Be professional or be authentic

What does an Italian pop-folk singer has to do with my professional writing?

Since I’ve started writing my blog, I wanted to present myself in the most professional way I could. I knew the more professional I’d be, the more this blog would help me in the future. After I started working at Inkod Hypera Ltd., using the skills I earned and also the blog, I had another perspective about the blog. Working with talented UX & GUI designers makes me learn a lot every single day, but I noticed I can’t find a topic to write about, and I don’t have the same motivation I had before. Why is that happening?

My blog was a tool for me to become better at what I do, to tell a better story, and to promote myself professionally. I think, after I achieved my current professional goal and started working at the place I wanted, I felt it’s time to rest.

In the same time, something else happened — I started mailing a daily mail to one of my friends, containing a short anecdote from my day, and a link to something that I found interesting — a photo, a song, an article, etc. I really enjoyed it, and after a couple of these mails I realized there’s something weird going on. I can’t commit to sending a mail every week, but instead I’m sending a mail every single day. How come?

Authenticity!!!

Sending a daily mail of what caught my eye and made me feel something in the middle of the day was much more authentic than collecting content that may be interesting for other people. For example, a couple of days ago, I accidentally bumped into a Wikipedia page about an Italian pop-folk singer, Orietta Berti, so I read a little about her and sent this ultra-esoteric piece of information to my friend and sent a link to one of her most famous songs — “Finché La Barca Va”.

Of course, this song has nothing to do with my design blog, but the fact that I searched for information about this singer, read about her, listened to her song and actually sent a mail about it, made me realize how important is to find be authentic and go with what’s interesting for me.

So what’s the perfect combination of professionalism and authenticity?

This whole thing teaches me that a routine needs to be checked and fine-tuned every once in a while. For someone who writes for almost a year now, there are couple of questions I need to ask my self — Do I act the same way as I did when I started? Am I comfortable with the format I’m using? Do I still find the same thing interesting? What can I do to make myself more into what I’m writing about?

For some of these questions I have answers. I am not the same person I was when I started the blog, I am comfortable with the format I’m using, though I do feel I need to change the content a little bit and make it more “me”ish.

“Me”ish?

Saying I want to create a more “Me”ish content, is nice, but I need to define “Me”ish. For example, I realized lately that I’m not so aesthetic as I would expect a designer to be. Many designers try to be aesthetic and “clean”, so they use 90% of whitespace and create ultra-balanced creations, and that’s great. But it doesn’t keep my motor running.

What I find inspirational are, for instance, Monty Python’s animations.

Not only aren’t they clean or aesthetic, some might even find them ugly. I love it. I love combining materials and creating a realistic, though surrealistic look.

Example

Let’s say I need to show some content. Let’s say… The word “content”! Of course. If I wanted to present myself as a more professional designer, I would design something very similar to this:

A lot of whitespace. The word "Content is centered"
Wow. Right?

But, if I wanted to have fun and be authentic while showing this content, I would do something like this:

Aesthetic? Authentic.

You can love it and you can hate it, but the important thing is I created this because it made me curious and it made me try to make it better. It was authentic.

Baby steps

Sure, what I’m saying might sound like “Hey, you like popcorn, so instead of designing a fresh and clean UI, make the whole screen filled with popcorn, because that’s authentic”, or “leave your day job and become a professional sleeper, because you love sleeping”.

What I’m suggesting is pushing the limits a bit further towards authentic, little by little, one step at a time. It might sound stupid, but I, for example, started writing in a less formal way to clients. I don’t believe anyone would be pissed if I’d add little smiley face or a little joke, and it even makes the the communication better. We’re all humans, after all.

In conclusion

After a long break of avoiding the task of writing and creating, I found out what’s the reason — I started drifting away from my authenticity. From now on — I’ll focus on bringing my authenticity to my blog (don’t worry, It will remain a UX design focused blog). Working and writing on things you really find interesting makes you try harder and do better.

So I leave you with this — Does your routine enables you to bring out yourself and be authentic? If not, how can you change it?


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