After two years of freelancing full-time, I decided I needed to make a change. While I enjoyed the flexibility and independence that freelance gave me, I realized I missed working on a team toward a focused goal. I am incredibly lucky that I had the chance to take the risk of freelancing for as long as I did, but I knew it wasn’t working for me anymore. When I came to this realization, I made a list of all the things I wanted out of a job. My top three requirements were: 1) a design role within a team of creatives 2) a mission-driven employer and 3) a remote position.
A little over a month into my search, I came across a posting on the Ladies Get Paid slack channel for a Graphic Design & Project Management position for education reporting site Chalkbeat. As terribly cheesy as it sounds, while reading the job description I knew I had found what I was looking for. I applied immediately, connected with another woman on Ladies Get Paid who works at Chalkbeat and had my first interview the next day. A month later, I was offered the position and told that my first week I would be flying to Montgomery, Alabama for a team retreat.
“Chalkbeat is one of the largest nonprofit news organizations in America, and is committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to a quality education.”
I was lucky enough to start right as my team members were preparing to visit The Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice. The experience was profound. We took a self-guided tour throughout the museum and memorial and then reconvened as a group to discuss the experience and how it will shape our work moving forward. Visiting the museum and memorial gave more context, and a stronger foundation, in understanding America’s history and how the past has shaped the present.
Was it a little jarring and uncomfortable to talk about slavery, lynchings, and mass incarceration with my new colleagues during my first week of a new job? Certainly, but I think it’s important to engage in these conversations and I am incredibly grateful to be working for an organization that recognizes the importance. During our conversation, we set individual goals and one of mine was to discuss this experience with friends, family, and colleagues when I returned. I haven’t made the time to discuss it as in-depth as I’d like, so if you’re reading this and want to hear more about my experience and what I learned please don’t hesitate to reach out.
The most common question I’ve been asked since telling people that I’ve started a new job is: will you still freelance? The short answer is: yes, but less.
The long answer is: now that I’ll only be able to work on freelance projects during nights and weekends, I will be more selective about the projects I take on. I would be doing a disservice to my clients, my new employer, and myself if I tried to maintain the freelance workload that I had been while freelancing full-time. That being said, I love working on fun creative passion projects. So if you’re interested in working together you can still fill out my new client survey and I’ll let you know if I have the capacity to take it on. I also hope to continue blogging, posting on social media, and producing my quarterly newsletter, but it will probably take me some time to figure out the best way to keep up with it all.
Here’s to starting 2020 in a new role while still working on projects that I love. Cheers!