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Dec 30, 2012

No. 55 - Life and Work and Job

You’ll sometimes read or hear reference to “work-life balance.” It’s a misleading term, but it references an important idea as well as a dangerous one. Designers are individual people with individual lives, so morality and rationality demand that professionals maintain great reverence for the non-job aspects of life.

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Show Notes

It’s not enough to do what you love. How you do it is equally important. This idea is not just about time and effort. It references quality of life. Do you live your life and job with moral agency and liberty? Because these two factors determine quality of life.

It is my experience that far too many people are not properly conscious of the presence or impact of destructive or obtuse job context. They just tolerate abhorrent conditions and influences without discrimination and without rational contemplation of remedy. They seem to think, “this is just how it is for a designer.”

First of all, life is work. There is no separation and no dichotomy. Just as the mind, the body, and the spirit are not separate or independent, but instead describe a single whole. Therefore the term “work-life balance” is either meaningless or a non sequitur.

It’s not my purpose to get artificially mired in semantics, but to acknowledge them. One cannot ignore words when they’re important. Words describe ideas, so the more specific, the better; the less specific, the more useless. The important idea I’d like to reference and examine here is that of fitting your job into your life, and not the other way around.

Work is what you do for yourself. Your job is what you do for others. Both of these must pay profitable dividends, else you’re living an irrational and destructive life.

People are fond of saying that one must often make sacrifices for work, yet this is false and it perpetuates a destructive idea. A sacrifice brings no mutual benefit. It is not payment, but destruction. We don’t sacrifice for work, we pay costs. With those costs we purchase benefit…

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