Navigating the creative industry during a pandemic

Our Junior Designer and creative maverick, Karlis, writes about his experience of joining ORCA in the middle of a pandemic from a recent graduate's perspective.

Even before graduating last year, I knew I wanted to waste no time. I needed to keep pushing myself out there and dive headfirst into the creative industry. At that point in time, my social media feed made me feel as though not a lot of employers wanted to take the risk of having graduate creatives step on board in their companies, which probably is fair to assume. When it seems like everything around you is so fragile and inconsistent, you don’t really want to take any risks. Why pay graduate creatives if there’s a large pool of experienced talent already across the UK & abroad, eager to jump on ANY job opportunity? By June of 2020, I was already worn out by the never-ending ‘2020 = bad’ cliche that circulated my feed.

It seems like a lot of people who start creative degrees either forget or perhaps just don’t realise how competitive the creative industry can be. It was inevitable that during a pandemic, we’d see a high rise in redundancies and unemployment, which would make an already competitive industry even harder to navigate. With so many creatives graduating alongside you every year, all across the country, I knew it was essential to understand how to separate from the pack and market myself accordingly. 

I believe that no matter what career choice you pursue, what ultimately brings you to your goals is passion. If you’ve got the passion, you’ll bring the effort. If you truly show both - you’ll be rewarded for it. I absolutely love being a creative - I enjoy producing something out of nothing. I love to create things that people look at and think - “Fuck, that is cool!” I love creating experiences and telling stories. All of this is why I wanted to be a part of a creative agency. That is what gave me the motivation to work harder on how I present myself and the projects I showcase. 2020 served as a boost in my resilience and commitment and within a month of graduating, I was fortunate enough to be rewarded with three job opportunities. 

Personally, I love seeing passion and resilience within others too. If I were to hire someone, I think that is what I’d be looking for. So, this is what I tried to showcase when I spoke about my work and that is what made me connect with ORCA. 

I think it is important to be a part of a company that shares similar goals and is on the same wavelength as you. That is what ORCA represented to me. Everyone’s voice matters despite what your position is within the company, which is very encouraging for someone who might be lacking previous professional agency experience. It’s an equal, supportive playing field which makes anyone feel comfortable to share any idea that comes to mind - good or bad. This is what you desire when you work within the creative industry - you don’t want your opinions to be shunned.

At ORCA, Playfulness is encouraged. Everyone matters.

It's important to all of us that we do work that we love and in turn, is a fundamental aspect of producing good outcomes. This is comforting for both sides - us as a team and for the clients we work with. The importance of this studio environment is further emphasised when another lockdown hits and you’re forced to work from home. It can get tough separating work & home, especially without the comfort of a detached creative space. So, being surrounded by good people, the ability to work with clients you enjoy working with and the freedom of being able to pick up a passion project as part of your daily tasks, definitely makes the situation more comforting.

I consider myself quite lucky to start my career within an agency that offers so much freedom and guidance, whilst also trusting me to take on bigger projects & responsibilities. I wanted to be a part of a studio where I felt like what I do and what I say, matters, which is exactly what I got at ORCA.

Our perspective is what guides us in life and whilst it’s easy to succumb to the negativity bias, I’ve always believed that our actions guide our emotions. Work hard, understand what’s important to your happiness, figure out your goals and focus on both without letting surrounding voices direct your perspective. I think eventually everyone somehow manages to find what they’re looking for. 

KK