Value Your Design
Recently at work things have been very stressful, I am sure that most of us have experienced this, and if you haven’t you will soon enough. One of the frustrating things about this stress is that it always surrounds design and or development…
whether it be deadlines, scope creep, natural disasters(servers failing), meetings about the direction of a project, or any of the things that can add frustration to the process. The more that this happens the easier it can be to start to get burnt out creatively, and soon enough the fun and passion is lost in what we do.
If we start to lose our passion, we can lose sight of why we do what we do, and that is one of the beautiful things about being creative, it is a job that requires passion, and the reward(non monetary though that can also be nice) of breathing life into someone’s vision is very satisfying.
All of us are in different positions (in-house, part time, independent, all off the above) so finding resolution to keep from losing focus, passion, and the enjoyment that comes with what we do can be difficult. So my resolution is that we value our design, in my recent reading and experience I have come across some principles and practices that are a great standards to set in an effort to value our design.
Below I have listed 5 things that when put into play can make our careers/pursuit of careers as creatives more fulfilling, and when we work form the position of being more fulfilled in what we do we increase our chances for success, growth, and the ability to have a positive influence in our design community, jobs, and with our clients. These points are gathered from reading, experience (failure and success),and conversations. They are not a magic solution,it is up to each of us to apply them to our own situation.
1) Work on Things That Matter.
We all have projects that we get excited about, and then there are those projects that we would rather not think about. Either way as I have said before we offer a service that is not as common, and from time to time we will have the opportunity to use it to give back. I am not promoting spec work but what I am endorsing is using our talents to support something of value.
I recently had an opportunity to participate in One Day For Human Rights, now my involvement wasn’t huge, but I had the opportunity to educate others about a humanitarian crisis that we all can help with. I simply wrote an article and put a graphic on my site, but to see others like Anca Foster work diligently at getting others involved, was inspiring to think I am able to support something worthwhile with my trade and abilities is very fulfilling and I highly recommend it.
2) Work with people you like and respect.
This sounds simple, but working for and with people that you do not respect for whatever reason is just not worth it no matter how big the money or prestigious the project. It will take it’s toll. So as much as you have the opportunity work for and with people that you respect. Even if you don’t know the people you work with all that well, find common ground, get to know them keep it professional but getting to know about them will really help in building respect for them, or learning that they may not be the type of people that you would like to work with. I am very fortunate to work for a boss that I highly respect, and during the hard times it makes it that much easier.
3) Set the Bar High.
If you constantly challenge your self with reasonable goals you will continue to grow as a designer/developer. Take pride in your work, it feels good to have preformed a job well done. As much as you have the influence, don’t settle for second best.
4) Have a sense of humor.
There is nothing more damaging to our fulfillment then taking ourselves to seriously, learn to laugh at yourself, and enjoy what you do. You can do this and still approach your job as a professional I promise. It will make your job more enjoyable, and most likely improve your relationship with those you work with. This is a nice way to continue the process of being fulfilled in your job.
5) Be Open to Change
I know that we strive to be experts… and some of us very well may be experts, but even so we can always learn and grow as creatives. Be willing to try a path you hadn’t originally planned, be open to the ideas of others, it will broaden your perspectives and you might learn things that you wouldn’t of learned otherwise. Along with having a sense of humor being open to change makes you easy to work with, and definitely lends towards being more fulfilled in what you do.
I am sure there are other things that we can do to value our design/development, I would love to hear what you may do that helps you to value what you do and can lead to a more fulfilling experience. I know that this post was a bit long winded (i could have kept going) but i do think that this is a crucial element to our growth and enjoyment in what we do for fun or for a living.
Let me know what your opinions are, have I lost my mind? did i leave something out? I would love to hear your feedback.
~ Aaron I