A Chapter Closes

Today marks my last day working at PDG. I don’t know how to feel about it because I am beyond excited for the next leg of my adventure. However in order to move in another direction we have to turn our backs on the previous path, and I have enjoyed this path for quite some time now. I was not prepared for what was to occur when I answered that random phone call a little over five years ago.

I had been laid-off in June and luckily my sister Kelly needed a nanny for nugget until his daycare spot was available in August. Bailey had started the summer with them and already had a month under her belt. However, she kindly stepped aside once I was, surprisingly, unemployed. I needed time to clear my mind from the abrupt departure from my first job out of college. Caring for the nephew definitely took most of my attention and was precisely what I needed when I needed it.


Lisa (far right) and I (on her immediate left) were two peas in a pod from the start.

With two days left of my nanny stint I had just put Rory down for his afternoon nap when the phone rang. I had been halfheartedly filling out online applications not really expecting anything to come from it, so I was surprised when it was my cell. On the other end was a woman from Story City calling to talk to me about a job opening. Out of the blue a graphic design position opened up less than fifteen miles from home. Lisa talked, describing the position, while I paced my sister’s living room over and over again.

In retrospect I bombed that phone interview, for that was what it kind of was I realized much later. She had, initially, asked me to take a more in-charge role (if memory serves). Besides design I would help with sales, run the store when needed, etc. I told her no. As an unemployed person with zero prospects I still said no, but hear me out. I wasn’t confident I could be in charge (apparently I have a dormant strain of that Q-gene). I had just been laid off doing a job I was perfectly qualified for. If I couldn’t keep a job I could do, what chance did I have of keeping one I wasn’t qualified for? I didn’t want to do that to myself or my prospective employer so I erred on the side of honesty. Lisa was undeterred. She heard me out and altered the plan for if I was hired. Later she did admit she was a bit surprised, but had me come in to interview anyway.

The following week I went in, met with her and the owner and by that afternoon was offered the job. The next Monday I was driving to Story City expecting only to find a job. What I found instead was a community. That’s something I have come to love about working at PDG and, by extension, being in Story City. Story City still has that ‘small town’ charm I had never really been a part of before. As an outsider it was fun to observe and as I got more acquainted it was even more fun to immerse myself in it.

It’d be fun to have a conversation with past Jamie. Those who know me wouldn’t agree, but I still get very uneasy in crowds. I’m an introvert at heart and being around people can sometimes be a challenge. Many wouldn’t agree because once I know you I’m a complete nutbar. One way to overcome this, not only so I could do my job better but expand my horizons, was to join some committees (with lots of encouragement from Lisa). As the years passed I became more and more comfortable within the community. Within PDG itself, I had become the person Lisa was hoping for when she originally wanted when she called (or close enough to it) – go figure.  So chatting with my past self to see that I’ve grown would be a blast.

I have had the great fortune to work with many amazing women at work. Each of them with their own unique gift that it has been my pleasure to observe. Whether it’s a matter of photography, phone techniques (I don’t know how many phone calls ended with “what should I have done instead?” – especially in the beginning), accounting (it is its own art form and NO ONE will convince me otherwise), or any other skills of an unending list of gifts. These women have helped shape me over the past five years and it’s hard to leave them.


The work family (left to right): Jenn, Me, Lisa and Rhonda.

I haven’t really allowed myself to dwell on it too much because I don’t want to be sad and mar my last few days at work. Also, it’s a weird sensation because I am genuinely excited for what is to come. Next week I start work at the Iowa State University Foundation. But that would not have been possible if I hadn’t have been polished at PDG. I will miss the “family” at the office. Lisa often says ‘we work hard and play hard’ and we certainly do. So, one more day, off to enjoy the time I have left with these wonderful women. I unexpectedly had to bid farewell to Jenn yesterday (I forgot she wouldn’t be there today). Although, it’s not really goodbye since I’m just going to Ames, but it is certainly going to be a little different next time around. In true PDG spirit she sent me off with a hug and a laugh whispering “Choose your adventure*.

I intend to do just that.



*For those that don’t know “Choose your adventure” is a tagline that Iowa State ues


The Life of a Graphic Designer; or a font nerd. Or just a quick ramble.

Right now I’m working on a logo design for a client-thanks Katlin! However it doesn’t matter the project, the best (and worse) part is picking the font. There are just so many choices! Inevitably you think you have found the ‘perfect’ one and then you scroll through and find that the fi ligature is atrocious (or some tosh like that). However the bit about the logo design (especially if it’s a type based logo) is you really have to look at the letter relationships closely. Does the tail on the R have too much personality, curling too little or not enough? Do the bowls and counters distract from the word? Is the weight of the fonts equal (if combining more than one)? Are they too heavy to properly portray this company? Yes, too many thoughts to put into words at present, but it’s never as easy as ‘slapping on some words’.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Comments like this are thrown around regularly without any eyelashes being batted.

Comments like this are thrown around regularly without any eyelashes being batted.

Today marks my two-year anniversary at PDG Printing. The time has gone by quite quickly and I still can’t believe my good luck. I have found a place where the people I work with not only embrace my manic mentality but sometimes join in on the craziness. If you would have told my five years ago I’d be working in Story City I would have told you you were crazy, but no, that’s just me. I can think of few instances where I have been so happy to be so wrong. Not much else to say but Happy Anniversary to PDG who, two years ago, hired yours truly. Things haven’t been the same since.

Where do I go from here?

In 2011 I was laid-off. Despite some of my good qualities I can be really really obtuse and I was completely blind-sided when it happened. Thus being the circumstance I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I knew one thing for sure, I needed my mom to be at the house when I arrived (because deep down, aren’t there always instances when you just need your parents, you never grow out of that). I broke it to my parents and then holed myself away for the rest of the day. I sat in my room not knowing what to do. I thought, I’ve been out of school a year, perhaps I should go back, get my MA and then return to the workforce. After a couple days of minutes that seemed like hours I ran away to my sister’s to play nanny to my six month old nephew. Now I know running away from your problems isn’t a solution, but sometimes distance helps. It certainly did for me. As it turns out, someone was looking out for me. By being laid-off I was released from my non-compete agreement so when, out of the blue, a print shop called me (about three days before my time was up as nanny) to come in and interview I could happily say yes. I stepped in that office and haven’t looked back. Now, eighteen months later, I’m still happily employed and honestly have the best coworkers in the world. It may be cornball to say, but they really have become like family. They’re my town family now (isn’t there some old joke about a guy with his town family and his country family?), and I love ’em to pieces.

Anyway, thanks DP for the prompt, for other solutions/situations of helplessness check out the prompt page.

A ramble brought to you by a sleepless night. You’ve been warned.

Usually I take Thursday afternoons off at work if I can. Yesterday I didn’t, which was no big deal, especially since my manager was feeling under the weather. So I got off work around 6 and quickly went home to change for volleyball practice. Oh, I think I’ve mentioned I’m playing league volleyball this fall. If I haven’t I am, and I’m terrible. Perhaps my saving grace is that I’m a willing student. Unfortunately that puts the role of coach/teacher onto some of my more knowledgeable teammates.

Anyway, my team was meeting in my town at the rec center for practice. I figured I should try to get there early. Not early enough though, I was 15 minutes early and one of them was already there. Anyway, practice was a blast. There ended up being 5 of us in all and when two of them had to leave two other people at open gym jumped in. We practiced for about  2 1/4 hours before deciding to call it a night. When I got home I noticed the light was on at work and went in to see what was up. My manager was there catching up on stuff since she had left early. We chit chatted for a short while before I finally headed home.

By this time it was around nine. I was exhausted. I just wanted to decompress and chill. I wasn’t really hungry but forced down an apple since I had completely skipped supper. After a quick shower I watched an episode of The League which I’m usually so amused by, but I was just so tired I decided to call it a night. Unfortunately I saw a book I’d gotten last week sitting on the counter.

I’ve been waiting for this book for months. I haven’t even finished it and I’m already cursing that the next one isn’t out until next year. I guess a year isn’t too bad of a wait considering other series books may be fewer and further in between. You ruin my life a little Riordan.

I was specifically put off starting it until I’d have long uninterrupted hours of time (such as this weekend) because I knew once I started it I would try to finish it. Even as I was telling myself ‘just one chapter’ I altered it to ‘just the first viewpoint’. This book switches which character is telling the story every few chapters. I couldn’t even do that, I read all of the first viewpoint and the first chapter of the second before yelling at myself to go to sleep.

So you’d think after hours of physical exertion and an hour of reading I’d be out in two seconds. Well you’d be wrong. Apparently my subconscious decided to start putting out “you’ve caught the bug from your manager” symptoms.

A fun fact about my nausea, I can usually tell it’s coming because my mouth starts to salivate with no food stimulus. So there I was, tossing and turning trying to convince myself I wasn’t going to be sick. I even told myself throwing water up is that absolute worse. It worked, besides the fact that it kept me up and when I did manage to sleep I was easily awoken. After the third random wake up I was convinced that the Greeks or Romans were the cause of my restlessness. Perhaps Hermes was up to his trickster ways and whispering in the dark. Seem random? It is, but The Heroes of Olympus series is all about the Greek and Roman demigods, so not so bad. Still ridiculous but that is what my sleep deprived mind went to.

Anyway, that’s my tale of my sleepless night. I usually don’t mind sleepless nights, I just don’t 100% appreciate them in the middle of the week. Since today is Friday, however, I’ll survive. Anyway, until next time ~ Q

What’s The League? Here’s a promo clip from Canada.

If you’ve ever seen the show you’ll know about Taco. I feel if I were in a league that’s who I’d be, sort of. Kind of random, kind of clueless, but minus all the drugs.

Personality Tests

Today at work we decided to take a personality test. Let me fill you in on how my office is run. There is me (technically the only full timer), the manager, a college student (who is working pretty much full time this summer), the owner (who has another job so isn’t really there); and another part-time worker (who kind of floats doing odds-n-ends).  Many days it me, the college student and the manager. We are like three peas in a pod, but just how similar are we? The college student was going on and on Monday about this personality test she took over the weekend. After the second day of her mentioning it we (the manager and I) decided that should just take it too.

According to the 4 question Myers Briggs test I am an Idealist, the college student is a Guardian (which is how I might just refer to her from know on) and our manager is a Caregiver (ditto on the references). Fun fact Guardian and Idealist are exact opposites answer-wise. Since each of the four questions only has 2 answers her initials were the other option, that amused me more than it ought. Also there is only one answer difference between Guardian and Caregiver. This means that those two are very much alike where I am an odd duck. I wonder what the other part-time lady would be…I’m guessing like the other two. The thing about personality tests are that once you start reading them you think every other sentence is perfectly aligned with how you are. I wonder if there is a placebo effect there. Like you get it in to your mind that this is what you are so subconciously you’re already saying ‘what I’m reading will line up with how I am’. Whether that is true or not, some key phrases do seem to describe me well:

  • may be reserved in expressing emotion
  • do not like conflict and goes to great lengths to avoid it
  • flexible and laid-back
  • typically completely unaware of the mundane details of life maintenance. For instance: can go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet, but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off of their project
  • do not like to deal with hard facts and logic
  • may be awkward and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they’re feeling on paper [that is a partial purpose of this blog, to help grow that expression. I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing and thus still write like a high school student, perhaps not even that high]

Not sure if I”m project or not, but some of it fit. So yes, that’s what we did today. Not as a team-building exercise or anything. If anything it just gives each other more ammunition to razz one another with. (Guardian’s has a lot of stuff about being a perfectionist-spot on, however mine does too so whoops!) That’s how things go in our office though, lots of sass but oddly lots of productivity. I can’t imagine working anywhere else. So until next time ~ Q