When I chose my profession, I didn’t do so because I thought it would be cool. I also forgot to actually choose it. It chose me, and some days I still understand why. I don’t have a job that results in celebrity encounters, cool photo shoots, platinum records or tv air time. My life is a small, quiet one and I’m OK with that. Most people’s lives are small and quiet. I don’t need Beyonce on my speed dial.
I just want to be able to pay my bills and have time and money left over for some fun. I want to come out of a work day feeling like I learned something new, made something pretty, or made something work or look better. When I am gone, my life will not be measured in money or media coverage. My life will be measured by the people I knew, how well I loved them and whether I answered the phone when they needed me at 3 a.m.
Half credit on that last one. If it’s any consolation, I’ll probably be awake by 6 to get your voicemail.
I didn’t go into web design so that people can be fascinated when I tell them what I did all day. Most people don’t even understand what I did all day. However, it would be nice to occasionally be with my own kind, as working from home can make one feel locked away like some nouveau fairy tale victim.
Instead, I am surrounded by people who mean well but don’t understand. They don’t realize that what they see took some serious photoshopping. They don’t realize that I made a non-standard font work online. They just see a picture, a site page.
They don’t realize that the navigation bar is pixel perfect. That the code is clean. That everything works on every browser. There’s an art to that, but people just don’t understand.
It can get a bit lonely. You can go through a whole day of work, work til your knees ache, and come away feeling really good about what you did. Then you show it to friends and they don’t care. Your boss doesn’t care. Your family doesn’t care. They’re not bad people, they just don’t understand.
“But all you do is sit there typing things and staring at that computer. I had a web site in school. It was easy. My mom made one with a template on Yahoo.”
And you sit there with your aching knees and your computer screen headache and your sore back and your stiff mouse hand claw and watch your feeling of accomplishment sink down into the floor. You’d try to explain how it was hard to format that text because someone’s jacked-up site uses 10 different style sheets, but that’s a lot of words and people won’t understand those, either.
So you say to yourself, “it doesn’t matter. I know. I care. I feel good about this.”
And you say that to yourself the second time it happens.
The fifth time.
The thirtieth time.
The hundredth time.
My job doesn’t result in celebrity encounters or platinum records. My job will never make me famous or filthy rich. My job is small and quiet.
I can’t fix your email.