel I need to try and give web design one more go, or I'll regret it the rest of my working life.

Edited by Edgecrusher, 21 May 2017 - 10:15.

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"Do take care never to sit on a porcupine. The pain be short but them quills be long."

#2 Edgecrusher

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 10:39

I was laid off a painter and decorator in 2010 as part of the recession but had always messed about with websites as a hobby in the evenings, and had even done an evening course at a local college.


I made a decision to use my redundancy money to get a CIW certificate for my CV, and get any kind of web job I could - rather than continue what I was doing. I ended up at a local furniture shop, uploading content to their website, and eventually redesigning it (albeit not very well haha). The part time hours enabled me to do my CIW course, and I was also useful for deliveries etc, I managed to live on about £4,000 the year I was there.


I passed my CIW exam, and went for a few jobs that same weekend, and got an interview for a recruitment site (I will keep the name secret) that was in the process of trying to really push themselves to the next level. They needed someone to manage their email send outs to give their main developer time to push the main site on, amongst other things. I had a great interview with my would be boss, and they offered me the job. It was my first time in an office, or indeed working at a computer - and a huge change for me. My duties were mainly email templating and managing the various newsletter campaigns, and general html/css tweaks, simple Photoshopping, and various ad-hoc web site projects. I was told to try and get a decent understanding of Drupal and a bit of Wordpress, and to never say “I had nothing to learn.”


I was taught loads in my first two years, and spent the evenings trying to learn what I thought was relevant to my job. I got a decent grasp of the command line, basic Linux, Git, a general understanding of Apache servers, MySQL, and then onto SASS, Grunt, Gulp and even bought myself a brand new iMac towards the end of my time there. I taught myself some Php and Javascript but coding frustrated me, and still does… Also spent quite a bit of time with Sketch and Axure, and moved onto Mac only tools like Transmit, Coda, Navicat.


The trouble was, that there were only two web people working for the company, me and my boss. He cut his teeth in web design when people were building sites using tables, and had no interest in learning new emerging techniques. It was down to me to do it off my back, and with my general work duties, I found it harder and harder to find time to learn what I needed to learn, and still have a life. I was promised some help that I never felt I got, and after my second year, I just got increasingly more a more frustrated. They were happy enough with me to move me up the pay scale quite quickly, from my initial £16k to £26 (where I was told I’d never get more than that at the company), so I know I was doing something right, and I did get on well with my boss, besides my frustrations.


This is where I should add that after being with the company four months, my sister was diagnosed with a melanoma on her ankle. It was out of the blue, and it took just under five years to take her (she was 51 in the end). The final year was quite horrific, while the entire time she suffered was still very uncertain for me and my family. I still continued to learn my whole time, though not without ups and down at work, but I always did my job. I ended up working at home the final two years of my time there, as I left due to the frustrations of seemingly little help to push on as a web designer, and an issue with a project I felt lumbered with and unable to complete on my own. It ended up suiting me to work at home, and it was a great benefit to be with my sister and helped me spend the last two weeks with her almost 24hrs a day (whilst still working from her home).


Two months after she passed, I probably wrongly, just handed in my notice, and left. I just felt I’d sat on my frustrations with what I felt was a lack of genuine effort on the part of my employers to help me push on, and I knew it wasn’t going to change. I did have a week holiday but it just wasn’t enough.


I owe them a great deal of gratitude I genuinely do, but had reached a point professionally where I was just too frustrated. I knew deep down that moving to a more web design related company with other designers and developers, not a sales based recruitment site, with just a server admin (my boss), and a web design junior (me) I would learn more, and be able to push on.
The trouble is, the whole experience in the end - rightly or wrongly, left me feeling I know less now than I did when I started, and my confidence severely dented.


In August last year, I went back painting and decorating with my sisters husband, and am still doing it now. I feel it’s time to maybe see what I can do about getting back in to web design though.


Obviously I’ve left stuff out but I hope I’ve gone some way to explaining my situation a bit better.


My worry is the whole nature of working at that office has tainted my impression of that environment. Not claiming to be perfect, but I tried hard. I worry my lack of programming lets me down. I still feel I would need help at any design agency, though would probably surprise people at what I know at the same time.


Would be good to get some opinions. I am now 44 by the way…

Edited by Edgecrusher, 21 May 2017 - 10:40.

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"Do take care never to sit on a porcupine. The pain be short but them quills be long."

#3 Appernetic

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 12:03

I would keep on learning. Today you have lots of information and help online such as github, stackoverflow, youtube, Facebook etc and Courses such as Coursera.com. You can read a book or two.

One thing I realy recommend to also learn is growth hacking. Then you can help any business.
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