On July 4th, 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Today, the citizens of the U.S. will be spending time with family and friends, grilling meat on their barbecues and basking in the glow of dazzling firework displays, however, I am celebrating for a different reason; today I will be joining the team at Ecliptic Labs as their UX Designer.

Over the past year my time has been spent teaching Interactive Multimedia Design at the University of Ulster, running a business as a freelance designer and working on my own start-up — I also back-packed from Belfast to Budapest, fell in love with fixed-gear bikes and grew a questionable moustache, but that's for another time. Teaching has been a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience, especially if you are lucky enough to have an eager cohort of students who are willing to work hard and take their own initiative. If you are ever presented with the opportunity to pass your knowledge onto someone else, take it. Robert Half said, “when one teaches, two learn”; it couldn't be more true.

I have spent the past six years freelancing, primarily as a web designer. Lie-ins and ever-changing work environments were a familiar occurrence. Facebook friends would sometimes post envious comments about my seemingly laid-back work-life, but the truth is, freelancing is difficult. Juggling multiple clients, scheduling meetings, keeping up with administration and actually finding the time to do the work is time consuming and it would often lead to caffeine-fuelled all-nighters in order to meet deadlines.

Alas, it's time to move on to the next chapter of my career. The late nights are not a thing of the past but at least now there will be others to boil the kettle. This is a company that is hungry, foolish and crazy enough to believe it can change the world. I'm glad to be part of it. Here's to the crazy ones…