Quitting job to work on Portfolio

Hi Everyone!

Looking for some advice about how potentially detrimental it would be to quit my current job with nothing else lined up…

Bit of background - I started this job in April and it was billed as a product design role with some retail displays, but mostly a product job. I’d been looking for a product job for a year and a half as I was in retail design and I just don’t really enjoy it (generally - there were some good projects). So I took this role as a stepping stone to try and get my career on a path I would be happier with.

Unfortunately, I was somewhat misled and my role now is basically visual merchandising - having to turn around display visuals in half a day. I really don’t enjoy this role at all, I’m so bored and frustrated because I’m not learning anything or gaining experience in product design as I’m the only 3D designer here.

My thought was to hand in my notice in the new year, look for jobs in the meantime then work full-time on my portfolio with personal projects and getting by on a bit of freelance work. I’m aware that generally, it’s best to keep working whilst looking, but I wanted to get your opinions as to how this would be viewed by potential new employers (ideally looking at agency roles).

Thank you!

Your story is not unusual. It’s quite normal for a less-than-perfect fit in your first position (I am assuming is your first job). I understand your eagerness to get out of that position to allow you more freedom to search for your next job, but I suggest you consider sticking it out while you conduct your search. It is generally true that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job. I don’t know if it’s a psychological thing or what, but employers typically like hiring someone who’s already has a job because I guess it makes the candidate seem more employable as opposed to someone who isn’t currently employed.

In addition, you might want to consider how you frame the job you currently have in your resume. You don’t want to give the impression that you bail on a job so quickly because that might raise a red flag to your new potential employer.

Just some things to consider. Good luck!


Thanks for your insight Warren!

This is my second job out of university, the first was a pure retail design agency which was fine, just retail design isn’t what I’m particularly passionate about. Part of the issue I have is an unpleasant commute (1.5 hours each way on the London Underground), but I’m moving early January, so hopefully, that will free up some time for portfolio work and personal projects. I’ll stick it out for a bit and see how that goes I think.

Another add-on question: I’ve been working in a professional capacity for about 3 and a bit years, but largely in retail design (permanent displays) and some gifting, should I be looking at mid-level roles or step back to junior if I’m pursuing more Industrial design based roles?

The old maxim of “it is easier to find a job when you have a job” usually rings true as Warren recommended.

At 3 years you would likely be looking at entry level positions, depending on how strong your portfolio and soft skills are and the workplace.

I second that. Better to move forward from where you are. Think about new opportunities within the company as well while you are there, maybe there are ways to improve the commute?