I’ve worked with some amazing people over my eleven years as a web person and a few stand out as inspirational characters. People who shaped my career, gave me confidence and helped realise my ability. Who inspired/inspires you?

With so many inspiring people in my career, one person sticks out, he started the journey into web design and shapes my own personal company.

My career started out in a way it should not have, graduating in two years not four, giving me a head start on most graduates, obviously like most things when I was younger – unfortunately I let this go to my head. I left with no CV, with no real-world examples of things I had done well or bad and with a promise of jobs coming to me. They didn’t and I didn’t exactly go looking for them.

Roll on six months, and desperation kicking in, I took a job at a bank, nothing fancy just a wage. 5 years later, the credit crunch hits and I find myself back where I was – full-bloody-circle: unhappy BUT this time equipped with a plan. I wanted “in” the web industry and nothing would stop me this time.

I applied for a job – a junior position at a very famous newspaper company in Yorkshire. My inbox pinged, and a phone call followed up: “Hello Michael, we would like to invite you to an interview” This was it, I knew I had my foot in the door, I went and met my manager, he was calm, funny and already had my respect with his excellent and friendly questions and answers.

Interview and mini-test (build a simple website) lasted 40 mins, which just breezed by. I then waited..in panic. Every time my phone went beep my heart stopped, then THE call came and I started Monday.

My first job in the web had arrived – hired for my potential not skill-set.

The first couple of months, are usually nothing months, knowing the company, working with new systems (cms’ and advertisement platforms) and learning new software, but one thing dawned on me almost instantly;

I found him: my mentor.

He didn’t look in the mould of someone Senior (no power suit), he had a funny Yorkshire accent, but he knew things I lacked – meeting with management / client skills, how to handle pressure that comes with deliverables and how to code / design; these things I wanted and knew I would get with him in charge.

He took me under his wing.

Nothing could phase me during my time there; management pressures, work deadlines and learning issues all handled with ease.

He taught me everything in regards to web, which to be honest I wasn’t really that concerned about – skills come and go when working on the job, with earphones on you can learn everything, but what he taught me outside of designing, outside of listening to music was where I really have to praise him and be eternally grateful. Now, as a “one man-band” I deal with clients, with very big plans, budgets ranging from small to large, and with this comes pressure and expectation. Handling pressure, time management and not getting emotionally attached is key to being successful, can you say to yourself “it’s just a job”?

I was only there for a year, but what I took away from there was worth more than the two years during university and the five years at the bank.

In tough times now working for myself – I remind myself with a quote he said a lot to me: “Mikey..you are just a designer, nothing bad is going to happen if you get it wrong”.

That one line was worth the year alone, and you know what – he was right.

So thank you Adi for what you did, you started this journey without even knowing.

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I'm a designer from England.

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