Dear Past Me, Don't Get Lazy

Cory, if all goes well then you should be reading this post from nearly 7 years in your future. Don't go thinking I'm Doc Brown or anything - I just scheduled the post date for 2003. I don't know why I'm the first to come up with this, but it turned out to be pretty easy to do thanks to a huge oversight from the WordPress developers.

So, I was reading an e-mail from my brother-in-law James a bit ago (spoiler alert: you totally marry Samantha) where he was talking about his friend recently graduating from design school. This guy's a bit nervous about doing design for a living, which is understandable, but it got me thinking about what kind of advice I'd pass on to a newbie. I came up with some good tips but then it hit me: this guy is my competition. Why in the world would I want to make things harder for myself by making them easier for him?

Screw. That.

As you're reading this you should have just started to work on the web professionally and I'm going to be sending back some tips to make life a bit easier for the both of us. I'm not going to do them all at once -- I'd imagine your mind is fairly well blown already -- I'm just going to leave you with one tidbit this time around. It's a big one, so pay attention:

Keep learning new things.

You can't go all complacent just because you got a web design job. You will never learn enough if you limit yourself to 40 hours a week, especially in a production-oriented office -- there's just too much out there. (Well, not as much back then as there are now, but there's enough to keep you busy.)

But wait, what's "enough"?

I don't know and wish I did. I don't think it's really quantifiable. Some might say "enough" is what it takes to get the job done, but I'd ask how well the job turned out. Some might say it's being able to immediately solve any problem that ever comes your way, but that's completely unrealistic (without a fixed quantity of problems). I'm willing to bet it's somewhere in between...

Don't let yourself feel overwhelmed or daunted with information overload - web design is really tough, especially as a generalist. I'd suggest dabbling with something new for 30 minutes a day. If you get bored with a subject, move on to something else. Just keep at it and we'll be fine.