Category Archives for Careers

How to make people understand working from home…is still work.

Random Person: “Oh man, I can’t believe it’s already Sunday.”

Me: “I know! The weekends always go by so fast.”

Random Person: “Please. It’s not like you have to go anywhere tomorrow, you work from home. You can stay in bed all day!”


It’s only been about a year since I started working from home, but in that time, I have noticed a few things about how people react to this information. If you work from home, I am sure you know what I am talking about. Here are some key points to recognize as someone who has been belittled for working from home.

Reality Check:

A freelancer or entrepreneur, who chooses to be lazy will MAKE LESS MONEY — if any at all. A freelancer or entrepreneur who chooses to be motivated, organized, and productive, will MAKE MORE MONEY. This might be the key idea to explain to those who question what you are doing. Sure, I could lay on the couch, but I won’t make any money that day.

There are also people who work from home for a company, and therefore still have set working hours. It might be harder to find ways to slack off in an office, but if you work from home and report to a boss, they will still ultimately see what you do or do not accomplish.

That is the reality.

What am I getting at here? Working from home doesn’t make a person lazy, their work ethic does. It is unfair for people to assume that you are lazy, or just have it easy, because you work from home.

Just like in an office, a deadline is a deadline. If you have a deadline while working from home, you might just work through lunch, dinner, and most of your night’s sleep. It’s not for everyone, some people will be more productive working from home, and some people won’t.

“Okay, but there are some major perks to working from home.”  True! I will not pretend like my life is horrible because of my work. That would be wrong, as I sit here on my laptop in the sun, on a beautiful day, and type this.

Don’t try to convince people you have it ‘bad’. Everyone deserves to love their job. The joys of working from home are why many put in the extra time so they can keep doing it! When someone belittles working from home, it makes those who do feel like they are being called lazy and ‘less than’. And we don’t like it!

What to do:

Let’s go through some things people might say when the topic of working from home comes up. We can use some of the ideas above to answer these misguided statements.

So here’s the thing…

I wish I could work from home, my house would be so much cleaner.

If I am cleaning my house, I am not getting paid. I only get paid for when I am actually working.

A nice way of phrasing this: “I wish that were the case! But every minute I spend doing a household chore, I am not earning. If only I had more hands maybe I could do both!”

You can sleep till noon!

Yes you could sleep till noon, but that might mean you have to work till midnight. Or perhaps your clients are in a different time zone so you were up very late talking to them the night before. Either way, let’s opt for simple explanation that gently reminds people you have work to do.

“Haha, I wonder what my clients would think if I didn’t respond to them until noon every day?”

“I have clients in ____ so I was up till ____ last week with them. So yeah, I slept till noon the next day! Then I had to run around to make up for the time I lost.”

My all-time favorite:

You’re home all day, could you ______ for me?

The array of things you could insert into that sentence is endless. And you know what? Sometimes I CAN do something during the day for someone if it’s deemed important. BUT nobody should assume this is the case. For example, taking someone to the dentist because they are having their wisdom teeth out. If you give me enough notice, I could probably do that for you. I can bring my laptop and work in the waiting room.

Not everyone who works from home has this luxury. This is what you can point out to people, just like with our other examples.

“Sorry, I have a conference call at ____.”

“I have a deadline to meet tonight.”

Hopefully this will help that person realize you are working while you’re home all day. Just saying “I have to work” might not be enough if that person doesn’t know what “work” means for you.

Try being specific with people and give them the chance to understand. I have found most of my family and friends end up being interested in learning more about what I am working on.

Remember This:

Some people might be making these uncomfortable statements to you because they are just difficult. Dealing with difficult people is its own topic. For the sake of this article, avoid the subject with them at all costs. Don’t engage. Ask them a question about their life. If someone wants to believe that working from home is people being lazy, they will be able to find or make up reasons.

Google “working from home is killing business” you will find something to support that idea.

Google “working from home increases productivity and makes businesses more successful” you will also find something to support this idea.

I am going to be an optimist and say that most people don’t realize how they are making you feel when they say these things. They may really respect you and are just making an innocent joke, so laugh! They think they are saying “look how lucky you are!”. Handling it in a way that makes it clear what they are saying isn’t the reality, without biting their head off, is possible and will lead you both to happier place.

Good luck out there!

Do you have another strategy for dealing with this issue? Share it with everyone in the comments!

5 simple things to remember when starting your 1st graphic design job.

You graduated college and got a job, yay! The weight has been lifted. The pressure to have a job right after college can be fierce. Except, once you land that job, there is a whole new set of pressures to deal with. You are now the millennial, the youngster, the fresh meat. You are the newbie designer in the room.

Hopefully, you found yourself working with others who are kind, understanding, and encouraging like I have. But it can be easy to second guess yourself. Will what I create and say be dismissed because I’m new? Should I assume the work of my more experienced co-workers is better than mine?

No and no!

You were hired for a reason. A creative director is not going to choose to work with someone just to automatically dismiss what they have to say. A professional will want to hear your ideas and see your work because they liked you and, your portfolio. In our industry, collaboration is a beautiful thing. Don’t focus too much on whether your idea is the final product or not. If school taught you anything, it should be how to take criticism as a designer. In addition, revisions and collaboration produce better work. Focus on the process and the work. At the end of the day, you are a part of making something great, and that is all that matters.

You will make mistakes, and that will show you are a newb. But that’s ok! Everyone starts somewhere. When you make an error, learn from it instead!

Here are some things I have done, and anyone can do, to be more confident in their work.

1. Boost your confidence.

Remember why you’re here. Reminding yourself that you ARE qualified to be here is always helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Be prepared to back it up.

Having to back up why you designed something the way you did shouldn’t be a new experience. I at least had plenty of professors grill me, which I’m now grateful for. Now it’s the ‘real world’. Your process may have become intuitive, and you work with designers who don’t require an explanation. However, taking mental note of why you believe this design will work for the project, is a great way to feel prepared to present it.

If you do any freelance work, your clients may not understand your process or reasoning without you explaining it. It is always a good idea to be prepared for this conversation. “This layout leads the viewer from … to …”. The colors, font, etc. reflect…because…”.

Preparation can put the mind at ease.

2. Put in the extra time.

Period. Going the extra mile and pushing yourself until you can look at your own work and say you love it, is always worth it. If you want to get better than you need to push yourself. Take the time to do one more tweak, one more review, one more self-critique. If you know that you did the best you could, there’s no reason to worry about showing it off.

3. Stay on top of it!

Look around at what is going on in the wonderful world of design. There is no excuse for this. There are endless amounts of projects, graphics, and campaigns to browse online.

I subscribe to Communication Arts magazine, follow Ad Age and Adweek on social media, as well as other designers and agencies. I use Crayon to quick search for inspiration and have a Pinterest board filled with cool ideas I might want to see again later. This is called a swipe file, you can create your own library of them using whatever method you’d like.

Communication Arts magazine is available in print and PDF download.

Netflix has also come out with a documentary series called Abstract: The art of Design which features greats from many different aspects of the design world. I haven’t finished it yet, but have really been inspired by what I’ve seen. There are also actual hard cover books you can hold in your hand (or download) about design. For me, doing this is everything. Nothing makes me more excited to get up and do my best work more than checking out the amazing things fellow designers are doing.

When you feel motivated and on top of what’s going on, you won’t feel so unsure!

4. Google is your secret weapon.

Want to look like you know what you’re doing, but you don’t know how to do something? How lucky we are to have the internet. I have Googled how to create plenty of styles and learned many tricks through tutorials I found through a quick Google search. Also, don’t be afraid to ask someone!

5. Refresh yourself.

While getting your head in the game is key, taking it out is just as important. Always make time to do things that are not related to work that make you happy. You might be surprised at how a little break from a project may be just what you needed to solve the problem.

From one newbie designer to another, I hope these thoughts make you more confident in your work.