Meaning something Monday November 26, 2007, 6 comments

I have obviously been circling this particular drain for a long time, and I know I am not alone, but I am utterly convinced that the work I do means absolutely nothing.

As you all know, I work in the web industry. This industry is unique among industries, being populated by a motley collection of stereotypes; self-aggrandized graphic designers in ultra-hip eyewear, troll-like programmers happily sequestered in a dark room somewhere with an endless supply of diet cola, sycophantic project managers and sales reps, and every non-stereotype in between.

It is a varied tapestry of collaboration, and it should be really interesting to work with all these personalities. Nonetheless, I look back over my twelve year career in the field and find that I have done absolutely nothing that actually means anything at all.

It does not make the world a better place. It does not change anyone’s life for the better. It does not reflect my personal belief structure. It most certainly does not fulfill me or give me any sense of creative pride. What it does do is generate revenue for my employer and my employer’s client.

That, by itself, may be a good enough reason to continue on doing what I am doing, but I become less and less convinced all the time.

Perhaps it’s burnout, coupled with the general malaise that accompanies winter making me feel a bit blah about the web. Or maybe it’s my Gen-X sense of entitlement, or some sort of post-Boomer idea that we are all somehow special (indeed unique, just like everyone else), but I like to think that there is a way to do things I consider ‘good’ and still make a living at it.


Daniel Black Monday November 26, 2007

Kind of begs the question, “In what units do you measure the ‘meaning’ of what you do?” Or something like that. Unfortunately, as far as I know, there’s no real way to trace the causal paths of our choices, and so no way to know how much good or harm they’ve redistributed through the world. However, I’m tempted to say that, if you hadn’t done the web dev thing, the chances would be lower that you’d have made A Rain of Frogs. Here in the long tail, it’s hard to change the world; but certainly your readers have at least a little more to show for your efforts than they would without them.

In the interest of balance, though, if you’d just become a stoner musician wandering the seas and cultures of the world, you might have united a vast following of loyal erudite activists to eradicate DRM or something. It’s not too late.

Adrian Monday November 26, 2007

Well, I’ve had the stoner part, and the musician part, but not so much with the seas and cultures.

Eradicating DRM though. That’s pretty damned noble.

And, for the record, I measure it in “milliRels”, the appropriate metric.

Thats 1.2 milliRels to the aproposia, for those stuck in the Imperial system.

Jon Babcock Saturday December 1, 2007

Here’s where the problem lies.

It is a fundamental misconception that discovering the Meaning of Life should ultimately lead to a state of overall contentedness or indemnification.

Rest assured, this is not the case.

Understanding Life’s purpose without an existing support system in place actually borders on the unpleasant, strangely enough.

That having been said, allow me to share the realization that helped me to overcome my bummer state of mind having finally discovered the Meaning of Life:

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think.

Adrian Saturday December 1, 2007

That is almost witty enough to make my sidebar of witty aphorisms, methinks.

Forget almost, it is.

posterchild Sunday December 2, 2007

stop taking yourself so seriously. sheesh!

Daniel Black Monday December 3, 2007

An end once identified does nothing to provide for its means.

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”
- Mark Twain


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