I’ve been thinking about work a lot lately. This has been a soft spot for me over the past year. I became a freelance designer unintentionally. Intentionally, I had wanted to find another job at a company after getting laid off from my last job. I wanted to change my career path though and do something that I’d never done and wasn’t qualified to do, I wanted to become a graphic designer.
After a few shitso interviews and a lot of realizing my actual skill level, I was at a loss. I was 23 years old, it couldn’t possibly be too late to change my career already, could it? I was having such a hard time convincing anyone that I could be a great graphic designer without a portfolio, when I landed a gig – a really good gig.
I was working as a freelance designer on a cool project and I made a great deal of money really quickly. It was so ideal! I hustled together an email address, some business cards and a resume. I half-arsed my way through a portfolio and worked really hard for a few months to get some work to put online.
Did I mention it happens to be the perfect career for someone who is dating a touring musician? I am my own boss, with my own hours and I can travel to any place with Internet and still keep a job. It’s actually just about the only way I have made my relationship work.
The problem is, I don’t know if I am completely fulfilled by being a designer. I guess maybe when I started out, everything was so hurried and frantic that I never stopped to define what my own success would look like to me. I still can’t answer that question.
I know a lot of people who work really really hard, almost all the time. They put in long hours and they make their job the number one priority in their lives. I think a lot of people believe that this is the “right” way to do things. I’m going to be honest. I have spent a long time putting friendships and relationships in front of my career. I have always been more focused on love, companionship and friends then I have been on passions, a career and making things.
I’m usually a firm believer in balance, above all. But what is the important thing in life to you? Are you a career/success person? Do your relationships bring you more happiness than your job? Is there a correct answer to any of these?
I spoke to my friend Dan about my desire to focus less on people and more on me and my passions the other day and he directed me to a blog post he wrote a few years ago that actually made me tear up a bit. Check it out here. It seems that Dan spent a lot of time on his passions and less on his people for a while and didn’t find himself happier.
I’m still somewhat at a loss, because it’s such a murky area for me. What do you guys think? Have you spent any time defining success for yourself?