January 05, 2015

Skills, Set

"Nunchaku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills… girls only want boyfriends who have great skills." – Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Are you looking for an ever-evolving career in a fast-paced environment on the vanguard of the creative industry? Great. That's super. Me too… once in a while.

I wage a daily internal battle with my chosen career path. I absolutely adore its bare essentials, its sense of order. Structure. Hierarchy. Common sense, unless not needed. I realize now, sixteen years in, that's never going to go away. Neither is the push/pull of constantly nagging change.

I can accept change, pick and choose morsels of it I can use and enjoy. I wouldn't say I naturally embrace it. I anticipate it, but I have a pace I like to maintain. I'm a clinical thinker; I weigh and consider options before proceeding. I wish that was still perceived more as a benefit, and it may be in some circles. Just not mine, where expediency is fast becoming king and thinking things through can be a luxury. It's only with as much experience as I have, that I manage this balance and produce as quickly as can be required on any given day, from years of learning how the rules can be bent and shortcuts discovered and followed.

Look, I have discernible skills. I can differentiate vocalizations of a red-breasted nuthatch from a white-breasted nuthatch, eight or nine times out of ten. I can make pretty authentic farting noises by squeezing my palms together. I've made French toast. But it took time to learn those skills. Time that today's lifestyle doesn't often wait around for to develop – and that's not always fair.

But I also appreciate consistency, or a semblance of it. That can be the death knell for someone in my field. I think of my sister (the dentist) and brother (the teacher) and think, there's always going to be teeth and students. Probably even roughly the same number of teeth and students, year in and year out. I think, during sourer times, why didn't I think of that. There's so much variability in design, so much flux. Differences of opinion: paper is dying, paper is dead, paper has never been more in demand. Here's the Next Big Th… wait, here's the Next Big… wait, here's the Next Big Thing. 

Technology trickles into all careers. Certainly mine. It's a bitch goddess, giving with one hand and taking away with the other (I can't take credit for that nugget; it's an old Kids in the Hall line). Too much of the change in design is change for the sake of change. Chasing technology, as opposed to using it smartly. It's easy to get swept up. Even I do, on rare occasion. I have a cellular 'I-Phone 5-S' that I like to play the video games on. But I also take comfort in that those bare essentials of design, the skeleton, the nuts and bolts – will never change. And so long as they don't, I'll have a place and relish in it.

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