We had the good fortune of connecting with Cecilia Chang Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cecilia, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Is there such a thing as work life balance? I think over time a lot of jobs become all-consuming. Whatever your profession, you need focus and drive in order to channel passion into career. It does get overwhelming sometimes. Trying to find balance can overtake perspective. I’m constantly trying to find inspiration to create versus creating because it pays the bills. It’s easy to lose focus on why you started creating in the first place. People in my industry sometimes spend 50-60 hours a week working. Sometimes 100. What we all have to remember is that it’s okay to step away and take a break doing something completely unrelated to the job. As hours get longer and expectations become higher, it’s so important to find time for yourself. To rediscover that passion and reason for starting this work.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m incredibly lucky to have a long and fruitful career in Motion Graphics spanning more than 8 years. If I could pinpoint a single achievement, there is an Emmy award for Graphic Design from 2014 that’s gathering dust in the back of my office. I guess what I’m trying to say is, no single piece of paper or award should define your personal achievements. What I get most excited about is doing the work I love and working alongside talented and kind people who I’ve formed amazing friendships with. Not a lot of people are lucky enough to be able to work with their friends, and I’m humbled by it every day. I think there’s a common misconception that creative types are always “on”; as in we’re pulling in inspiration at all hours of the day, constantly creating and evolving and don’t have lives outside of said creative bubble. Because if you’re not constantly creating, how can you evolve, right? Though I believe in something more. I believe in working hard but also living your life, because nothing is worth killing yourself over. Luck definitely seems to have played a sizable role in my success. That’s not to say everything was handed to me on a silver platter. There were huge challenges to overcome. Graduating from college, paying for college, working as a new grad, working as a freelance designer, paying rent and bills on top of paying off a huge student loan. Taking care of family, working 100-hour weeks, choosing between family and work constantly. It’s difficult to strike that balance, for sure. Some lessons I’ve learned over the years- to let things go if you don’t agree with seemingly unconsidered client decisions. To pick and choose my battles. To learn to put some distance between my job and my life. I want people to know that everything will be ok.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’m a huge homebody. I’m not an incredibly exciting person therefore probably the last pick to show a visiting friend around the city. It could be because I grew up here yet hate going to the beach, don’t particularly enjoy drinking alcohol and would rather cook dinner at home or read a book in the afternoon sun. My husband and I are avid hikers and love traveling outside of the city whenever we get a chance. And there are so many great hikes and campgrounds just an hour or two away in SoCal, I’d love to show first time visitors a great time hiking and camping.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would definitely not be where I am today if not for my mom. I grew up in Los Angeles as the child of a single parent. From her I learned strength, independence, empathy and kindness. Pretty much everything and more that makes a person a good human. She isn’t with us anymore. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of her as well as thank her for everything she was and everything she taught me to be.