Lately I’ve been seeing an interesting trend in this whole ecosystem that we call “The Workplace”.
And that is the trend of working to live, to survive, to make it to the next pay check. Even more so amongst my generation’s counterparts (I’m what you refer to as a millennial, apparently) I see this trend of working to support their lifestyle, their habits, their hobbies.
But, to be entirely honest with you, this whole trend never really hit home with me. Why, you ask? Well, I do have a very simple answer:
My job started as my hobby.
This is not really all that important but, I do web development. Yup. I’m one of those guys doing stuff on the web. I stress about servers, I complain about lines of code, I argue over homepage real-estate and I make some pretty decent billboards.
Yet above any and all of those things: I am deeply in love with the profession I chose.
It is a relationship that I have nurtured and prioritized throughout my years, and just like any other bond I have shared, it’s had some ups and downs. But what I’ve found is that your relationship to your trade works just like any other one: You have to put in some work to make the best of it.
Grabbed your interest yet? Let’s get to the good parts.
How to nurture a relationship with your trade.
This article is about more than just web development, it is for each one of us that are in a valuable and intimate, but also fulfilling relationship with the trade of our choice. And specially on how to maintain it.
While the examples in it are more inclined to my trade of choice, you can easily see them applied to others.
1.- Treat it like a hobby.
I’d like to welcome you to the land of before: back in the day when you didn’t even know your trade existed; maybe you were 10 and ridding your bike, maybe you were 20 and just got out of the gym, maybe you were 3 and doing… well, whatever 3 year olds do these days.
And then, just like magic, it appeared before you. Beautiful and shiny and full of promise. This is the first run in you had with your trade. And ever since then, the two of you were inseparable.
Now a day’s things may not be as new as back then, but that doesn’t mean your old trade can’t bring out the butterflies in you, you just have to bring up the right mood.
Revisit some of your old projects and try to improve them, work together towards something new, spend the whole weekend together. Whatever you do, just remind your trade, now hobby, (and yourself) of the relationship you used to have
2.- Break the monotony.
Let’s face it, you’ve been dating this thing for 3, 5, 8, maybe 20 years by now. The cute little quirks that fascinated you at first are now dull and uninspiring. The headaches it used to give you are now a thing of the past. You know your hobby and it knows you too.
Maybe a little too well.
It may seem daunting at first but, finding new little details about your trade can really brighten the mood between the two of you. Maybe it’s a brand new feature that came out in the most recent version, maybe it’s a technique you had never bothered to learn before, or maybe it’s just revisiting the very basics and seeing what you missed the first time.
3.- Go on an adventure, just the two of you.
Remember when you and your trade used to go out on adventures together? Maybe it was that one time you spent the whole weekend(s) locked up at the shop working on that pallet bed frame you saw on that one website. Maybe it was that time you discovered how to run the lights in your house using your raspberry pi.
How long has it been since you and your trade went on one of these adventures together? Sometimes all it takes to rekindle the fire is a good weekend and the right project.
4.- Spend some time with each other.
Sometimes things get in the way: The boys call you out for a cowboy’s game, the girls are having drinks at Hannah’s, West World is on TV, etc. The point is, things can and will sometimes seem to be in the way of you spending time with your hobby.
Sure you see each other at work, but how much of that time is really spent together? Most of it is probably being taken up by meetings, colleague interruptions and other meetings (which are probably also about meetings).
Spending time with your significant hobby (quality time) can really make a difference. Maybe you can schedule some time weekly when it’s just the two of you (perhaps a Monday night?), maybe you can be more committed and dedicate a few hours to your trade each day after work.
Whichever approach you choose, the important thing is that you turn off the phone, put away all distractions, and focus on what’s really important.
5.- Consider consulting with a professional.
If everything else fails, it is important to know that there is no shame in asking for help to rekindle this relationship. There are specialized professionals in every area that will help guide and instruct you in your goals.
We live in a globalized era, and with the internet as it is these days, the possibilities are endless. Whether you need help finding projects in order to get back on track, or inspiration to pull you back in to the front-lines; it is important to remember that you’re not alone and there are others willing to help you.
That being said, we do recommend you research your sources before choosing a specific consultor or site, as they do tend to vary in efficiency.
All good fun aside, maintaining a relationship with the things that make you happy (in this case your trade) works in the same vein as nurturing just about any other relationship you may run into.
It needs love, mystery, excitement, and, most importantly, commitment and dedication in order to remain healthy and enjoyable throughout the years. And sometimes all you need to get back on track with the thing that once made you happy, is a little effort.