Monica Luchak

work, work, work, work …

Month: May, 2013

Success — suc·cess [ sək’ses ]

ImageThe Merriam Webster Dictionary defines it as, “favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence” This relatively simple definition doesn’t really seem to hit the mark and leaves me wanting.

I know it may sound silly and maybe even a little naïve to think there could be one word that would measure my life. I always felt success was that word. Success, is a nice strong solid word.  A word I thought was quantifiable.  No middle ground, you either are or are not. Ahhhh, but that’s the trouble with words and their dictionary meanings. A word like success has lots of room for the 256 shades of gray there are.

When I got out of the military, went to school, and ultimately started a job, success seemed pretty clear. It was a “boatload” of money, a big house, and an expensive luxury car.  Wham, then came the dot COM bust and reality set in. Now success had a more humble appearance, keeping the 10 year old car running, paying the mortgage on a 900 sq. ft. home, buying food, and making the utilities, and daycare tuition.
Reality can really be a wet blanket.

Fast forward a number of years, lived thru another economic bust (real estate this time), watched my beloved country attacked from the shadows, and seen my life savings squandered away by unscrupulous financiers. Success, didn’t even make it into my vocabulary. I’ve never really said it, but success was waking up every day.

That was a while ago and success has morphed again. This time it seems more peaceful, even spiritual, and at the end of the day hopefully attainable. The last several months I’ve been working to build my graphic design business. My dear husband has afforded me the resources to build it for the long haul. I do the design work and marketing, while he does the legal and accounting.  He’s given me time to be creative, open minded and to do quick turn around projects. Even before my business is turning a profit I’m already a success, because this time success is not something I’ve assigned as quantifiable, it’s squishier than that.  Success now is people who are in my corner and have my back.  Will, fame and fortune follow? Maybe, but even if they don’t I’ve become a successful human being.

Hello World, It’s Me!

The real question is, “Me who?”  Is it the “Me” my friends know, my family, or maybe the reflection that looks back at me in the mirror?

How many times have any of you looked in a mirror and asked, “Who am I really?” This week that question has taken on a new meaning for me. This is the week I focused on completing my design website.

As any website this is all about self-promotion.  Let’s face it, who is really good any good at self-promotion? For me, I’ve elevated reserve to an art form. I’m just not good at telling the world about myself. I tend to down play achievements or accomplishments. I’ve always sort of depended on friends to endorse my abilities. As you can imagine this has meant that I’ve traveled under the radar for a good part of my life. Even when I have been recognized for a job well done, I’ve always said, “Ah shucks ‘twas nothing.”

So world the next time I’m asked, “who are you?” I can direct them to my website, grafixworksdesign.com, hold my head up and say, Monica Luchak, design professional.

Rejected Not A Reject

A good deal of time has passed since I last posted to this blog. I wish I could say the reason I’ve been so remiss is because I found a fantastic job, and I’m going to work every day; however, that is not the case. I’ve come to realize, I’m at an awkward age, to young to retire, and to old for someone to hire. HR people don’t know what to do with me and are torn.

I wish I could accurately illustrate the expression on the interviewer’s faces’ when I show up for an interview. You can literally see the play of emotions on their faces and in their carriage. It’s as if they want to say, “I never thought you were this old” and “I wonder how quickly I can get you out of here?” Talk about an alternate universe.

Years ago when I was coming up, I was regularly overlooked for positions because I didn’t have enough experience. I needed experience to get a job, but no one would hire me so I could get experience. Now that I have the hard won experience and knowledge under my belt, I’m overlooked again, but this time for other reasons, namely age

I had some amazing mentors early in my career. They taught me things that you never learn in school. They always told me, “Monica, the experience you get now will be your professional nest egg later in your career.”  Unfortunately, that has turned out not to be true. There is one thing that is true in my upside down world, and that is I no longer have to “fake it”. I actually “know it” now.

Let’s face it the likelihood of being hired by any company, as a full time employee is pretty slim. You know you have a problem when AARP didn’t hire you. I know this may sound bitter to some but I’m not ashamed to admit that’s a tough pill to swallow. All this ongoing rejection has taken a toll on my self-esteem and forced me to look at my skills and experience through a new lens. Let’s face it; self-examination is meant to be humbling. After much reflection, I decided not to allow others to dictate my worth any more. Hell, I’ve got a lot to offer. I don’t make stupid mistakes any more and I know how to get a job done. I’m confident there are companies/organizations out there that would benefit from the services of a seasoned design professional on a project-by-project basis.  Using that as my premise I’ve decided to throw myself into building a design business.

This decision is not a big surprise to my close friends. These people have given me encouragement, a hand up, and work. (You know who you are, and I am grateful.)  Without you I would have just continued to wallow until, who knows when.

Until recently this business concept has been more of a loosey goosey, catch as catch can, sort of thing. No real marketing just what fell into my lap. That will and has changed. I’m putting myself out there. Even now I have a project and I’m feeling good about it and myself. I’ll need to learn to toughen up my outer shell and prepare for the emotional ups and downs. I’ll still get rejected but now it will be on my terms.

There are those that may say this is distinction without a difference. I say it’s enough of a difference to allow me to look in the mirror and feel good about what I’m doing in my life.

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