“I’d urge you to follow what moves you and you care about deeply – and see where that takes you.”

Change can be intimidating, especially after 18 years. In this week’s Creative Career Conundrum, Alex Bec encourages embracing your unique voice and talent, suggesting that purpose-driven work doesn’t always require a new job.

17 June 2024

Creative Career Conundrums is the weekly advice column from If You Could Jobs. Each week its selected panel of professionals from the creative world answers your burning career questions to help you navigate the creative journey.

This week’s question:

I’ve been in the industry for 18 years and recently felt compelled for my everyday work to have some purpose, no matter how small or large. I’ve always worked in and around both the corporate and private sectors and the audiences I have been designing for have always been quite disconnected from myself. I’m looking to move into a sector or company who’s audience strives for positive change, whether that’s social, environmental or political etc.

It’s the first time I’ve felt so disconnected with my design. I think there’s part of me that’s had enough of my role as an ‘all-round’ designer plus, as mentioned above, I’m looking for some purpose in what I do, not just being a tiny cog in a huge corporate machine. I’m struggling to find the right places to find companies/sectors who work to create positive change through creative output, can you advise on anywhere to start? Thanks.

Alex Bec, CEO of It’s Nice That, Creative Lives in Progress and If You Could Jobs:

First up, a quick well done for embracing the idea of change, and listening to that feeling of disconnection. It’s easy to push those thoughts away, and I can imagine the idea of change after 18 years could be intimidating. Nice one.

“My instant reaction to this predicament is to prod at why you think you need to wait for your day job to make work with purpose?”

Alex Bec

My instant reaction to this predicament is to prod at why you think you need to wait for your day job to make work with purpose? Regardless of where you work, remember you have a unique voice, talent, skill and the platforms to share work that moves you, feels important and worthwhile. No one needs to give you permission (or a pay cheque) to do that.

I was recently so inspired by a talk I saw at Nicer Tuesdays from graphic designer Greg Bunbury (which you'll be able to watch on It’s Nice That next week) – who told an incredible story of being in just this position. Via an appalling act of racism, he felt compelled to speak out. He did it because it was in him. He didn’t ask for permission. He didn’t need to find a job to give him the platform. He made a huge difference from a place of deep hurt and injustice. Now all of his work revolves around purpose, so I think it could speak to you – it left me inspired and humbled.

Saying that, the search for that holy grail job – one that fulfils you from a values and moral standpoint, as well as paying the bills, is a great quest to embark on.

So, getting back to your specific ask of where you could look; I’ll be honest and say I’m not that sure myself! I’d urge you to follow what moves you and what you care about deeply, and see where that takes you. Saying that, if I was in your shoes I’d take a look at the The B Corp directory there’s a myriad of sectors, industries and great businesses in there.

Whatever you do and however successful your search, my advice is to let your voice be heard, regardless of whether you find the right job to do so, and the work may just find you...

We’re running a regular article on It’s Nice That giving advice on people’s creative career conundrums. From this we realise that some issues need expert support and there’s lots of great resources that can support you across things that might arise at work here.

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About the Author

Alex Bec

Alex is the CEO of It’s Nice That. He oversees the commercial side of It’s Nice That, Creative Lives in Progress and If You Could Jobs.

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