Just As I Thought

You can’t go home again

Yesterday I went to my old office and attended a staff meeting like nothing had changed — like I hadn’t been in the office lately because I now have an incredibly long commute.
It wasn’t really odd being back, maybe that’s because I haven’t been gone very long, only 4 months. In fact, my whole visit here is utterly ordinary except for the fact that I don’t have a home or car here anymore.
I generally don’t criticize specific people on my blog — other than famous elected officials — but I think that my biggest shock here is discovering what has happened with my successor. I’ll try to be diplomatic: I’m not happy with what’s come out of my old office in terms of design and attention to detail. I’m especially upset at the cavalier way the logo has suffered. As a branding professional, I was shocked to see the way my carefully cultivated identity system was hapazardly and incorrectly applied, and I took some time to discuss this with my replacement… but in the end, I am no longer the czar of creative services and have to find a way to divorce myself from it. It would have been easier if my successor had chosen to create entirely new designs, but seeing what, in my opinion, are pretty awful changes to my designs is something that I just have a big problem with.
But other than that shock, it was nice to see my office family again; and my pal Marcia — who for the last year and a half has fought breast cancer with incredible strength and grace — was healthy and had a full head of hair, it was so wonderful to see her on the other side of her struggle.
Tonight I met up with my pal Jaime for dinner and drinks, and I brought along some copies of the “new” design publications. I vented to her about my disappointment and the fruition of all the fears I’d had for years along the lines of what might happen if I left my job.
Then, coming back on the Metro tonight, a man boarded and sat across from me. He saw the folder in my hands and asked me about it — he wanted to know about the organization because he was a social studies teacher. I told him about it, about the annual conference and the website and how he could join… and I gave him the publications. And I realized that, as important as it is for me to turn out really good design that serves the goal of presenting useful information to teachers, that just having the information itself was important.
It might take me a very long time to say goodbye to my old responsibilities — even though I’ll never let go of my design sense and attention to detail — but I realized that carrying around something to complain about isn’t the right way to make me feel proud of what I accomplished. I know I’m a good designer, that I’m a great creative director, and a damned fine identity specialist. And I know it because I put my heart and soul into it.

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