Head of Interaction and Service Design at @DigitalDWP
Is loving your job a bad thing?
Is loving your job a bad thing?
If you like to do something you do it often, whether it’s playing sports, designing, gaming, cooking or blogging. If you’re one of the lucky people in the world who actually manages to do this and make money from it you’re actually working whether you like it or not.
Someone asked the other day, “What do you want to do?”, as if to make me think at the moment I wasn’t truly doing what I wanted. It was an out of the blue question which got me thinking, in an idea world what would I like/love to be doing?
Since starting work at 15 I’ve had 8 different jobs and only 3 of these I have not liked. They paid bills. Some people are fortunate in finding a job which they enjoy or love which also pays for you to have a comfortable lifestyle, one where you can enjoy your life both ‘at work’ and ‘at home’. I’m not talking about being extravagant and going on multiple holidays a year, I’m talking about going to cinema, a gig or visiting places that you want when you want to.
The building in which I work is on the same campus as a University, I’m saddened to see people younger than myself heading to get an education knowing full well nearly 90% of them gaining a high-end qualification (degree level) will probably not end up in a job which they enjoy.
I didn’t go to University. I chose to make my own life choices, to better myself personally and professionally in something that I loved and it ended up being in design and online *stuff*. This has meant that at 27, I’ve got a lot of experience in multiple areas that I use to do my work and I’ve also done a lot where I’ve gained life experience. Experience is what will get you through just about anything, I firmly believe this. I believe that experience is the one thing that has guided and is still guiding me through my professional life.
I’m currently one of those people who is fortunate enough to actually love what I do. I get asked one question a lot. What do I have to do to get in to design? And time and time again is that you need to live, sleep, eat and breathe it. Our industry moves so fast that at the best of times its hard to keep up, never mind if you treat it like a 9 to 5 job. I also think that the design industry is unique in being one of the only types of work that people can genuinely fall in love with on such a large scale. Take web conferences for instance, the majority if not all of the attendees go to a web conference because they enjoy being a part of the hustle and bustle of the industry, they enjoy learning and they most certainly enjoy meeting up with people and discussing design/development over a beer. I just couldn’t see this happen in other industry’s like teaching or nursing. You’d almost always see other industry’s forcing themselves to go to a conference or spending hours outside of work on work-related activities.
Whether it be designing, planning, writing or the many other things I end up doing from day to day there isn’t much that gets me down about what I do for ‘work’. Most of the people I speak to outside of our industry think I’m crazy. Whenever they ask me what I’m doing they receive the usual answer of “Just working…”. It’s the easiest way to explain to them that I’m doing something I enjoy. It eliminates long conversations about what I’m doing so I can get back to it.
I enjoy and love what I do and there shouldn’t be a problem with that. I enjoy working longer hours, it means I can do more, I can read more, I can speak to people more. I know a lot of people who work longer hours and from what I gather, they never complain as they’re always doing something ‘cool’.
In noticing this article by Paul Boag where he discusses the point about working too much being bad for you, I had to agree to most of it. I believe even if you do love your work so much, you have to be realistic about how much your body can take. From experience, I now know that an all-nighter will ruin me the next day and will take me another couple of days to get back to normal. However, I believe that working more hours in the day when you can is not a problem and everyone should try to do a bit of reading / writing or just trying something new whether it be coding or designing to keep us on top of our game.