So after my last post discussing the woes of not traveling, it occurred to me that I need to get off my butt and act. This time next week I’ll be eating breakfast on the beach in Hawaii and there’s nothing that can stop me.
I’ve read time and time again of people lamenting their situations and how they’re stuck or repressed. While that’s true for some, I’d argue that for the vast majority its self-inflicted and they have no one aside from themselves to blame. But that supposition does little to help.
My prescription to the problem though, is simple.
Identify what you want to do. Your goals. Your dreams. These don’t matter to anyone else. When you approach life, you have to a be a little bit selfish! I’m not saying work at the expense of others. But if you take the time for yourself it will improve you skills, your abilities, and can even improve your current/potential relationships. Make yourself an exceptional person! I’m not saying in everything (though, if you’re ambitious enough…), but rather…
Who would you respect more… A person who has taken the time to learn, practice, and become knowledgable in a subject. Or a random voice on the internet who’s credibility is equal to that of any 1000′s of cat photos? Perhaps someone who spends all the time watching TV judging the folks on reality TV and then lamenting how they never do anything?
These sound pretty harsh, but I’ve seen far too much of this self-victim mentality from people I’ve encountered in life to just let it slide.
If you were to ask, I think the only advice I can offer is this. If you want to do something… Find a way to make it happen. Plans take time, I’m only able to drop everything and take a vacation now (and afford it) because of planning and effort to get a job that would support this lifestyle.
If you want something. Research, plan, weigh the risk and consequence. Compare where you’ll be 10 years from now on your current trajectory and where you could be 10 years from now if you take a different path.
To quote a certain Planetary Captain, “The power, is yours!”
Things are going well. So well, it’s difficult to find things to complain about. Aside from the usually stresses of work, there’s really little concern I seem to have in life. Now if this is the case- then why am I so antsy?
Save for several trips into Canada (which is fun, but not the same as a land where you barely speak their language), I haven’t been out of the country since Iceland in 2009. As a result I have several trips set up for this year. I’m headed to Vegas (at some point), Montana for a week in June and Orlando in December… But that’s still local.
In college and grad school, you’d find me traveling every couple months. Sometimes I was heading home, but more often than not it seemed I was headed to Europe, Asia or the South Pacific. I consider myself lucky, but at the same time… It triggered something in me. Every couple months I feel like I need to get out and see the world.
But then… There’s that guillotine known as Priorities. This sharp blade helps shape those things that are important in life. Right now? I’m still in debt up to my ears. Fortunately I’ve got a job that pays well and an amazing partner, so I’m quickly rising to the surface… As a result, most significant travel has to sit back. Get sliced and diced so that it only happens once maybe twice a year.
But shouldn’t once or twice be enough?
It seems like a fault or something… Like I’m being greedy in the notion that I feel I should be globe-trotting. For some weird reason this concept makes me feel guilty. Why should I get the opportunity to travel? Why am I so privileged? Well if hard work is privilege, then I guess I am (darn you lingering Catholic guilt, I know you are a lifetime to recover from… so leave this Atheist alone).
I WANT to travel all the time. If I had my druthers, I’d be country-hopping once a month at the very least. By extension I want to study other cultures, sketch their people and buildings, document and photograph life! I want to learn from them, speak 50+ languages and learn about the splintering of cultures before we all globalize into one grey mass. Sigh. Aside from a marketer or international business man… What job would there for me to do? Rick Steve’s job seems like fun, but I am no Rick Steves.
Course-correcting back to reality.
Between barreling towards my 30th Birthday and having to wait at least 3 more months for another break from work, I think my antsy nature is only gonna get worse. Perhaps I need a travel-inoculation. Something along the lines of a long weekend somewhere before Montana? Disappear for four days and enjoy hiking or lounging someplace new, sunny, and warm.
Isn’t it funny when I’m able to or invested in sketching, I often don’t take the time to actually upload and share.
The only one invested in this page is me. Its pretty obvious that its not a high priority at the moment, but enough about that… Onto the meat of my thoughts.
Politics at large companies are an interesting tap dance. If you know me, you know I’m a pretty varied mix of nuance and bluntness. I can lay on the charm and BS with the best of them, but in spite of what I’ve experienced in life… For some reason I still take things at face value more often than not. I trust easily at the onset. and god help you if you do anything to dash that trust, because it will take a long time and some great act of god for trust to be re-earned.
Big-business and Corporate America is interesting. Thinking about how to navigate, supplicate, and influence direction. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But that’s the game right? If you don’t want to get burned, then you shouldn’t play with fire. Well, at 6’5″ I’ve got some giant, calloused hands. I can handle a couple goofs when it comes to juggling these flaming torches. I just need a bit more practice before I stop singing an eyebrow.
What little difference a year or two of age and experience seem to make. Even when they have nothing to do with ability or capability.
I had a run-in when I was just out of grad school where in the person I was reporting to pulled me aside and told me two things. 1) I’m not as strong as I think I am visually, and 2) I had a massive ego. The irony of the second point being that this persons ego could suffocate you if you shared a room with them for more than five minutes. I took from this experience, a chance to reflect on my abilities and refocus. Its true, my visual abilities aren’t all that great. They’re okay-good, but I find I relish in the phrase, “Jack-of-all-trades master of none.” As for my ego? Yeah… Like most students of visual media, I thought I was top shit when I got out of school. But since then… I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t state this here and now. Having an ego? I hate the idea of it. There’s a fine line between confidence and ego… And I’ve done my best to ensure that I make myself approachable and open.
As a designer you have to have an opinion. You have to be able to design with knowledge that you are making gold out of straw. You need to be able to stand behind what you’re doing… But the difference between confidence and ego is the ability to evolve- to keep ownership in perspective. Technically, everything you design when it comes to User Interface is yours. Its true, no matter the number of iterations, the colors that are selected? You’re the one who’s spending the hours, destroying your vision while focusing on your favorite Adobe tool.
A good designer can meet the requirements and requests of their clients. A great designer can do this while at the same time providing them something they didn’t know they wanted.
In an idealistic world, this is all you need to function and succeed. When considering the fire-juggling of business… This can bite you in the ass.
You must learn how to respect your peers and superiors. Its apart of any job to make them look both yourself and themselves as good as they can. But in the case of the superiors? Their word is law. Why? Because they’re more culpable than you are. That’s something that most of the lower-level employees don’t realize. The further you go up in any organization, the more you’re responsible to deliver on.
I think the issue I’m working on is that, for the better part, I’m in a flat organization. This means that people over varying levels and experience share the same space and freedom of ability to speak with one another, without fear of “overstepping bounds.” Granted this is strictly within the confines of my design group, but I think I may have taken this notion a touch too far. I’ve been struggling a bit where-in the projects I’ve been tasked with appear to conflict with the actions of someone who’s above my pay-grade.
An important thing to recognize in any job is when to self-correct and adjust one’s attitude and actions. Right now, I am bottom of the food-chain. I’ve been snarky, wry and even coy.
I’m thinking its time to tow-the-line.
Looking back once more, I feel its important to acknowledge a lesson I learned very early in my professional career. Either you do what you love in spite of the income it provides or you keep what you love a passion and a side project. I chose the latter. I’ve got a variety of hobbies (not to mention school debt) for which I find a solid paycheck is a necessity. I hope one day to run my own company and to use everything I’ve learned in all my jobs to be a better boss than those who’ve come before me. In the machine that is a corporation, I might be a peculiar piece. But for now, I’m cog-enough to keep this clock working in quartz-movement. My day will come. But that’s thoughts for another post, thoughts for the future.
Sometimes (and right now), what’s best for you is when you make those above you shine.