Don’t be a career

Jan 27, 2024

Reflecting on Steve Jobs’ insightful perspective on creativity and career, it deeply resonates with my own experience in UX and product design. My career path has been a vibrant tapestry of various design domains, each exploration contributing to a richer understanding of the field. This wasn’t merely about accumulating skills, but about embracing diverse perspectives that enriched my creative outlook.

“So to be a creative person, you need to “feed” or “invest” in yourself by exploring uncharted paths that are outside the realm of your past experience. Seek out new dimensions of yourself—especially those that carry a romantic scent.

But one has no way of knowing which of these paths will lead anywhere in advance. That’s the wonderful thing about it, in a way. The only thing one can do is to believe that some of what you follow with your heart will indeed come back to make your life much richer. And it will. And you will gain an ever firmer trust in your instincts and intuition.

Don’t be a career. The enemy of most dreams and intuitions, and one of the most dangerous and stifling concepts ever invented by humans, is the “Career.” A career is a concept for how one is supposed to progress through stages during the training for and practicing of your working life.

There are some big problems here. First and foremost is the notion that your work is different and separate from the rest of your life. If you are passionate about your life and your work, this can’t be so. They will become more or less one. This is a much better way to live one’s life.

[The] risk factor quotient goes down as you encounter the real world. Many [people] find what they believe to be safe harbors (lawyers and accountants), only to wake up ten or fifteen years later and discover the price they paid.

Make your avocation your vocation. Make what you love your work.”

– Steve Jobs, Make Something Wonderful

There’s a certain allure in venturing into the unknown, a kind of romance in discovering new aspects of design and creativity. Embracing projects that were slightly intimidating or didn’t have a clear roadmap often led me to my most innovative and fulfilling work. This journey into the unknown was where I found my creativity thriving.

Following my instincts has been a guiding principle in my career. Choosing projects that resonated with me on a personal level transformed my work from being just a job to a reflection of my identity. This approach not only brought unique opportunities but also instilled a strong sense of authenticity in my work.

The notion of a career being separate from one’s passions never appealed to me. My work is a reflection of who I am, blending my personal interests with my professional endeavors. This integration has brought not only a sense of fulfillment but also a distinct authenticity to my designs. Indeed, embracing risks associated with this approach has been daunting at times, but the rewards have been profoundly gratifying.

This is the way. Do what you love.