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March 12, 2009

Watershed //

Somewhere along the way I remember reading something along the lines of “the best strategy is an exit strategy”. Today, more than any day before that holds a lot of meaning for me because I can finally let the cat out of the proverbial bag and announce that not so long ago I had a watershed moment and made a decision that’s ultimately led to the next big change for me personally and Wishingline which is officially on hiatus at least in the sense of accepting new client work for the foreseeable future.

The exact wording I used in trying to explain this to the few people who were told prior to now was “closed”, but more and more in mulling that over I thought “hiatus” would ultimately to be a better choice. “Crazy talk” some have told me so I’ll give you a moment…

Uh, what?

Let’s not have any illusions, it’s hard work running a business and Wishingline for the last 4+ years has been exactly that. It’s hard doing it by yourself as a freelancer and just as hard if not more when employees and other management responsibilities are thrown into the mix. The provincial and national government bodies here in Canada don’t make that any easier either. These things can constantly weigh on your shoulders (they certainly have mine) and deserve as much attention as the clients paying the bills.

Owning and managing a small but successful design agency (I can’t stand that term but it’ll do) can mean wearing a lot of different hats and juggling conflicting responsibilities. That balancing act can be exhausting, especially if many of those frequently conflict with your individual needs.

When it comes to “work”, I’m a designer first and foremost but also happen to have some background in a lot of other areas thanks to a solid and varied university education, previous jobs and generally being exposed to nearly every possible side of “the biz” at one time or another.

Even though I’ve had the opportunity to work on some interesting projects, particularly some of the more recent projects, I haven’t been feeling particularly creatively satisfied or engaged. Unfocused. Remember all those hats I mentioned a moment ago? Yeah, exactly.

Ultimately I think there’s little point in doing something where your passion is wavering, doesn’t provide sufficient purpose or from which you’re not deriving the right level of personal satisfaction. Some people might be able to get away with that but I’m not one of them. It’s not in my DNA.

For the last few months I’ve hummed and hawed over what to do, in part because of the implications to the business, clients, family, and the two talented and exceptionally smart people working with me in the office, but the reality was that, for beter or worse, change was inevitable. Thankfully there’s been no crying and no staplers, chairs or computers thrown in my general direction. At least not yet.

…Next

What that change ends up being is entirely up in the air right now. It might be a small change or it might be something more significant. For now it means that Wishingline is back to being just me while I tie up loose ends on a few projects and sort out what to do with the office, furniture, computers and such. Beyond that I have a few ideas and opportunities to explore though I’m in no hurry to rush into anything. I need to regroup and recalibrate first.

The one thing that’s for sure is that SXSW officially starts tomorrow and I’ll be down in Austin, TX for the next week, celebrating my birthday (today), shaking hands and kissing babies, uh, I mean hanging out with friends and undoubtedly letting off steam. I’ll have some nifty hotdog squiggle buttons with me along with a handful of copies of the new release from George, so please do say “hello”.

Shout outs

Wishingline’s clients deserve a very special thank you for their extreme patience and understanding through the current transition period. Ensuring they are taken care of and projects either wrapped up or in a state where they can be passed on has been, understandably, a huge concern. Thank you also to friends, dotcomrades and family for their unconditional support and encouragement.

So say you…

Good luck with whatever path you take dude. When the dust settles maybe you can come work with my army.

Jeremy Jeremy March 12, 2009

I have had time to get used to this idea, so I’ll just say you’re a smart man, I hope you have a blast at SXSW, I hope you mentally arrive at a place where you actually enjoy thinking about what you’ll do next, I really look forward to seeing your great talent on the web again…and, love, love, love to you.

Carolyn Wood Carolyn Wood March 12, 2009

@Jeremy - Thanks. Not sure what’s next yet but I’m starting to formulate a plan. Lots of ideas brewing.

@Carolyn - Thank you for being such a good friend and patient supporter. Hope that pesky article finally sees the light of day sometime soon. If nothing else, it’s made me realize how much I miss writing regularly and that I need to get back to working on my writing skills — it’s amazing how much easier writing is when you do it regularly. Practice, practice….

Scott Scott March 22, 2009

I’ve always been a big fan of your site and your work, so it’s a shame that you’ve decided to throw in the towel, though if it’s for the best then so be it. I wish you the best of luck in whatever you end up doing.

Sam Hastings Sam Hastings March 25, 2009

I sure wasn’t expecting this announcement, but I completely understand the predicament and your final decision. I’m going the opposite route - expanding the business to another person - so wish me luck, Scott!

Geof Harries Geof Harries March 26, 2009

Sam - Thanks!

Geof - I don’t think anyone, myself included was really expecting this. It’s been brewing for a while and I was trying to “tough it out” but realized that I wasn’t be true to myself by doing so. It was a tough decision to say the least, but the right one.

When something’s not fun anymore or you’re doing certain things for the wrong reasons you just have to be true to yourself and do what you think is right to correct the problem. I think I have.

Best of luck to you in bringing another person on board at Subvert - hindsight is definitely 20/20 and if I had to do that again or if I choose to again down the road, I’ve learned a lot about what I would do differently.

Scott Scott March 26, 2009

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