You Aren’t That Important
As a designer or developer in the tech industry, it's easy to get immersed in our work to the point that we start considering it the axis on which the planet spins. But in reality, the world wouldn’t crumble without our latest app or software. This doesn't mean our work's insignificant, but a dash of realism wouldn't go amiss. Do we need another feature-loaded platform like Snapchat or the latest state-of-art Browser™ app to function? Probably not.
Our work might not always alter the course of human history, and that’s fine. A moment of candour; While passionate about what we do, we've got to acknowledge that the app we're developing or that website we're designing might not be on par on the 'essentials' list with, say, water, electricity, or a good cup of coffee.
In recent times, burnout has held centre stage in dialogues within the design community I partake in. I’m not dismissing burnout; it's a beast that's all too real. But when burnout becomes as common as Monday meetings, it begs the question - are we prioritising our tasks effectively? Are we letting the job consume all our energy, leaving little for ourselves?
It’s about acknowledging the importance of striking a balance between self-care and understanding our place in life. Our professions play a significant role in our lives, but they shouldn't control them. The pursuit of career goals shouldn’t come at the expense of our physical and mental wellbeing. Working tirelessly till you drop isn't a badge of honour but a wake-up call for an urgent revision of priorities.
I'm not speaking from a pedestal but from lessons learned the hard way. Prioritising work above everything else dragged me through a bunch of personal challenges, from sleepless nights, to a crumbling social life and difficulties in my relationship. Every job role comes with its set of unique rewards and challenges, but let's make sure we're not building a path to the Burnout Award™.
I am not attempting to begrudge the significance of design or development to society. Instead, I'm advocating for a moment of introspection. Could humankind survive without our technological contributions? Absolutely, it has thrived for billions of years.
For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy considerable paychecks and potential financial windfalls from IPOs or acquisitions, it's healthy to maintain a perspective outside our tech-filled bubble. Many roles, foundational to society’s smooth functioning, are compensated much less and lose out on the recognition they deserve. It might do us good to escape Twitter hellscape momentarily. Why not explore the phenomenal world beyond our screens? Not just for the gram or a Twitter update, but for the pure, unhashtagged experiences it offers. Doing so might just remind us that we’re part of a larger fabric where our tech-savvy skills are just one thread.
Yes, I’ve overused the ™ symbol in this one. Why not, it’s fun.