I am never one for regrets. Like ever. But knowing what I know now about my chosen field of work, I would tell that sweet, skinny, well rested geek the following words of wisdom about working in graphics.
Not everyone is good on the computer:
This was and still is such a foreign idea to me. Not everyone can troubleshoot programs, teach themselves the full Adobe Creative Suite. Not everyone can pick up a device and figure it out with a few clicks here or there. If you have this talent... its easy to think that everyone can do it. Let me tell you they can't. If your brain works like this, use it to your benefit. There is no shame in making a living and having a blast doing something that you are innately exquisite at. It is a blessing!
Enjoy your time learning programs; Even if it is boring:
vividly remember a group of friends and I "cheating" a long time ago in our high school computer science class. The teacher knew little about internet history and how to get around a school banned web site; and for that matter how to catch kids sharing work on Word. We were only found out because a lazy co-conspirator forgot to change their name in the heading (come on!) Anyway, while we all knew our skills were superior to our instructors, I really wish I would have remembered the tricks that she did teach us. While I still will never need a manual to operate a program or edit a graphic, it would be useful know to know some of those shortcuts. And to Ms. Smith, I apologize on behalf of all of the hooligans.
Invest in good gadgets (tools):
Now, when you are a student or just starting out I understand the appeal and necessity to cut the "brand name" corners here or there. When at all possible, and when in relation to you craft, take as few shortcuts as possible. Now, don't get yourself in debt or anything like that, but take pride in your art/craft/skills and get the proper tools. I cut a few corners with purchasing a program here or a calligraphy pen there but the better products always have the best end result.
Invest in continuing education:
Continuing education is such a weird term. I mean really, it is. It is such a jazzed up and corporate way of saying... "Stay Relevant" "Know what you are talking about" "Never stop learning about your field". If you are blessed to love what you do then its a no brainer that you will intuitively and instinctivley spend time educating yourself in your field. And I do, I spend loads of time teaching myself and researching now, but I wish I would have done more sooner.
What are some things you wish you would have done 10 years ago? Would you tell yourself now? Leave your comment in the section below.