Being Thankful

It’s that day of the year when we write about what we are thankful for! I can make a traditional list, but I will take this entry to explain why it’s important to even be thankful for things that don’t turn out to be something that seems thankful. If you are thinking “this girl is crazy” please keep reading; this post is for you.

First, here is a Thanksgiving card for everybody because I am so thankful for everything.

Click to access the card. Please view it on computers because I was short on time!

The first thing I am thankful for is that last week I got a new web design and development job specializing in WordPress, and I would not have been able to do so without the support of amazing people with whom I have worked together. The job pays me so much more than I would have anticipated, and is in a great collaborative environment healthy for young designers and developers to grow together.

Since graduation six months ago, I have been working at a hospitality industry corporate. I was not happy with the way things are done there. First, the promotional emails we design are directed by revenue managers who communicate with the client. That means the design is decided by people who have no experience in design whatsoever, and the designers are just Photoshop robots. Second, websites designs are mocked up by several designers, then critiqued behind their backs by yet another group of people who have no experience in design. Lastly, everything we do is extremely outdated because the people who ultimately decide the company practices – you guessed it – YET ANOTHER group of people who have no experience, this time in technology. And there there was me. I was doing work in web design, web dev, and user interface, but only recognized as the junior designer.

However, I am still thankful for this job because it was my first one out of college. I was offered an opportunity after interning with them and I took it. I had a manager who treated me wonderfully and another manager who patiently taught me right ways to code. Other designers and developers were always kind enough to help me. But the company is just not for me.

I am even thankful for my education, my BFA in advertising / art direction, even though I didn’t go on to pursue advertising like all my classmates. Without it, I wouldn’t have learned that I don’t want to Photoshop ads for the rest of my life – I am a “product” person, rather than “process” person. But I was able to take the skills I learned into what I really want to do.

Opposite of the Asian mentality I really believe it’s not about what you study; it’s about what you do with it. There are lots of things that can be done from any major if you choose to do it. I am thankful that my mom did not force me to study an Asian major, despite all the non-support from my dad. A person can study biology at an Ivy-League university and still be stuck home after college because he doesn’t really want to be a doctor.

A few weeks ago AnneMarie asked me for thoughts on being a senior in college and I thought this post is just right to talk about it. Senior year is full of changes and may be the transition from student life to working life. It’s a good time to try out different opportunities for your future when graduation is so soon. Get a job, any job, that is related to your studies. It can tell you a lot more than school can. It also is early enough to make changes if your job doesn’t work out, and better than being thrown into adult life after graduation without any clue of what to do.

How does everything I’m writing about tie in? Simple. Any opportunity can still be a good opportunity. Just because it doesn’t lead into something you want, it will tell you what you don’t want. That’s extremely important, and a lot of people overlook it.

If you’re studying for finals today, take a break and watch some TV. If you’re on a long job hunt, go out and have some fun! If you are satisfied with everything, cheer up someone who isn’t by sharing your thoughts with them. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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12 Comments to "Being Thankful"

Sue wrote on 27th November 2014 at 5:15 PM

That’s wonderful Olivia! I really enjoyed reading all that. Good for you that you got a new job, that you didn’t think your previous job was a waste, and your major wasn’t a waste either. It’s true we can learn from all our situations, whether we like them or not. We can learn what we don’t like, or we can learn useful skills that can still be applicable in our current situation despite not being directly related to what we’re doing currently.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Uglyfish wrote on 28th November 2014 at 4:29 AM

Congratulations on your new job! It sounds like something you really want to do. It’s such a shame your old job meant having to take orders from people with no background in it! It’s nice to take a lesson, or experience from everything, like you have done! The last part of your blog was brilliant, just a little thing like taking a break or making someone else smile can mean a lot =]


cantaloupe wrote on 29th November 2014 at 10:01 AM

Congratulations on the job!!!


Michelle wrote on 30th November 2014 at 8:51 PM

Yay! I love what you’re thankful for! It’s so cute! You did a great job~! Happy Thanksgiving back at ya! Congrats on your new job and you’re right, any opportunity can be good regardless.


Cat wrote on 1st December 2014 at 5:05 PM

Congrats on the new job! That’s great that it pays more and is a good working environment. The latter is especially nice!

We used to have that problem, where people who had little or no experience in design were the ones making the decisions. Fortunately, we have grown and hired people to actually focus on the design and UI, and things have become much better. It used to drive me crazy though. I’m glad the people you worked with were nice and helpful at least! And like you said, it was still a good opportunity and probably helped build the skills you need for later on!

I like that you point out how many things can be done from any major. I feel like some college students regret their degree because they feel stuck in it. In reality, there’s many people in jobs that are not typical of their major. I agree that getting a job will probably tell you more than what you learned in school 🙂

I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!


Tiffany wrote on 3rd December 2014 at 9:51 PM

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for reconnecting with you again. Congratulations on your new job! Yes, there is a lot to be thankful for.


Raisa wrote on 3rd December 2014 at 11:36 PM

Congratulations on the new job! It sounds awesome. I feel you on taking direction from people who don’t understand how development works. Communication is so important when dealing with management.

I agree that it’s how you apply yourself that matters. I’m interning at an ad agency right now as a web developer, after deciding that med school wasn’t for me. I went to college for pre-med because my parents wanted me to (surprise surprise), but webdev has always been my passion. I made a few Tumblr themes, slapped together a small portfolio, and I went for it. I just moved to a new city and I didn’t know anyone, but I did it. I actually have a job interview tomorrow. Wish me luck!


Jenny wrote on 5th December 2014 at 1:07 PM

Love the Thanksgiving card you made, codrops has some excellent tutorials 😉
Congratulations on your new job!! It sounds like a great opportunity and I hope this time you actually get to do what you love rather than being a mindless photoshop robot.
Sadly your last job sounds like my current job. I seriously don’t understand why they have people with no eye for design critiquing designs in the first place – what’s the point of having a designer if our decisions get overridden anyways?


Alice B wrote on 9th December 2014 at 11:00 AM

awww the card is adorable (^w^) and yes thank you codrops for always providing awesome coding tutorials LOL i always learn from them too 😉

congrats on getting the job! i got offered a job too by a creative media agency, as a front end web developer but my parents forbid me to work as a full time employee. they’re too paranoid and told me to just go for freelance – which is stupid because i was offered to be a fixed employee. sigh. got into a fight with parents and i end up having to shove away the golden opportunity. sucks because next time, i’m going to have them throw me the “you can’t contribute to family finance. you are jobless you can’t find a job and your college wastes the family finance so much” speech again. it was a super long story so i’d rather not waste your time haha

omg your old job. i don’t even know what word to use. i wouldn’t want to work around and with people who don’t have any basic knowledge in design either. it’s gonna be difficult to talk to them and make them understand why design A is bad and why it needs to be changed, so on so forth. i can still deal with clients with no basic knowledge of design complaining but to work with colleague who are like that… um, no thanks? i’m gonna feel like working for a noob with no knowledge of what he’s saying.

plus, i don’t get why you’re only “junior designer” ? i just feel like the label isn’t up to par with what you’re doing.

still, the positive side of that is experience. you got your experience and that means something 🙂

advertising isn’t the field i want to specialize in the future but i’ve heard from my friend who took advertising class that advertising is troublesome, so much work haha good thing i don’t have to take that class since my streaming is more towards interactivity and everything on screen and in motion. the art faculty is super broad and it’s really confusing which field you really wanna dedicate your life to. i have too many choices, i guess; from being a UI/UX designer or a web designer….or a 3d character designer…. whoah.

my parents generally do not get what i’m doing in college. all they know is that i do 3d stuff, i make mobile apps, i code web but they don’t really know what i can do / contribute in the future. they still view my major as something expensive that suck the family finance, as evil as that sounds 😛 they don’t understand that my major can give me opportunities to work in not only design industry but also the gaming industry or film or whatever. i’m currently working on an augmented reality project and unless i tell my parents that AR is like those cool looking holographic rubbish tony stark have in his office, they’d think that it’s useless garbage LOL

i think my mom still wished that i had picked what she wanted me to: med school or law. crazy huh. i think i’d drop out those so fast. i don’t get why typical asian parents think that only fields like business and law and med school are capable of funding your life in the future. all the adults around me tend to scoff and snort when i say i’m taking interactive design course; they’re like, “how are you gonna work in the future? are you gonna get money from those?” it really piss me off, how narrow minded they are. sigh. i guess you can’t change ancient minds at all.

i like how you end this post. you just remind some of us who took everything too seriously to temporarily drop everything and enjoy a few minutes or hours of break. i think temporary escape is necessary and it’s okay to kind of leave everything first and just…i don’t know, enjoy life for a moment before picking everything up again, y’know.


Liv Reply:

That’s awesome you get to do mobile apps and UX/UI in college. My school, the best art school in the country, has nothing related to it. I could not stand advertising’s process emphasis so I just got a job while I was still in school, and paid less attention to studies. It made everyone in my class think what am I doing, wasting my education? And now I’m the one with a job that pays higher than theirs – they are either art directors or copywriters. Ew.

My parents’ friends and even friends of friends criticized them for not forcing me to go into med school. Said they were wasting their parenting on me. What you need to do is get a real job without consulting your parents. You are an adult so they can’t control what’s best for your future.


AnneMarie wrote on 11th December 2014 at 6:33 PM

Aw, thank you for the blog plug! I was curious to see what that blog post had to do with Thanksgiving but I can see why now.

Congratulations on the job! That is so exciting! Woot, the power of internships. I can’t wait to read more about how that job works out. By the way, did your major provide you with coding classes or was it mostly focused on the design aspect of web design?

Happy belated Thanksgiving by the way!! I’ve been slow about responding to people’s comments 😛


Liv Reply:

Nope, my major had nothing to do with coding. In fact there was only one class in the whole school on JUST the design aspect of web. I took it as my senior project, and it was discontinued after one semester because not enough students were interested. Only needed 10 students. There were 190 in the department. Shows you how much people care about web design & dev.

For my senior project in the spring I was taking a class where the professor wanted us to do a design-only web project. One girl had the audacity to do an app instead. It was completely ridiculously designed, and an 100% ripoff of Tinder.


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