Goldilocks and the Three Firms

Once upon a time, there was a young designer, bright-eyed and new to the working world. She put a portfolio together, sent out a few resumes, bought a very grown-up power suit (the kind grown-ups wear) and went for a few interviews.

Pretty soon, she came upon a job offer and accepted it right away. The firm was verrrry small and felt like home. Everyone knew everyone, and they all wore several hats. But pretty soon, the designer started to ask some questions…


“Where’s the IT department?,” she asked, as she was carrying her very heavy iMac into the Apple store.

“Where’s the plotter?” she asked, as she was driving – again – to a printer’s office for plots.

“Where’s the receptionist?” she asked, as she was taking her boss’ messages.


The young designer loved her little family, despite the blank stares she got at her questions, until one spring day… It felt like the sky was falling, and just like that, the entire world ran out of money… including her little family. With that, the tiny firm sank in the sea of debt and she was on the hunt again.

The next job the girl came across was at a huuuuge firm in a huuuuge city. Her jaw dropped as she walked in the famous building – less really is more. After a full day of orientation, the girl’s head was spinning. She couldn’t believe the kind of work she got to do and the clients she got to meet. The young designer got more excited everyday, pouring more and more of herself and her free time into the work.

But soon, she looked-up from her desk, shook-off the marker fumes, and realized four years had gone by! The girl realized she’d never seen her beautiful city during the daytime, hadn’t answered a text message in months, and her entire closet was now filled with black and grey. No time for choices of color. Trying to shake things up a bit, she suggested a few changes…


“I’m going to take a day off,” she mentioned to her boss. Denied.

“We should all go out for a picnic!” she suggested, but couldn’t tell them where to bill that hour, so nobody came.

“We could all work outside today!” she thought, but without laptops, nobody was allowed to work remotely.


The younger designer felt trapped and stuck. She’d traded all of her friends, fun clothes, and free time for a chance to work for the king. She started to panic.

One day, a warm breeze blew-in from the South. She followed it until she found herself standing in front of an average brick building with lots and lots of happy, smiling people inside. The sun was still out and some of them were even leaving! They showed her their desks – with laptop computers! –the plotter, and the receptionist. They gave her enough money to pay her bills, enough time to go visit alllllllllll of her friends, and let her talk to her own clients. She took a job with them, sat down at her desk, and said, “ahhhhh. This chair is just right.”

The beauty of being young is the acceptance and ability to make the rounds, so to speak. After realizing that my first design job wasn’t a good fit, I’ll never forget my mom comparing it to dating – “that’s okay,” she said. “Finding the perfect job on one interview is like marrying the first man you meet after your first date.” There are obvious pros and cons to every firm, and some aspects that don’t become obvious as benefits or downfalls until you’ve seen a little bit of everything. The beauty of it is that just like dating, or eating three bowls of porridge / sitting in three different chairs / sleeping in three different beds, there are plenty of opportunities and chances to find the “right fit.”


  1. suzanne | March 15th, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Kelley–a perfect fit indeed! REALLY great story!

  2. Melanie | March 15th, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    You rock, Kelley. So proud that you’ve found your fit!

  3. Michele | May 28th, 2013 at 12:34 am

    This made me smile!