After catching up with old classmates at my 10-year reunion this past weekend, I realize I could have predicted most of their professional futures back when we were hanging giant mascots on the walls before the pep rally.
The class president (whose debate and speech skills beat out yours truly for the position) is now an attorney. So is the valedictorian. The lead in all the school plays is a theatrical makeup artist. The girl who blew me away by how quickly she picked up trigonometry (without sweating like I did) is a financial analyst. The girls who spent the best years of their lives at conferences for Future Business Leaders of America all work in some facet of marketing. The cheerleader who was always smiling is a nurse (with a pleasant and peppy bedside manner, I imagine). The star field hockey player now coaches the same sport. And the yearbook editor-in-chief spends her time doing layouts, proof-checks, and editing blog posts.
That’s right. Everything I need to know to run LBK Designs, I learned from making a 42-page book filled with black and white photos of chess club members, volleyball games and prom kings, with captions not unlike, “Becky, Suzie and Jordan laugh over a joke told at the lunch table. A good time was had by all.”
- The teacher (client) gets to make the final decision, but it is my job to gently and persuasively guide that person to the right choice.
- Spelling and grammatical errors, once in print, are forever.
- At least three people must approve (preferably with a stamp emblazoned with each individual’s initials) every page before it can go to print (see #2).
- Turn a boring headline into a fun one, and the whole page comes to life.
- “Nobody will ever read this” is not an excuse to skim over copy you are proofreading.
- “Nobody will ever read this” is not an excuse to write lousy copy.
- Only include a quote if someone really said it. (And spell that person’s name correctly.)
- When choosing a photo, ask yourself, Would I want a picture of me wearing leggings, taken from an unfavorable angle, to be seen by others for all eternity?
- Charge a fair price, or people will record their own memories (or use a different designer).
- Work only feels like work when you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Choose a career that you knew you loved even when you weren’t paid to do it. (I’m sure glad I followed this one.)