Well, we’ve had a lot of fun these past few days, it’s been mentally exhausting inspiring so much discussion. I cannot imagine being a real public figure with people commenting on my every decision and misstep. All I’m saying is, “Please!…Leave Britney alone!”
But right when I was feeling the need for to shave my head and call it a day, my son, Griffin, performed this ditty at our local Ukulele Union of Boston and all the bad people just went away. It’s a feel-good palette cleanser to ready us all for the weekend. He’s such a cute kid. I hope you like it. Let’s talk again next week, k?
For me, working from my home office increases productivity. I don’t have to spend hours commuting. I don’t have the temptation of office socializing to distract me. I can take a break and go for a walk and recharge myself when I hit a wall. But the one thing that really hinders my ability to work from home is school vacation.
Griffin is home for the summer. He has applied for some summer jobs, but in this economy few people are hiring 15 year olds. He has spent the past three days in my living room, ten feet from my desk, playing video games, watching cartoons, and playing ukulele. He’s also very chatty. If he slept in like a normal teenager, I could wake up early and get the bulk of my work done before he pulled himself out of bed, but he’s been getting up at 7 a.m. to go jogging, so that’s not an option. If I were younger, I could spend the day doing administrative, low-attention span work and then get the bulk of the design done after Griff went to bed. But I’ve discovered that I’m not as productive at 1 a.m. as I used to be.
So, what to do? There’s always the laptop and the coffee shop. I can get writing, billing, and production work done that way, but not much design or illustration. I could look at renting a desk at a freelancer co-op space but that cuts into profits. I could kick the kid to the curb, like my mom did when I was a kid in the summertime, but I believe my son should feel welcome in his own home, so I’m not loving that idea. I could take an on-site gig for the summer, but working in an office during the best weather of the year is the antithesis of why I work from home. Honestly, if anyone has a suggestion, I’m all ears!
Sunday, my son and I stopped into our local grocery store to pick up some rolls for the Hawaiian Pulled-Pork sandwiches I was bringing to my nephew’s high school graduation party. As we walked in, we ran into a guy in his twenties with a bushy beard, wearing skinny jeans, Chucks and a black vest over his retro concert tee. His wife was right behind him, tight pixie cut with a streak of pink, flowing sundress and Doc Martens. Their eyes were down, their faces grim. Last came their little daughter, skipping in her pink rain boots, loving life. We passed them and my son said quietly, “We were gonna be hipsters for-EVER and then SHE came along!”
It’s tough to be the grown-up, especially when you still feel like the new kid in school. I spent the weekend at high school graduation parties and faced my own mortality with the grim look of those grocery shopping hipsters. Then a friend of mine posted to her Facebook asking advice for choosing the right high school for her daughter who wants to work in “multi-media design and art.” Should she chose a vocational and career school? A private college prep school? Or just her local public high school?
I have no qualms with vocational schools, my son attends one. But when I toured his school I remember the graphic design teacher asserting that, “your kids don’t even have to be ‘good drawers,’ because the software does that for you now.” I came home and told him he could go to the school, but only if he didn’t want to be in the graphics program!
This industry is full of people who can use Photoshop, but if they can’t think, if they can’t draw, if they can’t solve communications problems with creative solutions, then what service are they providing exactly? Give me the graphic designer who is well-read and well-rounded and I can teach them how to use the latest technology.
And that’s what I left as my comment to my friend’s inquiry. I suppose one of the benefits of being the grown-up with experience is passing it on to the next generation. That said, I still wear my Chucks pretty much everyday because I’m gonna be a hipster for-EVER.