“This work is very fulfilling”

A statement of how things need to be in order for my work to be fulfilling.

I’ve just been rootling around in my Google Drive and happened upon a document that I really shouldn’t have lost sight of and never want to forget about again. So I’m going to publish it here and tweet the link so it’s live in the world, and not just in my head.

This is my statement of the work I want to do. It’s not about a job, any job — but the conditions for work that will make my life fulfilling. It was created through conversations with the excellent Charlie Davies, who wrote up my rambling answers to his pointed questions in the format below.

*Note to self: this is important. Do not forget it again.

WHAT I STAND FOR.

- i am fulfilled when i know what i stand for and i’m standing in it not just travelling towards people because i want them to like me.

- my work is collaboration, innovation and the future.
i like all of that.

- i’m liberating small groups of people
think of those foreign students that come to Brighton and the little slice of Brighton life that they take home with them. what if it was: “you can be whoever you want to be”. that would be an international footprint WAY into the future.

BEING A DESIGNER.

- i feel very much that i’m a designer.
i feel affiliated with that group. when i talk about myself as a designer, i belong to a group, a tribe. if i’d thought about it more earlier, i’d be an engineer. solving problems in particular ways. but i like to feel myself as a designer. it’s an attractive badge.

- i apply design to anything and everything.
everything is an interface.
i take a design approach.
i want to make everything better.

- i like unpacking a brief and seeing a way forward.
1. conversation: i hear people’s expectations.
2. synthesise: i construct a narrative they agree with and can attach themselves to
3. way forward: i get a real sense of what they should do about it.

- it’s satisfying when things fall into place.
i can draw a very convoluted diagram that puts the different parts in place and see how it works over time. I put people in it and see how the things they bring will change it. i see a pattern coming out of it and i can say “do this, this and this”.

- i like talking about how people perceive things.
what an object means. what a place means. i do believe in the power of things to channel emotion. and branding etc. the part that’s interesting is constructing meaning out of something made. it causes people to get hold of something or do something.

- i like having inside access to something i really love.
getting to see the bones of it. going to the basement and seeing what’s wrapped up. what’s hidden away. the hidden things. seeing how things work underneath what you can see. i really like understanding how things work. i like reading all kinds of things and seeing the connection. i like talking to interesting people and people who aren’t interesting. finding out what they do and how things work. going to a power station. going to a control centre for trains.

- i really like stuff.
big stuff. that’s real. and fundamental. utilities.

- i just like fixing things.

SEEING RESULTS FOR THE COMMUNITY.

- i like seeing it all come off.
after 300 seconds — that was the most excited i’ve been in years. women who’d been so nervous. me challenging them. seeing them so satisfied and wanting to do it again. knowing that i made something happen.

- i feel fulfilled when i’m able to represent the community voice.
making sure it’s accessible and a resource for the community. that it’s beauty is preserved and made use of. and its story.

- i do believe in the power of groups.
how people can motivate themselves. how people come together around an idea. putting together interesting flavours by mixing people up.

- being connected and being a connector
that’s a really big thing for me.

ENVIRONMENT, EDUCATION AND EUDAIMONIA.

- a nice environment is important to me.
when it’s an environment that’s made with love and the people who put it together really care.
an office is a designed environment that affects how we work and feel and behave. i like thinking about the spaces i’m in.

- i think education is really important.
when i think about the education my children are being given — and what’s happening in the world of business now — there’s a massive disconnect. education hasn’t changed since i went to school. it’s not fit for purpose. “not fit for purpose” — that’s something i think about a lot. what frustrates me. what’s not good enough.

- the ultimate goal is happiness.
and that’s happiness being broken down into many things. not just sitting in the sun licking a lollipop. but eudaimonia. meaningful striving. purposeful striving. and everyone having equality of access to that.