Working class designer
…Yeh, this one’s for the workers who toil night and day
By hand and by brain to earn your pay…
Even after I heard cover version of “Worker’s Song” by Dropkick Murphys more than hundred times, I still get goose bumps listening to it. Being brought up within small privately owned printing company, by parents which are ideal examples of working class people it’s not a coincidence that I'm trying to get to the bottom of why I'm so focused, almost obsessed with productivity and why I respect deliverables more than anything else.
Straightforward, I don’t write posts. I don’t do conference talks. I'm reaching out to presentation and discussion panels mostly within my own team, completely focusing on producing a result and keeping both team’s and mine workload high.
For last couple of months I asked myself why is that? Why don’t I use almost a decade of industry experience to express my opinions and knowledge towards a broader audience? Why I just don’t decelerate with work and engage more into writing and lecturing, sharing knowledge about mistakes and successes and what I've learned from them?
Several times I listed all the possible causes and somehow I always ended up with same ones at the top. These were my top decoys, my excuses, my deceptions:
- I don’t have any free time to devote for this?
- I have fear of public judgement?
- I am too shallow, I don’t have enough depth to reveal something valuable.
To get to the bottom of this I started with dissecting each excuse separately.
First one, lack of time. This is something which was definitely not an easy one to surpass. Last year my wife and me had our first baby. So majority of my free time simply evaporated. I really thought this excuse is fully legit. But then again, I consider myself well organized and I always think that if you grab your teeth into something and don’t let it go you can do it. At the end, there was still some time left at evenings when little one is counting sheeps. That said, I took confident step over, trashing the excuse.
Second one. From what I have observed, especially in IT industry, most people, including myself have a fear of being publicly judged by colleagues and fellow professionals. Thinking about it, in early stage of my career I was “thrown into the fire”.
Confronted with conducting full day trainings for custom CMS platform, sometimes in front of more than 20 attendees was creepy for young freshly graduated junior designer. I remember it as very timorous time. Slowly experienced piled and I managed to gained attendees trust, also I become much better at it. So by going back I gather enough evidence to rule this one out of the way.
Now, there was still a question of perception of being a too shallow, being a fraud. Like somebody will open the hood of car and realized that there is no engine inside, just one hamster on roller-coaster pushing really hard. Now, this one I was able to confront after seeing amazing live presentation “Banishing your-inner-critic” by Denise Jacobs.
Denise mentioned this observation. “When you are starting to compare your working methods with others you already know enough about the topic that you are accomplished enough for sharing.” This struck me hard and together with some other smart advices I banished this last alibi as well.
There now, I was able to rule out my biggest barriers, yet still as time passed by I didn't do anything on this field.
After while I realized that thing I didn't put into my brainblizzarding was probably the most important ingredient.
Motivation. My life values are different, they are so deeply built into my essence that I really need to motivate myself hard to try to take step away from productivity obsession.
Having said above, I did exactly that. In fact, it took me more than a few months to write this article. There were many times where I just didn't see any point in writing it. But as I narrowed everything down to bare bones, to the essence. There were not multiple excuses laying around, it was just one. I decided to start with one article, no more no less, no pressure or plans. I determined that to progress, to grow, simply I need to take and action and maybe somewhere along the way say something which people would find helpful.
After taking this step out of my comfort barbed wire, I can say that it was worthy experience. By writing down my thoughts I learned more about myself. I also realized that writing is really hard work which may not be essential weapon in designers arsenal, but as Murphey’s are preaching, there are many expectations for worker to meet.
…All of these things the worker has done
From tilling the fields to carrying the gun…