The winds of change are upon us this January, and in more ways than just a new year for some. For high school and college seniors, this is the year of graduation, a new chapter where each decision could possibly change your entire life. For a number of people who are tired of being in a career rut, it could be the first step towards dropping everything and starting out from square one on a different career path. It’s a new and probably scary world, and it’s understandable if you get some jitters.
To help you through this transition phase, we talked to some people in the creative industry about their own worries and fears when they were starting out. Sometimes it helps to get a reminder that the people now at the top of their game all started from being clueless whippersnappers like us, too.
We asked them what was the one thing they wish they knew when they were starting out in their respective industries, that they could also share as advice to fresh grads and/or career shifters. Read their nuggets of wisdom below, and take that leap of faith, kid.
“Walang plan B! Ang plan B ay para lang sa mga naghahandang sumuko. Go lang sa plan A! Kung mahirapan ka man at ilang beses madapa kaka-plan A. Ilaban mo lang, walang namang rule kung hanggang ilang beses pwede sumubok.” – Dwein Baltazar, writer of Exes Baggage, film director of Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus
“Slowly finding myself in photography gave me many valuable eye-opening experiences. So I am actually thankful that I had no idea what I was getting into and that I hardly had any expectations! But I think your biggest strength will be knowing and keeping your values because you will encounter so many different people, and not everyone will have your best interests at heart.” – Shaira Luna, photographer
“Back in university, I always thought that ‘idea is king.’ I wish I knew that having a good idea is nothing without good execution.” – Dan Matutina, visual designer and co-founder, Plus63 Design Co.
“Seize every opportunity. There are plenty if you make an effort to look. It may sound cliché, but in order to get somewhere, you have to build your own bridges towards it. You make your own luck by doing what it takes: getting your hands dirty, and pulling out all the stops to make it happen. Also, don’t be an asshole.” – Deane Miguel-Cruz, visual designer and co-founder, Serious Studio
“That it was okay to fail. Our studio has a lot of unbuilt works from competitions to some projects that just fizzled out. Failing is a huge part of the process: It teaches us how we can understand, grow and enhance our practice for the better.” – Arts Serrano, architect, One/Zero Design Collective
“Try everything. Experiment and get yourself into trouble. Open your mind.” – Martine Cajucom, creative director, Sunnies
“It’s perfectly fine if you don’t immediately start doing shows. It’s wrong to think that the only way a designer can be legit is through a runway presentation. Frankly, you spend more and gain less doing shows than just focusing on the clothes and shooting them and sending the photos out to potential stockists.” – Jenni Contreras, fashion designer and founder, Problem Studios
“It only gets harder the longer you stay in this industry. I don’t mean this as a discouragement, but more of a… well-meaning warning, I guess. The more you learn about the job, the more people you talk to, the more events you attend, the more stories you do… the more you’ll realize that there’s so many things to consider when you write something. It’s a lot more thinking than the world gives us credit for. For professionals who spend most of their waking hours making things understandable for people, we’re pretty misunderstood, haha! But just remember the people you’re writing for and make each word count for them.
Lastly: Make sure you get enough sunshine.” – Pauline Miranda, assistant managing editor, Nolisoli.ph
“(1) start as early as you possibly can. If you’ve got free time as a student, try and get into a student jock program so you can learn the ropes, get to know the nitty gritty of the work and see if this industry is what you really want. Try to find a mentor who cares as much about the work as you do and be open to learning from everyone.
(2) This one’s a little less positive — Dream big, but set your expectations. Make sure you aim high but be guarded about opportunities, especially when they seem too good to be true. Still, strike out and be fearless when it comes to dreaming! Honestly, young people today are mindblowingly talented and resourceful, almost like Swiss knives of skill and information. I feel like the younger generations are often underestimated by older generations, when younger generations often are learning to work circles around old ways of thinking.
(3) Make sure you love it, but love yourself more. If you find yourself in a situation where the work is great but it puts you in a situation where it endangers your finances/mental health/safety, then the work is NOT THAT GREAT. You are more important than the work you do, and it’s important to find the right fit in any industry.” – Jam Alas, radio jock, Magic 89.9 FM
Art by Aira Ydette