On the plane ride back to Phoenix from a ski trip to the Tahoe area, I found myself musing about how I felt about “going back to work” the next day. Thoughts of how interior design and my personal life merge and overlap, and the fact that I really don’t see a solid line between what I do personally and what I do as the senior designer at Janet Brooks Design lead me to an appreciation for the opportunities my career has offered in the past 30+ years.
I recently came across the trendy acronym YOLO, You Only Live Once, (which tends to be used by the prepubescent in our society to justify doing something idiotic and embarrassing). But to me, it could be a mantra for people who once put their faith in our parents’ or grandparents’ belief that: a Good Education = a Good Steady Job = a Good Life = a Satisfying Retirement. Unfortunately, all bets are off when it comes to depending on what worked for previous generations. The business world, post 9/11 and even more so, post the 2008 Recession, is a place not unlike what the pioneers in the “Old West” experienced. We are finding ourselves looking at a business and career horizon that can’t be clearly seen, and therefore is decidedly unpredictable. We are on our own, walking a fine line with no safety net. The Corporate world may not hold the allure it once did, for its possible lack of offering a modicum of personal job satisfaction, as well as for its lack of the job security that previous generations once knew. Therefore, we need more than ever to find a place where our means of putting food on the table is also a source of personal joy.
When I started in interior design, it wasn’t the guarantee of a great income or a secure future that lured me to the drafting table. It was the opportunity to take ideas and create something with them that not only gives me a personal sense of accomplishment, but also makes a positive difference in peoples lives who have put their trust in me. It was a subconscious knowledge that I wanted to enjoy this one lifetime I have been given, and that meant doing something for a living that couldn’t be labeled just a “job”. And what a rewarding experience it has been! I am grateful to be able to live by the mantra You Only Live Once, not only by being immersed in a career that is personally satisfying (as well as, of course, paying the bills), but by being self-employed and thus dependent on no one but myself for my sense of my own value. For me, Responsibility Equals Reward. I highly support people of any age who find themselves wanting to step out and start living a seamless life….one that combines a personally rewarding career with a way of living life to the fullest. I believe that this is best accomplished by loving what you do to the extent that the lines between work and play are blurred because it is all satisfying, which of course could happen in the right corporate environment as well as in a self-employed scenario. For me, interior design fits perfectly with my belief that we should live life to the fullest, because we only live once!