This weekend, my mom said to me, "You seem to be happier these days. Is that because all the fun design work you're doing is distracting you from the fact that you're still not married?" (Okay, so I might be exaggerating her verbage slightly, but you get the idea.)
The fact is that my fun design work is making me happy. Which makes me seriously question my career goals.
When I was dating Viper, he would stay late at work as often as he could (which, because he was a busy guy, turned out to only really be Mondays). One day he was telling me that he doesn't mind writing the occasional email on work time because a lot of the time he's thinking about work while he's in the shower, and he doesn't charge them for that. I think that those two things---wanting to stay late at work and thinking about work when you're not at work---are good signs that you're in a career that really fits.
And at the time, it didn't escape my notice that I always left work the moment I could (and all too often a couple moments before I'd worked a full day), and I never, ever thought about work problems in the shower.
But now that I am doing design work as opposed to straight editing, I really find that I am happier. (Not that I was depressed before... it's just that my parents are constantly probing me for my state of happiness and asking me to describe it as a number, and even though that number is usually a 9, they can somehow pick up on the unquantifiable difference between 9-but-I-don't-have-a-husband and 9-did-I-tell-you-about-my-latest-design?)
I stay late at the office and I don't even mind (and I don't mind the overtime that will be coming my way, either). This morning, I was even thinking about work in the shower so that I could start my workday running. Close friends and family will attest that every time I finish a batch of designs, I send out mass emails showing the work I've done.
Editing is just slightly different. Sure, I send out mass emails whenever I find some true editing gem, but when's the last time that happened? It's true that I find editing fulfilling and that I take pride in my little editing library here at home.
But it doesn't get me as excited as my design work. And it's not as fun as my design work.
This is where it gets tricky. See, I studied editing because I love the English language and because I love perfecting anything that is printed or published. I chose it as a field because I'm good at it. Design is something that I have always had a knack for but that I never studied in depth. So while working in design energizes me, I feel that I am not prepared to do design professionally. While I understand some principles of design, there are many others that I'm sure I'm not even aware of. Take color theory for example. One of the hardest parts of my work in design right now is finding colors that work well together. Think making a stripe pattern is easy? Finding the right colors, the right order, and the right variation of line thickness drives me crazy and I'm rarely pleased with what I manage to come up with.
I guess that's all to say that I'll feel like a poser if I ever abandon editing to go into design, even though design is what I enjoy more (yes, even making those pesky stripes). My current situation is actually absolutely ideal and perfect---where I find professional fulfillment as an editor and extra enjoyment doing design work on the side. I guess that means that when I say I'm a 9, I really mean it (and a raise and a gas grill and possibly a husband would put me at a 10).