My drive to work today found me taking a bit of introspective inventory. Odd, since I usually have a hard time focusing on the road in front of me that early. Having worked every shift imaginable in the course funding my freelance career, none were more challenging than waking up at 7AM. This self-evaluation began when a radio announcer restated this old adage. Maybe it’s Confucius (or maybe I’m full of it) that says, “do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day of your life”. I may have heard it before, but this morning it had a particular resonance.
I have always looked at my entrepreneurship as a bit of an anomaly; I was the last person that I would expect to start a business, let alone be successful at it. So, why do I love my job the way I do? Attention to the rest of the day gave me my answer.
8:30 AM: I’m in the office. My eyes are tired as I try to read my emails via telepathy so that I can keep my eyes closed. My mass of emails are downloading at a snail’s pace. Realizing that telepathy isn’t going to work, I notice an email from a client about a rush job that must be done by lunchtime. Unsure of whether I will have to shoot Red Bull into my arm to even dream of having it done in time, I take the job. The files make their way over and the client is now at ease, which I just love to see happen for people.
10:12 AM: I get a phone call from a woman in DC that found our site online. She says that she wants a simple website and has a very limited budget. “Well, you called the right place”, I announce with false bravado. A quick chuckle and she goes into what she wants.
Please note: a duplicate of Time.com, to mere mortal designers like myself, is seldom considered “simple”. Particularly when the limited budget is a couple hundred dollars. I suggest that she start smaller, perhaps with a micro-site to build interest, and then go for the bells and whistles when budget permits. The job may need to be done off-peak to recoup some hours, but it will keep her dreams moving forward, which I just love to see happen for people.
11:43 AM: I’m wrapping up the rush job when the phone rings. It’s a printer that I use pretty often. He asks if I could do a mail merge to a postcard in InDesign CS3. I will translate: he’s using an older version of the software and just can’t get it to work. Realizing that, not only will I be giving up my shot at a quiet lunch today, but this will also not help my bottom line…
12:24 PM: I finish up the mail merge for the printer and he’s off and running, happy as a lark, which I just love to see happen for people.
3:13 PM: Though knee-deep in a brochure project that needs to be out by the end of the day, my designer gets a call from her fiance. He’s on the side of the highway, out of gas, as clouds roll in. I hear the call and rush my designer out, while taking on her project. I may be getting out a little later than I thought, but it made someone else’s burden a bit easier to bear, which I just love to see happen for people.
7:12 PM: I’m locking the office up. Walking through the alley to the parking lot, I pause. I realize why I love what I do: because I can help make things just a little better for a lot of people. Sure, I love design and the ability to create, but if it was just that, I would shoot for a job at a huge firm. I would soak up an obscene salary and produce only work that would get me awards. No, I love my job because of those around me – the clients, the partners, the team – that has their problems solved, which I just love to see happen for people.