Browsing articles tagged with "working_environment Archives | april.holle.blog"
Mar
5

Doing What You Love vs. Having a Job

Doing what you love is the key to career happiness, and when I mean doing what you love, I mean the WHOLE package, not just the industry, not just who you work for, the place you work at etc. You can love who you work for, but not the exact tasks you do for the company. You can love the tasks you do, but not the environment you work in. But there are some tell tale signs that you’re working a job vs. doing what you love, here are some of them from my perspective…

A job pays you to be somewhere for 8 hours and feels like you’re at the dentist.

Doing what you love pays you to do what you’d normally be doing anyways for 8 hours.

If you get off of your 9-5, and you feel relieved or excited for the pure sake of getting off of work, and I mean on a routine basis, not just every once in a while when something horrible blows up, then you’re working a job. If you’re doing what you love to do, sure there are those days where fire drills happen and you save the lives of millions with your super human powers of greatness, but chances are you’re happy about the things you accomplish every day at that thing we call work. If you feel your employer should pay you for “time served” chances are you’re working a job, and not doing what you love.  If you get your paycheck every week and you remember, “oh yea! I get paid for this too!” you’re probably doing what you love.

A job puts you in awkward situations for which you feel unprepared for and doing things you dread to do.

Doing what you love lets you explore avenues that you have always wanted to travel and gives you life lessons you can use later.

There are times a work where we can’t know all the answers, where we have to “work” to really get some where, sometimes we even have to do those tasks which we find mundane or boring. However, if you’re working at a job these moments in time are going to be significantly harder on you. If you don’t consider that rough patch just a challenge or a bump in the road to the next big span of fun, chances are, you’re at a job instead of doing what you love.  When you’re doing what you love, you’re interest in taking on a challenge and learning something new about what you love to do is significantly increased. You step up to the plate instead of sinking back into the crowd. Sure, working means there’s always some part of it that would be described as “work”, but when you’re doing what you love, those periods in time are fun and interesting instead of dreadful and scary.

A job feels like a foreign environment.

Doing what you love feels natural and comfortable.

If you get off work, walk out the door, and feel like you can be “you” again, you’re working at a job instead of doing what you love. When you do what you love, you’re simply changing locations for 8 to 10 hours, not changing mental states or forcing yourself to be someone or something you’re not. Sure, sometimes growing pains are hard, it’s natural to feel a strain every now and then when you’re trying something new or traveling down an unworn path. But, when you feel like you completely metamorphize when you leave the office or a meeting, you’re not being your true self and after a while that can really wear you out just keeping up the facade instead of using that extra bit of energy to really do what you love. I know lots of people who LIKE to wear a suit because of how it makes them feel, when the right person is doing what they love to do and wearing that costume, it DOES something for them and they ENJOY it.

Remember, just because you don’t love something about your current job, doesn’t mean you can’t change it just a smidgen and turn it into something you love to do! Maybe it’s small, like the changing your schedule up two hours to get rid of the two hour commute, maybe it big like starting you own company, or maybe it’s you for not making the leap already into that situation you KNOW you’ll enjoy. What ever it is, remember you’re in control of what you do and how much you enjoy doing it as a career, you’re never stuck. 🙂

So how do you know you’re doing what you love?

Dec
8

Letters from Bar Camp…

I had a GREAT TIME at the 2008 Phoenix BarCamp today! I was a little… OK maybe more like VERY nervous about having to stand up in front of people and tell them about things that I might have some expertise in. But once I saw that everyone else was just as informal, I got into the grove of things. All the discussions were very informative, some of them so much so they were over my head, but thats ok!

I’ll just go over some of the great points some of the speakers had regarding their topics and discussions. Anyone that was there, feel free to pipe in regarding what you thought was interesting, points I missed, etc.

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Pam Slim author of Escape Cubical Nation started off the day speaking about how growing start up companies can avoid becoming the cubical corporate environments that the entrepreneurs came from to begin with. There was a fairly voiced concern from the business owners in the room regarding how to avoid becoming that which they didn’t want to employed by to begin with.

Pam offered a simple common sense approach to really keeping the soul to your company, meet and get to know your employees. That a business owner should know what his/her employees really want to get out of their time with the company, and to realize there really isn’t any binding contract for these employees to be invested in your company if you don’t return their investment by investing in your employees. She mentions that open, honest communication is key to this relationship between employee and employer.

To really spend the time to know what each of your employees is interested in and their personal investment and interest in your company. She says to build on what your employees want to learn and do, this will enforce trust in you and foster a real value of your company to your employees instead of merely being a “job”. This will help take the pulse of your company’s true interests and values from the ground up.

Understand that perhaps some of your current employees final goals in their career may mean starting their own business, or moving away from your company in some other way. Foster this growth in your employees, perhaps once they have broke out on their own they’ll send business back your way, or other potential employees that will be a great fit for your company. Make sure you aren’t buying into the mafia mentality of you’re either with us or against us, and if you leave you’re against us for sure.

Open, honest communication allows for huge growth potential in your company when your employees are allowed to honestly express their ideas and true feelings on company projects and directions. Instead of wasting six months on a dumb idea, Fred over in development, will simply be able to express… “you know that’s not the brightest idea, but I’ve been toying around with this other thing and I think it might work…”. Don’t make yourself or your employees “check their soul in at the door”, make sure everyone is in agreement that all your companies practices align with your company’s overall goals and values.

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Derek Neighbors from Integrum Technologies spoke regarding rapid business growth and how your company can live through culture changes from creative culture to command culture and back again.

Derek started out with a recap of Integrum’s rapid growth due to new projects and contracts that they were taking on at a very rapid pace at the very beginning, and that when you loose sight of your company’s core values things can get messy VERY fast.  They had become a beast of command and control with sour employees.

So, once they finally realized that they had become the beast that they tried to run away from, they revisited their core company goals and values. Then they took the pulse of their employees, finding out what really motivated them every day to get out of bed and drive to work, and how those motivators aligned with the company’s goals and values. Aligning your employees goals and the company goals will make each teammate personally responsible for their part within the company, allowing for self-motivation and interest in the company as a whole. Making you less responsible to your immediate manager and more responsible to the company as a whole. Derek says, “Sometimes people have a hard time figuring out who’s the boss when they visit the office.”

Derek sighted that these key communication between employee and employer was an extremely important part of really getting back to their creative, coordinated company that they had originally envisioned. Today, Integrum is a team of eleven VERY talented, VERY driven close-nit people that get things done and done right. But, without that reassessment of their goals and how their employees fit within those goals was key to that success.

I asked Derek, as part of a fast-growing company, what can I do as an employee to help foster that feeling of a creative culture instead of a command culture. Derek’s advice was to share my opinions and ideas candidly, build team activities that bring us closer together as a whole, and become entrepreneurial within my own company (build activities to promote and foster teams and the company within itself).

Dec
4

Refresh Recap: ALA Web Design Survey

Alright so at this point everyone has read the 2007 Web Design Survey at A List Apart. If you haven’t, you should… really. This is the first time we’ve ever had a survey for the web industry alone, and while it’s not necessarily scientific, it is a good sampling of the community, nearly 33,000 web professionals.

The December edition of Refresh Phoenix shared the survey results and open discussion was has regarding what statistics we thought were interesting finds throughout the document. Such as:

16% of web workers polled were female.  Why is it that females are not prevalent in our industry? Check out a great set of interviews by fadtastic, where they contacted several of the industry’s leading female web designers to ask them the same question.

85% of web workers are white. What causes our industry to be so monochromatic? How is it that world wide there is still a serious racial rift in computers and design? Does this matter? Does this need to change?

53% of web workers said their field of study was directly related to their career. Leading one to reconsider the age old myth that you don’t need to be a college graduate to be in the web industry. Salary data also suggested that a bachelors degree helps boost web workers into that $40-60k salary range.

28% of web workers are in-house, 23% are self-employed and 22% are part of a design/advertising firm. This even split reminds us of all the employment possibilities there are. It also makes note that there really isn’t a large majority in one working environment.

23% of web workers work 30-40 hours a week, 42% 40-50 hours a week, and 12% 50-60 hours a week. So remember when you’re punching out at 7 pm that you’re not the only one out there!

When looking at the salary range data, salaries tend to bottom out at 40-60 k a year after 5 years of experience.  The highest paid are Information Architects and Usability Experts. The self-employed/freelance sector made the least, under $20,000 a year. However, this does not split full-time freelance and part-time freelance, so some of this may be supplemental income to their full time positions as well.

Project Managers and Information Architects seemed to be the most satisfied with their jobs, while designers, web designers, webmasters, and the self-employed were the least satisfied when looking at Job Satisfaction data by job title.

72% of web workers polled have a personal site or blog. This doesn’t seem unnatural that web savvy people would have their own sites, but what is interesting is that the percentage of people who blog across gender and salary ranges did not vary greatly. In other words, 72% of EVERYONE in the web industry has a personal site or blog. The real question is how often do they blog on their blog? hehe

One of the questions posed was, “What would you like to see survey statistics on that were not included in this document?” Answers ranged from “Percentage of web workers who have ADD?” to “Ratio of hours worked and salary.” The best questions that are currently not answered by the survey were, “What are the range of benefits?” and “What’s the percentage/range on working conditions (corporate vs. casual)?”

Still, my brief synopsis doesn’t do this survey justice. Please, if you haven’t already, read the full survey. It’s full of interesting information regarding education, salaries, work environments, how we stay current in trends, and more.

What is this?

This little blog happens to be the personal ramblings of one April Holle - I'm female, outspoken, webbie, a community evangelist, and Principal of Made Better Studio. Check out the about section for more info.

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