Don’t Go Over The Edge

March 26th, 2009 | Debut

Arley McBlain

This week I made a trip to North Bay to meet up with a couple of my bigger clients and to help PixelFlex founder Tim Lum with his Canadore College presentation “Get the Edge” for the Graphic Design program’s Professional Practices class (a video or series of videos of this presentation will be linked here when he gets it online).

It was awesome to be back at the ol’ stomping-grounds. We caught up with former profs and met some very promising young talent. At the end of Tim’s presentation of Seven Tips to Get the Edge I shared Three Tips to Not Go Over the Edge.

Three Tips To Not Go Over the Edge

There is a lot of emphasis especially in school about how we work, so I wanted to share another perspective.

1) Keep it Fun

Let’s face it, in the career of a someone in the creative industry there are going to be soul-crushing clients who squeeze all the life out of projects. It’s important to keep things fun. One example of this is the May 1st Reboot that Tim and I are doing. It’s hard to make time for your own projects, so by making a friendly competition out of it, we’re making this kind of work fun.

2) Get a Hobby

Computers have a nasty way of sucking us in. I was a lab rat during my college years. I would spend 14 hours a day at the computer only to go home and game on my PC. I think one of the best things I ever did was to buy a bass guitar and teach myself how to play. Get a hobby – one that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a screen.

3) Keep a Life Perspective

I have heard it said that the production industry is so deadly that the average career lasts 10 years. I follow many people on Twitter who will tweet about PHP and js all day and all night. Blogs reveal that some of these people do X kind of work in the day and Y kind of work in the evenings… seven days a week! Life is for living, not working. You are not your job.

The example I like to think of is me in an old age home 50 years from now. Yes, I’ll still remember and talk about the horrors of IE6, how the internet was at its best in my youth and how stupid I think the current paradigm is. I won’t wish I had spent more late nights working. All that will matter is friends, family and memories made with loved ones enjoying life.


This was my second time in the class as a non-student. As always the class was really receptive and asked some great questions. Surprisingly I didn’t leave feeling quite as old as I thought I would.

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