As a 30 something (and of this week nearer the end of that decade than the start) returning to childhood hobbies and fond memories is almost a cliche at this point.

Like many, I’ve found myself back in my one of my childhood pass times, painting Warhammer models and playing games. One of those has certainly been a lot easier than the other in recent months, mind you. …

The robot is skeptical. Very skeptical.

I get approached by recruiters fairly often, for roles in Edinburgh, or, increasingly, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna… Even Kuwait once!

I’m always happy to chat with people who take the time to approach me, but I’ve noticed something of a pattern starting to emerge. I’ve been contracting for the last 3 years and, broadly speaking, the day rate (our standard measure for what you’ll get paid) is pretty much the same in Edinburgh as it is in London, or, indeed, further afield. There’s something nice about that, my services are considered as valuable here as they would be in Amsterdam.

Mental health is easier to treat when your brain is made out of cogs.

About a year ago, I wrote about design and having OCD. It was the first time I addressed the subject so publicly, a breakthrough in itself! As is probably common, I wasn’t entirely sure how it would be received, largely down to the anxiety that comes hand in hand with the condition I guess, but in the end, it was a very positive experience.

After getting over that hurdle, and it was definitely a hurdle, I came to the conclusion that it was time to try and do something about it.

Yes, this is going to be a personal journey…

Robots are actually surprisingly materialistic.

From time to time, Linkedin sends me job ads it thinks I might be interested in, this is usually worth a look to see how badly its algorithmn’s match jobs to what I do, but from time to time it spits out something worth looking at. But then…

‘Deeply competitive pay.’

What is that supposed to mean? I hate the phrase ‘competitive pay’ at the best of times, but is adding an extra word supposed to make it sound more impressive? Not just competitive, deeply competitive! Super competitive! THE MOST COMPETITIVE!

Thing is, pretty much every ad says some variation…

Moving house can be a frustrating process at the best of times. Enter Scottish Power.

I moved flat earlier this year, returning to Edinburgh from Glasgow. One of the resultant enjoyable tasks that had to be completed was paying my final electricity bill.

The bill itself boasted of being able to pay online, as well it should, it’s 2018 after all! Little did I know, my odyssey was just about to begin…

Unimpressed robot is unimpressed.

I’ve talked before about designers not being valued, not being paid enough, clients expecting work on the cheap, or worse, for free. It’s pretty bloody annoying, so when I encounter things that help to perpetuate that culture, I, unsurprisingly, get annoyed.

There are a number of sites dotted around the web where designers can get work, like Fiver, 99 Designs or UpWork, where potential clients can set briefs and attract some designers. There’s a wider concern about how this turns us into commodities; do this for £20 please, type thing, but lurking in UpWork’s T&C’s is this belter:

Robot brains are probably easier to keep in line.

I’ve been getting hypnotherapy recently, in part for my OCD, more on that later, but it’s got me thinking about mental health again; mine, and in the creative industry in general.

It’s not a problem unique to the creative industries by any means, nor would I say we have it especially worse than anyone else, but it’s what I know, and based on what I know and the people I encounter, we do seem to be an industry that’s a magnet for it.

Just being creative can be a strain. What is it that we do? It boils down to…

Dream, nightmare, insomnia… who can say.

From the outside, I imagine that ‘design’ falls into a category that I’m going to call a ‘dream job,’ in that, it’s something that lots (and lots) of people want to do, whether it’s just a frustrated creative daydream, or one of the countless kids (and adults) that head off to college or university each year to study it. Hell, it just seems to be treated as sounding cool when it crops up in the usual ‘so what do you do?’ type conversations of adult life / Tinder.

But if it’s viewed as a ‘dream’ from the outside, what’s the…

I was irked.

After (finally) refreshing my portfolio site recently, I ran into some difficulty, with a previous employer getting in touch to object to my use of work I’d done there.

Now, I’d deliberately chosen work that’s publicly available online, as in you could go and look at them, live, right now. Projects that I’d been the only designer on, so I wasn’t / couldn’t be accused of taking credit for something that wasn’t 100% mine either. I even noted on each project when and where it was done. I’ve worked on plenty projects over the years as part of wider teams…

The robot isn’t subtle when starstruck.

Last night, we were very (very) fortunate to have Chris Do come to talk to us in Edinburgh, all the way from California.

Scott Burns

Freelance Digital / UI / UX Designer in Edinburgh.

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