Seven-Year Itch

Big Picture's leader reflects on her entry into print.

“Seven years ago, when I joined Big Picture magazine as assistant editor, I had no idea the world of wide-format existed. Sure, I passed digitally printed applications daily, but I had no connection to or knowledge of the people, technology, innovation, and passion surrounding this industry. Now, I feel like it’s all I know.”

This is the beginning of an answer I gave Marcus Timson, director of FM Future, in my recent interview for FuturePrint. His inquiry was simple, “How did you get into print? Had you intended to become part of the printing world?”

I love asking both industry vets and newbies these same questions. Unless you came from a long line of printers, I’m not sure you knew this industry is where you’d end up either. And, while the answers I receive vary, they always end the same: “I don’t know where else I’d want to be.”

While walking running the show floor at Printing United in Dallas, I caught up with Bob Elliott, Graphic Finishing Partners. “You know, I was your first interview at your first tradeshow,” Bob said. “When was that? Six, seven years ago?” 

That sure stopped me in my tracks. Bob was right. In 2013, I attended my first industry event: ISA Expo in Las Vegas. I walked into the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and onto the red-carpeted floors with a notebook, pen, and a list of vendors to visit, paired with only a few months of wide-format knowledge. I felt overwhelmed and under-prepared. The closest I had been to these products was spec sheets and advertisements; I had yet to see a wide-format digital printer in person. I vividly remember calling my mom and saying, “I’m not sure this is the right industry for me.”

I now look back on that time with a smile and a laugh. Who knows what I said to Bob as I pretended to know the ins and outs of laminating. I’m thankful for him, and so many others at that tradeshow and beyond, for welcoming me with open arms, teaching me everything that comes with this industry, and giving me the opportunity to grow. 

The seven-year itch suggests that happiness in a relationship declines around year seven of a marriage. November 12th was my seven-year anniversary with Big Picture magazine and this industry.

You can probably already guess – I don’t have the itch. I’m sure this is the right industry for me. And I don’t know where else I’d want to be.

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