Like yesterday’s article “Drifting Thru Life”, I’ve been sitting on this blog post for eight months before I decided to share these personal thoughts.
Let me start by saying I love my job, this company and the things we do. The vast majority of days I’m excited to get out of bed and start working. But a small piece of me has become very unsatisfied working on the web. building interfaces out of pixels. But
I’m a creator, a creative, a person that needs to make/do/start/create. This is a burden, but a lovely one I’m blessed with.
We release these pixeled creations with self-imposed deadlines, highly anticipating the reactions of our users. Our customers are momentarily happy and so are we. Days later the satisfaction is gone, and we iterate the product. We look at the code and now we think it’s complete shit. The process repeats, deadline, release, and satisfaction wanes. We work feverishly to release and then iterate our “masterpieces.”
Our ancestors created something they could hold, touch, and pass down generations. My Grandfather owned restaurants–he fed people. Creating food is temporary but vital to life, it’s nourishment. My other Grandfather and his father before him owned a tree farm and logged the trees themselves. He drove a logging truck in the 1930’s, starting at age 12. Then he left to serve in WWII as an airplane mechanic.
I have nothing timeless to pass down to my children except my written words, even though they may be digital as well. At least I’ve captured moments in my life to give them.
I recently started making furniture, tables, lamps, learning woodworking, welding and basic handy skills. For now, this has calmed my spirit to create something. I’m restoring my grandfather’s 1940’s cash register from one of his restaurants. I want to give it to my children when they’re old enough and I’ve enjoyed the register as much as I can.
Here I sit in a comfortable chair, wearing slippers, sipping coffee, complaining about the small piece of me that is unhappy with my craft. A craft that pays very well. Web app designers and programmers are trapped. You might not realize it now, but you will later. We’re trapped because our product is temporary, there’s no legacy to create in this industry.
I think it’s human nature to desire a legacy. I think as our industry progresses and the workers get older, we’ll see more of us “pixel pushers” looking to hobbies that create physical things. Our hands, soft and smooth from keyboard “work,” will need to create a tangible legacy.
I’m always looking to meet pixel craftsmen whose hobby is creating physical art. If you know of anyone else that build furniture, sculpts, does pottery etc but makes a living in pixels leave a comment.
If you wanted it to build a product you’d find a way to get time to work on it. If you really wanted to start that new hobby you’d sacrifice something to find the time and money to do it.
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