It's About Time

Posted by jplatt on March 23, 2015

A good friend of mine accused me of Vague-Booking the other day. 

For those of you who don't know what that means (and I would be hard pressed to find a high percentage of anyone who wouldn't know what that is), let me help you out. 

Vague-Booking: Adj. To post something on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, without clear explanation to readers; to be vague in the post. 


- Post: "Who would have thought this would happen?"

- Post: 'Welp,I guess I'm going to the ER.'

If you'll notice in both examples there is no clear explanation of 'why' or 'what' was happening. So in order to vague-book one has to first be vague. 

So when my friend accused me of vague-booking (all in a good natured way, by-the-way) I corrected her in saying that I wasn't vague-booking, but 'not-booking' at all. She reluctantly agreed with me, but still was not satisfied. She was hoping to find out what was going on. 

But I'm being vague, aren't I?

Last Friday, I posted a new cover photo on my Facebook with me sitting on one of the Rise at Allsteel. It's a very somber looking photo but looks really nice (My co-worker Kristen took it as a test shot for some photos we were shooting that day). It got some heavy attention and likes. Which lead to my wife commenting, "Something big is on the horizon..." And later that day my friend Kristen posted a picture of me and my immediate co-workers saying that they were going to miss me, and wishing me good luck.

So while I wasn't specifically vague-booking, I was, admittedly, guilty of vague-booking by omission. 

Since graduation from SCAD in 2001 I have been working either in an agency or corporate setting for the past fourteen years. And within that time not only was I illustrating for each of those companies, but have been freelancing my illustration on the side at the same time (along with spot-producing my comic Mister & Me too). If you're a designer of any kind, you probably empathize with the schedule. The schedule of working a full-time job, managing a family and home, and then working the graveyard shift focusing on the heart of your work.

I've been working that schedule for over a decade. Much like finding out the age of a tree by counting it's rings, you could probably do the same with the bags under my eyes. And as the years climb up, my family has been worried about my sleep and personal health because of it. 

But it was hard not to accept side jobs when the job sounded fun and paid well. 

So it came to the point where we realized that something had to change. It was either I quit drawing all together, and continue on working in the corporate setting (which was a fantastic job, I don't want anyone to think i was miserable there because I wasn't); or move on from the corporate setting and focus on my illustration on a more permanent basis. And the choice wasn't that hard to make. If a singer retires from performing on stage, you can bet that they will still hum on walks, sing in the shower, or even sing someone happy birthday every year. I could never quit drawing. It's in my blood, and has been apart of who I am for 95% of my life. And to consider not doing it anymore is on the same level as announcing that I'm going to quit breathing.

It's what I do. It's who I am.

Two years ago, when I broke my hand in a theatrical accident (that's a story for another day), my wife and I sat in the hospital room waiting for the tech to come in and wrap my drawing hand up, I looked up at her and said, "What if I can't draw anymore?"  With tears in her eyes, she looked at me. She didn't answer. She couldn't say, "Of course you will," when neither one of us knew if I would be able to. If anyone has ever seen the movie "The Hustler," you can visualize the scene when Paul Newman comes back to Piper Laurie's apartment with his hands raised up and he cries, "They broke my thumbs". The scene and the emotion was about the same as it was in the hospital that night. 

But my hand did heal. And I can draw again.

And as I climb through my early forties, I'm realizing that time is easing out like a small hole in a balloon. Not enough air to come out to make a difference today; but give it a year, and the differences will be clear.

So last month, after having family discussions on the matter, I gave my notice in to Allsteel. Last Friday being my last day. 

So why did I not mention this online yet?

Because it's not easy, especially in our economy these days to say that you're leaving a good job to pursue something that doesn't have a steady paycheck or has a 401K. And the last thing I want anyone to think is that I am being irresponsible in this choice. But the only thing irresponsible is wasting the talent that I've been blessed with, and taking my personal health for granted.

So what will I be doing? My goals are simple. To do what I'm best at. To do what people hire me for: Children's illustration. To publish and be published in books and magazines, and get my comic out there more. And ultimately, making people happy while earning a living. 

And the encouragement from my family and friends have been outstanding. From the, "I'm so happy for you!" to the ever popular, "It's about damn time!"

And you know, they're right. It is about damn time.