Unstuck in Action: Time for a culture change

January 14, 2013

Name:  Meredith Caraher

Age:  33

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Occupation: Currently, owner of MZCDesign, which provides logo design, graphic design, photography, retouching, and strategy to startups in the fashion and music industries. Previously, creative director at a fashion company.

Passionate about:  “Creative problem solving. What I really like to do is work with people and come up with solution to problems. It’s where I’m happiest. I like to apply abstract ideas to real problems.”

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?
“A friend told me about it and it rang a bell with the way I approach my own work and life. I was curious to see how it worked.”

How often do you get stuck?
“Everyone gets stuck. Sometimes you can be a little stuck or really stuck. I don’t get really stuck all that often, but there are little things that come up in my day to day.” 

How do you know when you’re stuck?
“I have a hard time concentrating. I feel very fatigued and don’t know what to do with myself.” 

What’s it like to get unstuck?
“It’s like drinking strong coffee, or when the camera suddenly goes into focus. Everything becomes clear, like putting on a pair of glasses.”

What was the stuck moment that you used the app for?
 “I started with a personal problem but it ended up being a lot more about my professional choices than the personal issues that were happening in my life. I had been having really low energy during the days and feeling disoriented—a sign of depression for me. I couldn’t concentrate, and was exhausted all the time. The app told me I was a Deflated Doer.

“When I was going through the cards, it made me realize how much I miss working with people. I found myself feeling very lonely while doing the app. It sat in my mind for a week or so, and developed into the realization that I hadn’t been working with people for over a year and was feeling isolated, wishing to have people to bounce ideas off of.

“I don’t think it’s healthy for me to freelance from home. I’m just not happy with that kind of routine. It took about a year before it started to drain me. At first there was the excitement of getting established and working with different industries. Once that rush was over and I had a routine, the routine itself became the problem. I found myself being tempted to contact other freelancers to create a collective.”

What did you do next?
“I started taking onsite contracts and doing some classes for fun — anything that would get me into a group, including a couple of unpaid internships. I found that my energy, my inspiration, and my productivity skyrocketed. It was like I was reborn.

“Even so, freelancing has been a worthwhile experiment for me. Now I need to close out my contracts and find fulltime work. I’ve started researching the types of places that encourage creative communities.”

If you could change one thing about Unstuck, it would be:
“I like that the interface is different from what I would personally design, but if I were to hand tailor a tool for myself it would be a flow chart that allows me to move ideas around so I can connect and visualize them in different ways.”

If you would like to be interviewed for the Unstuck in Action series, contact us at ideas@unstuck.com.

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