I have come to accept that I have an easy job. Of course we live in a world where outside of high school having an easy job may not be something to be particularly proud of but I am. Now when I say that my job is easy I don't mean I don't put any effort or any time into what I do, quite the opposite really. Now you may say that this post already has a misleading title but you must understand that I don't consider either of these things a real factor in what makes a job easy or hard.
In high school I had a few jobs. First, I was a telemarketer (you're welcome). I worked 2 – 4 hours a day after school and all I had to do was read a script to people, ask a question and press F4 or F5 based on how they answered the question. I didn't dial any numbers I didn't take any information I didn't pay any attention to what I was doing. This job was hard. I hated it. I was so brain dead the entire time I would have entire conversations with people while tossing a foam ball back and forth with another bored guy at the end if the row. I would have 5 or 6 consecutive calls and have no idea what anyone said to me during any of them. I left frustrated every day and hated going back. Eventually I didn't.
My second job was at an automatic car wash. You did read that correctly. I made change for people (not quarters, we had a machine for that), emptied trash, and made sure the place was relatively clean. I worked 8 to 10 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. When it was 10 below zero I would chip ice outside all day, when it was 100 degrees I would be outside all day because it was only hotter in the office. This job was easy. I kept it until I went off to college.
Where does Web Design Fit?
These days, as a salaried web designer, a freelance designer, and a blog writer (somehow) I regularly spend 12-14 hours a day working. Friday is often my day off. I still go to work but after 5:00 on Friday I don't do anything web design related. Saturday and Sunday are once again a different story and when I get most of my freelance work done. Of course no one has a gun to my head on the weekends, I choose to spend at least a portion of these days working. Why? Because it's easy.
Web design is easy because of the community we have and the resources it makes available to us. You would be hard pressed to find an occupation with a lower barrier to entry. While I opted (okay it wasn't really optional in my house) to get a degree in Informatics from Indiana University there are plenty among us who have no formal education, at least not one that relates to web design or technology at all. That's because anyone who plans to make any money as a web designer needs to understand that this is a field of constant education and learning that extends far beyond school. The good news here is that we have an industry that places a premium on sharing.
I find the web design and development communities to be unique in that sharing your trade secrets and learned experiences with your competition is arguably one of the best ways to increase your revenue. The Internet thrives on valuable content sharing, since we design and develop right here on the Internet the two go beautifully hand in hand. As a result I have all of the information about how to grow as a web designer right here at my fingertips. Even better a lot of it comes from true industry experts who simply want to share what they have learned and help this community develop further.
It's About the People
All of the different hats that I wear professionally have lead to the opportunity to work with some truly amazing people. Be other designers, developers, project managers or clients the good experience I have had with people vastly outweigh the bad eggs.
I always tell people that I didn't truly start growing as a web designer until I got involved with Twitter. At the time that I registered for Facebook it was for college kids only, so the web design community had not really developed there and I certainly wasn't a part of it. With Twitter none of my Facebook friends had adopted it so I started following local web designers and from there some agencies and from there other freelancers, communities and blogs. The information I found was overwhelming and exciting. I quickly found out how terrible I was at web design and didn't even know it.
Now, every few months I can look back at the work I did and clearly see how I have improved at what I do. This is thanks to the designers and developers I follow on Twitter, the blogs they share and the articles I read every day. It all keeps the gears turning and the ideas flowing. I am constantly absorbing the experience, ideas and opinions of others who share my passion for our profession. They don't ask anything in return and I pay no membership dues to the web community.
An Easy Job to be Motivated For
All of this adds up to a job that I rarely burn out on. It's not homework, it's not a task that I have been assigned and there are no deadlines to meet. It's extra income, opportunities to learn and get better and challenges to be met by a certain date. When I am always learning to ways to take advantage of an ever evolving web it becomes pretty easy to want to learn more, to get better and to practice more. Overall I'd have to say it's pretty easy.