How to Overcome the Worst Moments in Your Career

The web design blogs assure to any web designer the needed tips, resources and information for being able to create websites and online applications at the highest standards. Some of the most talented designers entertain the web design blogosphere and it’s a good guaranty that the huge majority of the posts are qualitative and useful.

In spite of this huge amount of precious information, there are still important aspects uncovered or partially presented. Even though the more pragmatic people consider these a waste of time, the motivational posts or articles treating various psychological issues of a web designer are important and offer solutions to inner problems as finding the perfect balance between work and family, how to be inspired or how to overcome difficult moments with the clients.

Many blog owners are disregarding these kind of posts just because they are lacking any applicability into the workflow but digging deeper into this matter, the situation is almost the opposite. The inner disposition has a great impact over designers.

A good estate is the climate that improves the learning or creation process, while a bad mood doesn’t let anyone reach his potential. However, the Internet is full with blogs that have as main topic how to stay creative or finding the inspiration but there is a limited number of online presences that combine both psychological aspects with web design subjects. The time spent on thinking how to improve the manner of work or how to overcome the future bad situations is wrongly considered a task for lazy people. This is a matter for people interested in being efficient and who care about the difficult and inherent moments of their lives.

The modalities of having a great morale in the worst scenarios is the subject of thousands of articles and books, hence we are talking about a large debated problem. This article is a small, but useful attempt to present the worst scenarios that could happen to any designer and some general solutions. It’s true that any sentence that contains “it depends on” is useless but in psychology none may offer worldwide valid solutions, everything depending on the particularities of each subject.

The eight undesired situations bellow are common amongst any individual. I honestly wish not to face any of these, but I doubt I won’t. No matter if someone has already passed through the next scenarios, the lecture of these is highly recommended for everyone.

1. The Lack of Motivation

instantShift - The Lack of Motivation

Description :

Each of us dreamt of a job or position in a company and, with immense sacrifices and much work, this may turn into reality. Also, it often happens that by working for few years in the same position, the employee becomes very skillful and well prepared for it, and anything becomes a piece of cake for him. The stopping of the career evolution is a real plague and it’s the source of many undesired situations.

It’s impossible not to become bored with the tasks of the job, then it’s hard to stay focused and finally, the routine “steals” anyone’s motivation. The lack of motivation may be compared with the fuel of cars: no matter how fast and powerful is a Lamborghini, without carburant, it’s immobile. Much more, having low or no motivation is the trigger of other bad events: the efficiency is almost null, the job becomes insecure. No chief allows spending money in vain or as a freelancer, no client pays for bad projects. Following this trend makes the disaster unavoidable, but no one should worry. There are a lot of remedies and all the people face this crisis at least once in a life.

Possible Remedies :

The success without motivation is impossible and because it is vital to be motivated the specialists prepared some remedies against it. Keep in mind, it is simpler and cheaper to prevent than treat. No matter how motivated someone is, accepting the idea that anyone may suffer lacks of motivation is the first step into an efficient prevention. The next step is to create a perfect balance between work and family. Too much free time is dangerous because it sacrifices work, while spending too much time in finishing projects is a real threat to physical and mental health. The equitable balance between these is improving together with the experience, but no matter which level is achieved, a deep analysis is always welcomed.

The best remedy remains the power of dreaming, a person with aspirations is never lacking motivation, and the conclusion is simple: never forget to want more!

2. The Lack of Inspiration

Description :

When someone is dealing with many projects and tight deadlines, the level of pressure is high and it affects the creation capacity. Being under pressure for many weeks is difficult. Few people manage correctly these situations, and the great majority doesn’t find the inspiration required to finish so many tasks. This is well-known and is named the lack of inspiration.

Possible Remedies :

Probably, the most efficient method against inspiration issue is the understanding that anyone survived after a similar problem and an optimistic attitude is more than welcomed. Sometimes, in the initial phase, it may be combated with just a small break as a walk through the park or enjoying the personal hobbies for a few hours. Any change in the everyday routine is a boost for inspiration and an experienced designer will insert in his weekly schedule some couple of hours just for maintaining or increasing the level of inspiration.

Another very helpful item to save someone from a crisis is the web design blogosphere that contains unlimited inspirational posts. It’s almost impossible not to be delighted and get full power by admiring the great ideas of other designers.

3. The Lack of Clients

instantShift - The Lack of Clients

Description :

There the situation is simple: a lack of clients means that a designer has no project to work on and the immediate consequence is the worsening of his financial situation. It’s the kind of unwanted scenario that has the most repercussions and it’s most dangerous for freelancers. A bad financial situation implies a less efficiency and a damaged ability to focus. An inexperienced freelancer will be very disoriented but with enough strength of mind, everything has a solution.

Possible Remedies :

The first actions should be taken before any sign of crisis and the most important is to save an amount of money as a backup for bad times. Finding solutions for this awful scenario doesn’t require complicated strategies but moderation and financial wisdom. The lack of clients is equivalent to a lack of money, hence these are almost synonyms and the methods to combat them are the same. After assuring the “back up,” the next step in avoiding any issue is to have multiple ways of procuring the income. As an employee in a web design agency, a solution would be launching a blog that may be monetized. The job boards offer a good opportunity to gain some extra income but most important is to get in touch with potential clients. In the posture of freelancer, having the income from a single client, no matter how serious and reliable he could be, is dangerous and it’s wisely to search for a second one.

Another good practice to avoid the lack of clients is to keep a good relationship with the previous ones, in this manner they may ask once again for your services or warmly recommend you to other interested people.

4. The Lack of Trust

Description :

It’s more widespread amongst beginners but it has a more stronger impact over the intermediate to advanced ones. The distrust in one’s own skills is determined by the client’s lack of appreciation. As in the previous cases, it has multiple consequences and all are negative. Firstly, it’s difficult to work when you believe that it’s in vain; secondly, the concentration is diluted with annoying and never-ending questions as “Is it good?”, “Am I wrong?”. A prolonged period when the trust in own skills is down has implications on the mental and the result – it is better to not imagine it.

Possible Remedies :

Any project in this world has both admirers and critics, nothing is perfect, nothing is 100% awful, and it’s simple to comprehend that lacking trust is the result of a subliminal perception and not a real situation. A very efficient modality to regain the trust is not paying great attention to all the negative remarks and comments. Trust is a very subjective entity so, by improving the inner state of the individual, the chances of getting trust back are high. Personally, I am very affected by any bad remarks and I am thinking a lot over any displeasing feedback, but I overcome these situations by merely attempting to see the full part of the glass.

Being criticized means that the subject of the critique is important and it must be the main idea to combat any damaged trust, clearly, if you aren’t important you aren’t critiqued. There are many articles in online and traditional media that are presenting only the bad parts of the “giants” as Apple, Microsoft or Nokia but these companies are passing the less pleasant times, take them example and don’t expect for miracles.

The winning mentality is another item that makes the difference. A winner is always full of trust in his powers.

5. Big Troubles in Your Family

instantShift - Big Troubles in Your Family

Description :

Any designer isn’t a machine and he has during a day various performances. This is affected in a great measure by some factors as: the inner state, the projects to do, the moment of the day, the inspiration or other worries of the individual. As any human being, his relatives and friends influence a designer and they could have negative or positive aspects; a designer is a sensible flare and the familiar situation is strongly influencing him. Unfortunately, “death is the single certitude” (Steve Jobs quotation) and it’s impossible to not lose someone during the entire life; also love has a dark side and sometimes is turned into jealousy, disputes, misunderstandings and all these are very negative repercussions over the manner of work. Anyway, the family is a great support but in the same time, it may sometimes turn everything into a hell and the effects on the professional life are very disastrous. Briefly, any big problem of the family negatively affects the work.

Possible Remedies :

It’s hard, but once clearly established, it’s easier than ever believed to make the difference between family & friends and the work. Freelancers know this better than the regular employees. It’s better for any designer to make the family and relatives to understand that they have an influence on his career and that this means decreasing or increasing the monthly income. Letting them know that you aren’t the only responsible for the quality of the services provided is a must, and they must create the perfect climate for working. I tried it personally and I consider that it worked. Giving details to the loved ones of what the work of the designer supposes and why so much time is needed, even for a small project makes a difference. The mentality that you are the designer, you gain the money, you are the supreme chief isn’t working and sooner or later the situation will worsen and there are few chances to quickly improve it; by making from family and friends a your team, the relationships won’t suffer too much and the morale will be always up.

On the other hand, God tests us and all people must face some difficulties in their lives. Nobody can fight against death and many illnesses are still incurable. These are serious problems but, in order to avoid any bad decisions in the carrier, all designers must understand that their forces are limited and these can’t combat death and illness. Nobody ask them to be Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee but a little bit of cold blood is necessary to have a positive trend lifelong.

6. Frequent Disputes with the Bosses

instantShift - Frequent Disputes with the Bosses

Description :

There are very few people who haven’t had even once a bad chief; anyway, all bosses are disregarded by the employers. Sometimes they deserve this treatment, sometimes they don’t. The relationship with the boss is very important. A very stable one assures the perfect conditions for a better conformation to the requirements of the job and a qualitative collaboration between them. A web design agency must be a team and not a group of workers and chiefs. Only the first situation is favorable for creating amazing projects and improving the personal skills.

Possible Remedies :

Working as a freelancer doesn’t suppose the existence of a chief; therefore this matter isn’t common to them; while when working in an agency/company it is pretty usual to have a quarrel with a superior or a colleague. The single and the best remedy is the responsible and sincere dialogue.

It’s recommendable from the start to establish some rules and habits with the colleagues and the chiefs and as soon as you discover that you can’t have common principles with the respective employers it is better to quit joining them. No matter how many money may someone gain, the pressure from work will win and the conflicts will burst and the results will be negative for both sides. In the huge majority of cases, the new employee must adhere to the principles of the organization but there are cases when it is better to change it for the new one. Once again, the use of dialogue is decisive.

Across the time, the unspoken reproaches will accumulate a pressure that will fuel a fatiguing frustration and it’s only a matter of time until a small war will appear. This is a very troublesome fact because the frustrated employee is adapted to the organization and quite probable is doing quality work but the negative remarks make him anxious and consequentially, the effective power will be lowered. Besides that, the chief is also affected and some of them may take revenge on other employees and this is a much-undesired fact.

It’s quite obviously that the effects are important and in the worst scenarios, this may lead to bankruptcy or critical situations but these may be easily avoided by a honest communication between parts and we all must accept that everyone has positive and negative features and the best design teams have as their base the professionalism and tolerance.

7. Clients from Hell

Description :

The designers perceive differently a website than the ordinary people and their vocabulary is richer in networking and online related terms but the amazing implementation of Internet and web based applications make people more and more interested in learning the specific terms. In spite of that, there will always be big issues with the web design terminology and common people. This is one of the most important impediments between designers and clients that make their collaboration sometimes impossible.

Clients from hell doesn’t only mean vocabulary misunderstandings but it may include avaricious people, very aggressive or “always in a hurry” persons that make the job of a designer challenging. Isn’t very important to know the “strong points” of the bad clients, is capital to realize that they are taken from reality and aren’t only a chimera or a website name. The relationship with this kind of clients is very difficult, many times being a waste of time and a good source of anger and animosity.

Possible Remedies :

Some clients feel offended when a designer or an agency respects a pattern when dealing with a new one. The signing of a contract is considered by some a waste of time and a proof of distrust and a part of them give up to a collaboration that supposes a written agreement. Paradoxically, these clients are lost but this is the good news, usually they are behaving unfair, don’t pay for the work or are making the communication unbearable. Under these circumstances, maybe it’s better to have no client than ten that aren’t paying you!

There is no loss when a client refuses to sign a contract, this assures that any incorrect actions can’t be made without the punishment of the law so a fair person shouldn’t have any objection to this. Various types of misunderstandings and issues may appear during the collaboration but all these are easily passed when the tolerance and the reciprocal respect are present. These are necessary but clearly aren’t enough, each difficult client needs a particular approach and by far this post can’t give solution for each one.

8. Everything is Going Down

instantShift - Everything is Going Down

Description :

An old saying warns us that any disaster or bad news comes to us in combination with another bad entity. Applying this in our situation means that it’s quite probable that someone who is lacking the trust in his own powers will also be low motivated and have some troubles with the family. This context is hard to correct and the individual will suffer a lot until any sign of improvement will appear. The feeling that everything is going down is overwhelming and the combined effects of various issues may simply destroy a person. It’s quite probable the most undesired state for everyone.

Possible Remedies :

The combination of the scenarios above is very dangerous but preventing this won’t permit facing such a dangerous story. Unfortunately, there aren’t general solutions, the individual is a too complex entity that can’t resolved as a simple equation. Consulting a psychologist is probably a safer solution and any designer should have the courage to do it. Any postponement may drive to worse scenarios. An indistinguishable saving of money and time because you skipped the meeting with a psychologist shouldn’t be considered a good affair, it is the parsimony that could bring a disaster to the individual. Many people are obsessed with their work and are neglecting their personal life (yes, I am one of them) and this behavior is really harmful and the feeling of “everything is going down” is, sooner or later, present. The balanced report between personal life and work is vital in having full control over the carrier, any imbalance isn’t good.

Final Words!

In the end, I hope this post to be for you just theory and a nice reading and that nothing in this post would ever be necessary in your real life. Being optimistic and pragmatic is mandatory and no matter the context, hope shouldn’t be abandoned.

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  1. nice post.
    i love your pictures:d
    keep up the good work.

  2. thanks Daniel for this superb post but I prefer not to face these situations

  3. What else can I say, your post is inspiring and I found myself deeply connected in each of the problems you presented. But I’m relieved right now, your possible remedies are awesome and I pray God fill you with greater and gracious insight to help other freelancers like me.

    Happy New Year

  4. Hi Daniel! I am really very thankful to your for sharing this post as I am facing some of the above mentioned problems. Now I got some better idea to overcome the worst moments in the career.

  5. That’s one great read! I will bookmark this so I can easily find it when I have a rough time. Thanks!

  6. it’s very difficult to keep you motivated if your goals aren’t realistic but even hared to make you motivated if your goals are too low. So it’s very important to keep yourself on track by having long term goals that are higher than you probably will ever achieve and to have goals that you can achieve, so you won’t lose motivation once first level goals are achieved.

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