Business Analyst Turned Knitter

February 17, 2011 at 11:13 am 4 comments

It’s been a month and a half since I left my job as a Business Analyst, and it’s been wonderful! I am happily ensconsed in my homey duties, getting a bit of knitting and designing in as a can. The funny thing is… this isn’t that different from my growing up years. I was homeschooled, so I was home all day, doing schoolwork most of the time and catching as much free time as I could quilting, knitting and crafting. It’s kind of tempting to think… what if I could have skipped everything in the middle… what if I could have made the leap from home focused, knitting, highschooler to home focused, knitting, wife? There was a whole lot of stress and general unpleasantness in the 8.5 years between these two roles, and being the comfort lover that I am, would have been delighted to find a way to skip it all.

But that’s my comfort loving, short sighted self. In the long run, I wouldn’t have traded the 4 years at school, or the 4.5 years working for all the tea in china, as they say. I know lots of people say this sort of thing about uncomfortable experiences. They say it made them stronger, or more understanding of the character of God, or just made them a better person in general. While I hope all these things are true about those 8.5 years, I actually think my training for and experience as a Business Analyst (BAs they call us out in the financial industry) has made me a better knitwear designer.

Yup, you read right. Being a BA made me a better knitter and designer. Business Analysis is all about process. It’s about looking at someone’s job, asking what they love doing, what they hate doing, what repetative tasks they do all the time, what work they want to do but never get to because more mundane things take up their time, etc. The BA takes all that information and comes up with ways to make those pain points, those hated, mundane, time eating tasks either go away or become much less work. In my job this usually involved giving them new technology, or helping them use existing technology in a more strategic way. But lots of times, those solutions involved simple changes in how work was done in the team. Doesn’t that sound like fun? My job was to make other peoples jobs easier and more enjoyable. Sounds like it should be rewarding… and most of the time it was. The downside is that you have to tell people to do things differently than they did before, and generally speaking people don’t like change. That change management piece was the part that made work pretty stressful. But I digress.

Anything that you do more than once is a process. Anything that you do only once is a project. There’s a lot of gray areas around those definitions, but generally speaking they hold true. When I decided to be a designer, I realized that though each design is it’s own piece of artistic creativity, I was going to be designing an object of some kind more than once, and hopefully, more than ten or twenty times, making it a process. There was going to be a lot of tasks I would have to do every single time I wrote, knit, and published a pattern. I also acutely aware of the fact that a lot of them would get really really time consuming, or worse yet, really annoying, if I didn’t come up with a way to manage them. Enter 8.5 years of less than enjoyable school and work experience. I decided to become my own Business Analyst. I would look at my new job of knitwear designer exactly the way I had looked at everyone else’s job at work, and I would come up with ways to make my life easier.

Thinking about knitwear design from this perspective has been a lot of fun. I’ve gotten to use all those skills, and apply them to a subject matter that I’m head over heels in love with. My job satisfaction as a BA is derived not just from making people happier in their jobs, but by working with a subject that I am genuinely interested in, and best of all, I’m not making other people happier, I’m making ME happier in my job. My job satisfaction as a knitwear designer now comes from the fact that I am freed from doing a lot of things repetitively so I can spend more time sketching, and knitting, and less time arranging pattern layouts or tracking down sizing calculations that are generating incorrect results.

In looking at my last few posts you can see the result of this marriage of skill sets. I bought intwined to speed up my charting tasks. I designed word templates so I wouldn’t have to spend more than an hour on each pattern layout. Even my photos have benefited from this thinking. I started using picnik.com to add effects, tweak color and lighting, and add some pithy text. Picnick lets me do this in about 3 minutes or less per photo.

The whole system feeds on itself and creates a wonderful set of work that I take great delight in on a daily basis. Here’s to the truth of the fact that no education is ever wasted.

 

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Entry filed under: My Designs. Tags: , , , , .

Designing Word Templates A Garden Detour

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Catherine  |  February 18, 2011 at 9:13 am

    It is so true that as long as you are generally pushing forward no experience is a waste of time. At present I am a lawyer who blogs about knitting. There are quite a lot of challenges, not least time. No point just talking about knitting, I have to do it too, but I love it

    Reply
    • 2. elegant economy  |  February 19, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Indeed! And I love your blog! You do some really creative things.

      Reply
  • 3. Catherine  |  February 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Hi

    I have chosen your blog for a Stylish Blogger Award and you can read all about it at http://www.chopkins2011.blogspot.com

    x C

    Reply
  • 4. Synergy and Confluence | Silver Illusions Knits  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    […] been reading a really interesting discussion on Ravelry recently, in reference to this blog post, about what sorts of things in one’s past contribute most or best to one’s […]

    Reply

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