I don't think I ever imagined how I would write this journal. Probably because I never wanted to think about it. Even though I knew this day would come, I don't think I expected it to come so soon.
Today marks my last day as a full-time deviantART employee.
It's been a journey I can't even begin to describe. I've had such an incredible time during my run here, and I'll forever have a place in my heart for deviantART and its amazing people. I've come to a point where, as painful as it is, it's best for me to move on. I'm joining the team at JibJab
to promote their new product, StoryBots
. In this position, I'll be reaching out to kids, parents, and teachers to get StoryBots in classrooms and homes as fun, educational aids in increasing learning. It's an area in which I've done quite a bit of volunteer work in the past, so I'm really excited to jump in full-time.
But that also means I have to leave behind some of the best people, if not THE best people, to work with ever, and doing a job that's been fun, challenging, meaningful, and fulfilling.
I know I've said this before, but when I first started my deviantART account 9 years ago, I never, ever, in a million years, expected to be working for deviantART. Back in the day, deviantART was a fun distraction that I used to relax after school for an hour or so. I +Faved anime drawings, commented on works by friends I came to know, and wrote journals. I never got involved in the new features or the politics or the dArama with whatever was happening. I was here during a lot, but I have no memory of most of it because I was here to find art and friends.
And I've always tried to keep that in mind while working here. I never wanted to lose the joy I got from just merely interacting with the community.
I knew back then that deviantART would always be a big part of my life. I found friends on deviantART that I would have never found otherwise. I fell in love for the first time on deviantART, or, at least, fell in love with the idea of love. I began writing, which would eventually become one of my favorite activities. I drew regularly because of deviantART, even though I have no artistic skill whatsoever. I wanted to draw to give back to the community and friends that meant so much to me. Going to the same school for K-12 allowed me to maintain friendships for life, for which I'm completely grateful, but deviantART gave me the opportunity to make friends outside of my bubble. It also allowed me to realize what it meant to lose contact with people you care deeply about. Someday, I'd like to think the y=mx+b will meet again.
Little did I know that, while deviantART was, basically, my childhood through teen years, it would also play a monumental role in my young adult phase. In college, I still checked deviantART, though I had taken a pretty solid break. I saw a job posting through a news article announcement and, since I had to do an internship with a company that dealt internationally for college anyway, I thought deviantART would be the perfect place. I applied, never expecting to hear back. I was called for a phone interview with dloesch
, and then an in-person interview, which was my first-time driving to Los Angeles. I left crazy early -- I think I even skipped the end of a class to make sure I had plenty of time -- and, of course, that was the one and only time there was no traffic whatsoever. I got there, parked, and told myself I should wait in the car until it's a little closer until the interview time. And then I reasoned, "Well, what if I get lost in the building and can't find which office it is? I should go up there, make sure I can locate the office, then hang out in my car until it's time." Of course, when I got up there, I believe it was SGonzalez
who opened the door immediately and signaled dloesch
that I had arrived. I thought I had already blew it, getting there too early. But, I suppose he overlooked that, and took me on as an intern.
Intern days consisted of a lot of shipping, writing notes to deviants to put in packages, research, and some blog writing. I enjoyed my weekly trips to Hollywood, and getting to know a, relatively, small team at the time. As deviantART expanded, so did my duties and the number of employees. During my part-time work, I remember dloesch
leaving for another company, and I wasn't sure what would happen. Thankfully, Heidi
kept me on, and eventually, offered me a full-time position after I graduated college. I couldn't have hoped for anything better.
During my full-time gig, I got to experience more than I ever thought I would. I sat with the CEA team, which not only was a mind-blowing experience, but I also was able to foster a great friendship with aunjuli
. I was Heidi
's assistant, or Boss's Girl, as we called it, which meant I kept her list of tasks and even got to interrupt meetings from time to time when she had other things that needed to be done (or just needed rescued). I traveled to San Diego, Seattle, NYC, London, and France to meet deviants. I helped send more than 3500 cards to 23 hospitals around the world. I moved into the Fishbowl, playing games and engaging in general tomfoolery with Shyree
More than anything, I learned. A ton. This has been my first "real" job, outside of part-time gigs in high school and college. I learned how to communicate with clients, co-workers, and customers. I learned about the technical side to developing tools and features. I learned about planning and executing events and campaigns. I learned how to find smart people and stick by them. Thankfully, at deviantART, there's no shortage. I learned from failure and mistakes. I learned from successes. I learned the value of putting in a hard day's work. There were many late nights and hard days. But all completely and totally worth it. And actually, I might even miss those days. Free pizza was usually involved.
But never fear -- I won't be going away just like that. You can't get rid of me that easy.
You'll notice that I said this is my last day as a full-time employee. I'm going to continue on as a part-timer, picking up a few things here and there and helping with some of our major, multi-faceted events, so I'll still have my $ for a few months. But, you may see less of me as I've passed on some of my everyday duties to other amazing staffers who will do a far better job than I could ever do. And even so, I plan to still be around as a deviant, going on comment/+Fav sprees.
Once a deviant, always a deviant.
Most of all, I want to express my thanks. Thanks to dloesch
for giving me a chance. Thanks to Heidi
for not kicking me out the door, and supporting me to run with crazy, stupid ideas. Thanks to aunjuli
for always being there through all the stress, craziness, and downright ridiculous situations we fell in. Thank you to all deviantART staff for your support in all our projects.
And, of course, thank you community. Thank you for being you. Thank you for accepting me in, as a deviant and as a staff member. Thank you for sticking around, for voicing your thoughts, for your continued support of deviantART. This is a truly a one-of-a-kind, magical place that has forever impacted my life, and it's in no small way thanks to you.
I suppose that was a little stream-of-consciousness, but maybe that's the best way to go about this. Tl;dr, I'm leaving, but not forever. Thank you for everything. Don't be a stranger.