Every day something different
Working for an agency can be rough. You have to deliver very high quality to edge out the competition and at the same time do it quickly, or the agency does not make a return on your task. Then after racing the contracted site out the door, you go and sell it to the client, hopefully with some side agreement behind the scenes.
I reveled in the competition and the constant effort to become a better designer. Seeing work from my colleagues and rivals pushed me to rethink my own approach and refine my techniques.
After 8 years of doing that I felt there was no way to advance anymore. All projects boiled down to making money for the agency, not delivering the best possbile product for the client. Make what sells, not what works, and have it done by the end of the day please. It was also the time when the mainstream focus shifted from fancy graphics and layouts to UX first. It was time to leave and try something else.
Focus deep instead of wide
I joined HRS and for the first time, I could spend days thinking about one small thing. It was a revelation. Come to work, dive deep into a single aspect of one thing, and work on it for weeks. No pressure to have it finished by the end of the day. It was glorious freedom.
I can't imagine working in an agency-like environment anymore. Working on a product has become my new passion, and I love it.