Here I am, about 6 or 7 years into my career and I’m writing the introductory post of the website under my own domain. How can this be? Allow me to explain.
Being a web designer without a website has been, well, awkward. Upon meeting someone, the conversation always goes as follows:
“So what do you do?” “I’m a web designer.”
“Ah cool! What’s your website.”
“I don’t have one.”
“Oh…” I do want to point out that in D.C. it is customary to discuss work as early as possible in a personal introduction.
Yet I’ve somehow always managed to get by, careerwise. Whenever I was ready to jump ship, I’d cobble together various screenshots and links online, send a resume and be on my way. This approach worked well for a time – a time when I was much less experienced than I am now. I’ve been at my current job for nearly five years, predating when Twitter arose to mainstream and right when Facebook had opened itself to the public.
Perhaps at the time, having a personal site wasn’t as essential. As long someone had a decent portfolio, a potential employer would know their skillsets well enough to request an interview. But often times when you interview someone, they are there because they WANT a job. Or they NEED a job (alternative would be the candidates who operate as if they are interviewing the employer and don’t mind turning down an offer). So they may present themselves as accurately, in turn giving you the answers that you want to hear. Now, if that candidate wrote about his or her profession, you get a better idea of who that person is. Is the person arrogant or inflexible? Can he fully wrap his mind around an issue? Is he enthusiastic or a complainer? Answers to these questions reveal themselves in writing.
I’m not saying that I’m looking for new work right now. I’m saying that writing is essential to your career, but not only for presenting yourself to others. You have to do it for yourself as well. The web has evolved immensely since I the last time I was on the job hunt. In those five years, It has become much more complicated in many ways, and the pace is constantly accelerating. New devices. New tools. New problems. New solutions. Ideas need a place to be explored, often to the granular details. Writing at length is how you achieve that in way that fully envelops around a subject.
My failure to write has been, admittedly, irresponsible. It stops now (the failure, not the writing). No excuses.
Speaking of which…
I’ve been trying!
I have made a few attempts to get a personal site going on more than one occasion, but was that I was never truly happy enough with the designs to move forward with them. There’s an adage that we designers are own worst client. This, I learned, is very true. With my own work, I’ll design something, sit on it for a while and then see if it still excited me. Obviously those past designs didn’t and I’d doom myself to continue my vicious cycle. This would never cut it in the real world, so I’m not sure why I made such compromise for myself.
I think it’s fun to look back on some of the designs that didn’t make the cut. Keep in mind, these go back quite a few years.