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Make Out Like a Bandit


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Derek Kinsman

Hey Jina, nice article. I like the whole ‘Do Stuff That Matters [to you]’ attitude. I try and live by that. Keeps me sane. :)

The emotional state of us folk who build websites is just as important to talk about as the business, tech, creative, and strategy topics are.

Thanks for sharing.

I think above all the technical talks, creative talks, theory talks (which are all topics that anyone can learn, even our sometimes unlearned clients), there should be more discussion about why we love designing. And how to keep that love for design at it’s peak. Without burning out, or forgetting that we have friends while we sit in a dark room photoshopping for 24 hours straight. Hopefully we’ll learn on the way.

Feel good about doing what you do.

@alessandro ~ I disagree. We don’t always need a tech demo or tutorial or top 10 list to enhance our skill set. Sometimes we need life lessons so that we can continue doing what we do, and enjoy it. Something about having the cake and eating it too.

I think taking care of yourself mentally would be making sure you don’t overwork yourself, or burnout. I’ve done that exactly 1 3/4 times this year already. Nothing to do with drugs. Well, maybe a bit. Physically, make sure your work environment is comfortable. You don’t want to go under the knife and have your tendon pullies snipped to relieve RSI stress.


What a wonderfull article! Thank you very much for sharing this great knowledge of yours. That was worth reading.

So, if I fully understand your article :

- You want to be “stinking rich” as much as if you were a gangster.

- So you ended up as a “workaholic”, some sort of slave to work sitting on a chair addicted to sushis.

- But you want more money to be more “happy”.

- So you’re giving other nice little tricks : “sharing” your time and knowledge with other peaople, working for “environmentalism” or “charity”.

And by writing this article, you’re precisely sharing you’re great knowledge. So cute…

Carolyn Wood

Thanks, Jina, for a very nice article. I find that when you’re working on a project you love (for example, when I worked with Scott Boms on a recent project), no matter how late it was or how intensely we were working, the time just flew by. Although it was a “side project” it made me feel nourished and more enthused about other “real work.” You covered a lot of points in the article that one would think are common sense but are exactly the things we lose track of during these busy, busy days. I think momentum is one of the most difficult things you mentioned—many demands and requests from many different directions can be interruptions, they keep you out of that state of “Flow” no matter how enjoyable or engaging they may be. There are times I’d like to lock myself up somewhere and Just. Work., yet networking and making some kind of attempt to “keep up” seem to be absolute necessities in the web world—whether you’re a writer/content/ux person (my main thing) or a designer (my secret love) or a developer.

By the way, I was just looking at the Crush + Lovely site the other day and I love it. You’re doing beautiful work.

Andrew Crookston

On your first three paragraphs I had a very interesting conversation with my parents earlier tonight about royalty payment.
Let’s start with your quote:

“I’m talking about our success. We work and work and work. Shouldn’t we be filthy, stinking rich?”

Then think (I know we’re not in the music biz but) think, what are we doing every day? We are creative, designing and creating exceptional work. Some people (quite a few on this site) are leading in the area of web DESIGN.
While a lot of DESIGNers or artists get payed for a painting or a piece of art, why aren’t web designers payed in the same way?
Why don’t we get royalty for our designwork? It’s displayed and republished millions of times (more than music is) in some cases.

How about paying web designers a royalty fee? ;)

Or.. If we should bring the music biz down from their pedestals, what gives them the right to be do 3days of work and get payed for it the rest of their lives (+70years)? Aren’t they just like us, creating something for others to enjoy.

Nikita Sumeiko

I thought about your article a little bit and found it really positive. The idea of looking for a perfect projects that could provide you with filling happiness is the real way to live.

Moreover, I’d like to add, that a lot of people in nowadays doesn’t understand exactly what they honestly want from everyday’s job, and that is why they are unhappy. Many understands job as a habit, which everyone do day by day. For others job is just connected with money making. But where are a real goals, which could warm up the soul?!

As an example, I’d like to bring yourself, Jina. You’re very focused person, as I see so far. And you’ve got a strong goals – to get happiness from your everyday’s work flow, if I’m not mistaken. I think, such an ambitious goals is a very important thing to understand (it concerns everybody), because when you’ve goals, you know where to go to archive this goals someday.

So, to my mind, your article is very good for people who know what really they needs, but if they don’t I just suggest to think about goals they would like to archive from usual work? Just to imagine a happy future and jump into building it by doing stuff you write in this article!

Thanks again.


Thank you for the answer Drew.

I think that this article is not so useful, because it is too focused on personal and emotional aspects of our work and our life, in a superficial way

Now that I read it, I know that if I find the perfect job for me, do work that is meaningful and take proper care of me physically, mentally, and socially I will be a successful man.

I’m sure that are very good advices, but you can’t say things like these in a small web page and pretend that are useful to someone.

What does it means, exactly, “take care of yourself mentally?”. Maybe that I have to stop with drugs? No, this is the physical part, i suppose, so what does it means “mentally”? And “socially”? To read more and attend more parties, maybe?

I think everything is too superficial here, and when you are too superficial you say nothing.


Thank u so much, Very Helpful and inspiring for the newbees like me, This types of articles really help people like me who are struggling to taste the success.
:) Thanks once again.

Jina Bolton

Lars, I don’t know what it was that I said that gave you the impression that I wanted lots of money. That was actually quite the opposite of what I was saying. Success is not about that — it’s about feeling accomplished and pleased with the work you are doing.

Allessandro, by taking care of yourself mentally, I was referring to your stress levels and a work-life balance. Socially, I just meant taking time out to spend time with friends and family — which is something people can struggle with, if they work too much.

The point of the article was about balance. I know I used some personal examples, but it wasn’t meant to be a superficial article. I was just trying to share examples that would tell the story of why I feel the way I do about work life balance and success in the work we do — which again, does not necessarily have to do with money.

Jason McGwier

Inspiring, yet calming.

Lately, I’ve been finding it difficult to get in the zone and when I know I have a little piece of it, I quickly find some way to escape. The momentum eludes me every single time. Don’t get me wrong, I get the work done on time. I just want to get the product shipped and the client happy.

What happened to the enjoyment and fulfillment of creating? I’ve lost some of that enthusiasm and I want it back. I don’t think it’s burnout – I know when burnout is creeping. It’s repetition maybe. Whatever it is it has muffled my appreciation for the work I do.

Often times a great article appears and it brings you back to that place where the enthusiasm started. It becomes meaningful again. This is one of those articles. I’d love to see more.

Thank you Jina.

Joseph Silvashy

Jina! I like your point of view. In terms of “maintaining momentum” I think this is your strongest point.

I think this is in some ways like “Flow” which is the sweet spot in which you are challenged “just enough” with something but not enough so that you give up. like for some people learning say CSS, they encounter roadblocks or situations that challenge them, but they find solutions in short enough intervals that they are totally emerged in building their site. Much like a little kid with legos.

Thanks for your insight Jina!

Chris Kemp

You display a mark of maturity that belies your age. It’s a mark of success that one enjoys ones work and gains satisfaction and happiness from his efforts.

I often say that this is a tough business: when your making money, you’re not trolling for new clients; when you’re out getting clients, your not getting paid. And in between those pincers, you still have to keep up with a technology that is moving every day, and requiring new skills and sophistication.

Yet, it is the best gig I have ever had. I get enormous satisfaction of seeing and designing processes in their abstract elegance, and transforming that insight into something of value. I also enjoy meeting new people and helping them to figure out how to address their business needs. And, I agree, it helps to put into perspective that you are making a contribution and doing something that you love.

Elizabeth K. Barone

Great article, Jina. I love your writing style.

i try to balance the work with things I enjoy, but sometimes I forget and that is when I struggle. It also doesn’t help that I have to frequently stave off depression, so the battle is even more important.

I’m glad to see this article and the “Burnout” article at A List Apart. Everyone expects us to be happy robots producing beautiful thing after beautiful thing, but it truly can be a draining industry. Make no mistake — I love being a web designer and developer. I just think that the dangers of burning out often go ignored and most of us suffer in silence.

We definitely need to remember how to make ourselves happy when we work such demanding jobs. I’m probably rambling because I’m tired, but I truly did appreciate this article.

If anyone needs someone to talk to, to talk shop, complain, or whatever, shoot an email to ebarone( I’m here and willing to listen. (:


@Jina: Thanks for the reminder that work isn’t simply about putting food on the table and a roof over the head.

@Andrew Crookston: It’s apparent you don’t understand the music industry at all. You think it takes “3 days” to write, learn, record, and market a song? You think that musicians are “filthy stinking rich”??? You think that the record companies are honest about sales figures and pay the proper amount of royalties? You think that recording contracts are to the advantage of musicians and not the record companies? There are a HANDFUL of musicians who are “filthy stinking rich”, just like there are a HANDFUL of stinking rich fiction writers (Stephen King and JK Rowling, for example. The rest need “day jobs”).

Do layout artists get royalties on brochures, newsletters, and publications? Do logo designers get royalties on each time their logo shows up? Do programmers get royalties? (they don’t – they are under a “work for hire” clause, just like engineers – who don’t see a penny from any patents developed while working for a company, either)

Fine artists and illustrators can get royalties, or repeatedly sell the same image multiple times, depending on the rights they allow to go with a sale. But, again, how many fine artists are stinking rich in their lifetimes?

You, if you are a freelancer, are perfectly within your rights to keep ownership of your intellectual property, but just like music nowadays, someone clever can read your code and “download it” and use it themselves, without paying you one cent. Just like people are doing with music these days. You have to trust that there are enough people out there who like what you do and are honest enough to pay you for your work. Just like musicians.

And, might the developers of the web standards not turn around and claim you are creating “derivative works” from their material and demand royalties from you and everyone who views web pages created with HTML or CSS or JavaScript or Java or whatever?

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