To the outside world, creative roles are much-coveted things. Getting paid for having ideas must surely be the dream after all? But anyone actually doing those jobs will tell you that the reality can be quite different.
“The classic situation is you’ll be sat around a dinner table at a party, and people say, ‘I’m a dentist’ or ‘I’m a doctor’ or ‘I work in sales’, and then someone says ‘I’m a designer’, and people naturally say ‘Oh my god, that must be so cool’,” says Darren Wall, who worked as a designer for ten years before switching to publishing. “It’s almost dismissive, and it makes it harder for people to open up about the difficulties of being a designer.
“I was attracted to the job so much when I was younger, because it seemed to be so fulfilling,” he adds. “Not only could you create images and worlds in your work, but you’d get to collaborate with other people. But we can’t dwell too much on the negative aspects – we must sell ourselves, be ready to receive work, be professional at all times, be working late and be loving it. This is the dream, but so many designers burn out by the time they’re in their late 20s and early 30s.”
As Wall rightly points out, creative roles come with an added responsibility – the pressure to be in love with what you’re doing. So what do you do when you’re not?