I thought I would do a post about how I have ended up where I currently am (as of June, 2018). I had originally titled it, “where the heck am I and how did I get here?” because that actually feels more true, but You Are Here is a reference to one of the first exercises in the book Designing Your Life. Former Apple employees and current Stanford professors, apply design thinking to life paths in their course and have written a fabulous book to help all of us figure our lives out. I started reading this book in February 2018 after a friend who was also trying to figure her own path out recommended it. It really helped me identify where my work-life seemed to be getting off track. I highly recommend it to anyone who is feeling like they’re just wading through life with no perceivable direction.
Rewind to 2016-2017 Year
A bit of backstory to how I even got to a place where I could truly gain insight from Designing Your Life. General background up until the 2016 American election: graduated college, worked multiple jobs before going back to Architecture School in 2009. Went to school (loved it), graduated, got a job (didn’t love it), got another job (still didn’t love it), took my exams (7) one a month for 7 months and got my license, got a better job (but still not loving it), got pregnant, had a kid, kept working…
Now this election thing was a pretty huge bummer for me as for a huge number of others (the majority of the voters technically), but one thing it showed me was that no matter how unheard or marginalized you think you are, if you band together then you can get stuff done. That’s what the people who voted for Trump in our county did. They came together and with the help of decades of partisan gerrymandering were able to elect a president despite the popular vote being almost 3 million more for Clinton. So I thought, hey!, I can be the change that I want to see in this world, and in my career.
Creating change requires intention. Intention requires figuring out where you are and where you want to go to create the path for the change you want. By this point I had begun to feel quite stifled in my architecture career, and had been having some existential questions regarding the profession as a whole, my role in it, what parts of it I actually enjoyed, and whether or not I was going to be stuck doing the portions of architecture that I neither enjoy, nor feel good at.
I am a creative person. I NEED to create, and my career path has been leading away from the creation toward the production of what others create. We can discuss all day whether or not production is creation in and of itself, but suffice to say, it’s not what I enjoy. So while I’ve been trying to change my career path within my work, I also started to explore other options for creative outlets. I tend to think of my creativity like a dense and animated fog creature that is constantly scrambling to find openings (creative outlets) through with to stream through, so when it hits a wall at work then it strikes out in every other direction to find an exit.
Fast-forward to Early 2018
Designing Your Life prompted me to explore creative professions that rely more on myself and what I have at my disposal. That thinking, coupled with a book idea that I had had rolling around in my head for about 6 months or a year, led me to writing.
The Search for Passive Income
The last piece of this puzzle is my search for ways to create passive income for my family. For those who aren’t familiar with this concept, passive income is that which comes without you having to continually work for it. This article, lists a lot of passive income ideas.
Royalties are a type of passive income. There are a number of things that can get you royalties for and most of them involve design. Good thing I’m a designer! Some things require special expertise and upfront cost like tech or industrial design, but some really only require you to be able to put a pen to paper (if you do it well). That’s where writing and graphic design come in. I happen to like doing both I’ve discovered recently, and the nice thing is with books or graphics I can put the work in up front and then hopefully sell them over the long term well enough to generate income over both my lifetime, and for the life of the copyright (70 yrs postmortem). So I have been on this new journey of potentially pivoting career paths, or maybe just supplementing depending on how it goes, by becoming an author.
So that’s how I’ve ended up here: June, 2018 – writing my first draft of my novel, as well as other stories, poems, etc. Trying to figure out my path.