You work? Yes, I am a graphic designer. That answer usually leads to an all knowing look which to me has always translated to… oh (smirk) she does art. I have always let it go because people who know me know how hard I work, they know my client list, they know I will work day and night to get it done. The thing that I have never said is yes, I am a designer, a mom, a wife, a volunteer. I wish I had said that…it is all work.
Work. I just went to a retirement party for one of my favorite clients. I will miss him so. He is old school… a gentleman, a hard worker, a team player, an organizational dream, and a master of the English language. He gives me edits over the phone and they go something like this…we need to add a modifier to the noun so that the preposition is valid…clearly those are not his exact words (because they are insane)…he is a teacher, he knows his stuff. Files come from him and I need to unlock no mysteries…they are structured and clean, there is a narrative that I can illustrate. I can do what I do, sit down and design. I grow very fond of my clients. I love to work.
The other day, my son begrudgingly agreed to do a freelance job for me. It is out of my scope, I needed a young brain. I offered to pay him what the client would be paying me. He has a full time pretty intense job, but agreed to help his mom. He said would charge half the amount, because… “it was easy and he had enough money”. Who is this child? What on earth has California done to him? Didn’t he see his parents working multiple jobs to afford the life he was given? Who has enough money? Jeff Bezos, Oprah, Reese Witherspoon…they probably have enough money. A twenty-five-year-old renting an apartment in Los Angeles one year into his first real job…you, my dear, do not have enough money.
Did I learn nothing from the pandemic? I work because I love love love to work. Time with nothing to do is a living hell for me. Maybe my kid gets joy from not working 24/7. Maybe he would rather sit in his backyard with friends than work his ass off to afford a trip to the Star Wars Hotel. Maybe I should work on just sitting back and watching my kids figure out their own lives and what brings them joy. Maybe I should be proud that my kid wanted to help me out…to do me a favor.
Work. During a recent Zoom I noticed how ugly the binders of finished jobs looked behind me, I controlled my urge to turn off the video and re-stage my background mid meeting. 2018-2020, three years of my life, each piece of paper an invoice for a job done. Sheet after sheet representing client interactions, problems solved, brainstorming sessions, and completed projects that hopefully made the the lives of the users easier. I pulled them from the shelf and felt the weight, and I felt proud.
Work…I love my job, I am so happy it’s back.