Co-op Diaries: Art Director/Graphic Design at TJMaxx

By Abby Walker

Last fall, I really wasn’t sure if I would be going on co-op again. My first co-op was not the best, and I was hesitant to enter another work environment where I could potentially have the same experience. I applied to quite a few jobs on myNEU COOL, but there was only one job I was particularly interested in.

When applying for co-op last year, I applied as an international affairs major; I knew I wanted to work in fashion, so my options were somewhat limited. However, there was one job that sparked my interest: the art director position at TJX. The first time I saw the opening, I actually didn’t even apply because I didn’t think I could get it. Why would they hire someone with no portfolio and no design experience?

After my less-than-ideal experience at my first co-op, I switched majors so I could focus on design. I built up a portfolio of my work, and set myself a goal: I would go on co-op only if I could get this position–my dream co-op, if you will. It’s been just over a month, and I already feel like I’ve learned so much.

In this position, there is no limit to what responsibilities I hold. I’ve worked on social media posts, created the concept for our photoshoot, bought all of the necessary items, acted as the photographer and then designed the final piece. I work on a lot of graphic design heavy assignments, where I utilized Adobe Creative Suite to design in-store signage, gift cards, presentations, window clings and the like. The biggest project in our office currently is working on the opening of our Newbury Street store, which is incredibly exciting.

I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve discovered that you can make a career out of your passions (and make good money doing it.) You can really accomplish anything you set your mind to. I was determined to get this job, and might have gone a little overboard trying to get it (contacting whoever I knew who had worked here to get in touch with the people I interviewed with, etc.), and it really paid off. I work for a great company, which is growing every day and is always making room for people who are willing to put in the effort.

Final words? Corporate America doesn’t have to be so corporate–yes, you can have fun at work–and most importantly, just because you’re an intern doesn’t mean your opinion doesn’t matter. Ten out of ten, would recommend.