For the past few years I’ve grown tired of my job. Being a freelance designer I’ve grown frustrated with the industry, its ethics, purpose, and attitude. There’s a shed load that’s wrong with the commercial design and tech industry — way too much to go over in this post. But what I’ve discovered most is that it doesn’t make me happy. And I know I’m not the only sad designer out there.
There’s too many of us working at an unfulfilled level. Lacking purpose and drive in our day to day. Questioning why we’re being asked to move the button further down the page. Or make the logo bigger. ‘Screw your logo’, is what I often mutter to myself while thinking what the point to all this is. What am I offering to the world by churning out web designs?
Nothing is the answer — the only reason is selfish in that it pays well.
It pays me to live comfortably. To eat nice food, to live in a nice house and enjoy all the things we regularly take for granted in life. As much as it does my nut, I’m grateful for the industry I’m in to exist. And don’t get me wrong it’s not all bad. It’s the bigger picture of ‘why’ that I struggle with.
This might sound cold but I only became a designer to make money. To be successful. To be rich. To hopefully somehow become a millionaire from it. And I don’t even know where that came from. Maybe it’s my poor background or perhaps our modern day culture where success is measured only in wealth. Who knows, maybe both. But I’ve always had the drive to succeed. A mission to ‘make it’ in life.
The funny thing is most of us don’t know what this ‘it’ is. My therapist always asks that — “what is the it?”.
The ‘it’ used to be money. But after 15 years trying to make it, I’m not sure that’s what it really is.
You may or may not know about the new thing I’m trying to build. It’s called MindJournal and it’s all about raising awareness for the mental wellbeing of men. I’ve created a product that’s a physical Journal, that aims to get guys writing. And I’ve got a ton of other things planned to drive things forward.
For the first time, though, I’m doing this not for money. Not to be a millionaire. But instead to be happy.
I’ve worked on MindJournal for just about a year now. And I’ve made zero bucks from it. It has all been funded by my freelance work and continues to do so. But what this has done has made my freelance work have a purpose. I now know why I’m doing the work I don’t enjoy — it’s so it can pay for this thing I’m making that I do enjoy.
Stop worrying about making money to measure your success. Start measuring your success by how happy you are. If you are truly happy in what you do, that’s when you have made it.
I’m not happy yet but I’m getting happier now that I’m doing something I enjoy. The ultimate goal is to replace the money I make from freelance, with any money I make from MindJournal. Not to be rich. Not to be a millionaire but to be happy in what I do. And I won’t stop until I’ve made it.
Swap the ‘making’ for ‘being’. And ‘it’ with ‘happy’.
Everything after that is a nice Brucey Bonus.