Is it better to do something you like or something that's better for the common good?
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    Is it better to do something you like or something that's better for the common good?

    Sorry for making yet another of these threads.

    So, I've been studying landscape architecture for the past year and a half. Right now I'm supposed to be studying for an exam about cultural landscape history (bleh!) today, but instead I just started drawing. Yesterday I just drew whatever, and now I'm practicing making correct-looking shadows in perspective with the help of some perspective books.

    My thinking is, I'll apply into graphic design again in the spring, specialising in 3D visualising. Or maybe just graphic design in general, with my goal to be an illustrator and comic book artist. I started thinking about this again a few weeks ago, after which I've had trouble concentrating on my current studies. Why would I concentrate on that if I'm really after something else?

    There's just one problem. While I've been studying landscape architecture I've been getting more convinced I could do more good for the world as a landscape architect. I just can't shake away the thought that it might be stupid to hold on to my childish dream. Maybe I just can't grow up and get a grip on the real world.

    If I could just forget about it, my studies would be better off for it. Landscape architects are in demand in our country, so definitely I could get a job. But I just don't quite enjoy it as much as drawing silly things.

    But if I want to draw silly characters and work in, for example, the rising game industry in our country, that would mean I'm working on something that a lot of people waste a lot of time on. You know, games. Sure they're fun and I love the worlds that are in the games, but what good are they, really? They make some people happy for a while, but on the whole they can make people's lives worse, if they spend too much time on them.

    Is it wrong to want to do something fun as a job even if it's something that isn't necessarily so good for people?

    (And yeah, of course it can't be all fun all the time, but right now I'm really enjoying figuring out the 3D shapes of this silly-looking duck...)

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    Well, if everybody picked their careers like that then there wouldn't be any wine brewers out there. Any industry that could potentially cause harm would be shut down due to a lack of employees. For example, I think it's been proved several times that wine is good for you in moderation. That applies to almost everything. It's not your problem if people play the games you could possibly create in excess. It's not Hollywood's problem if the people watch too many movies. Videogames are a good thing, for many people. When I played videogames, they didn't make me happy for a little bit. They made me happy for a long time. I really freaking enjoyed the loads of time I spent playing videogames with my friends.

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    Your post is peppered with derogatory comments about what people do on here for a living. You're not smart enough to know whats good for people and your smarmy little self serving speech is just trolling. If your too much of a coward to do what you want in life and make a difference then that's your fault don't try to draw some stupid rationalization for it by degrading what other people do.

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    You want us to hold your dick while you piss as well?

    lol you guys and your "problems" never fail to crack me up.

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    Is it wrong to want to do something fun as a job
    Yes it is.
    Become a doctor.

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    Okay, point taken, dpant. I'm a chick, though, so maybe that's why I don't get the dick metaphor from Star Eater. I guess it means I just gotta decide for myself and not be such a little kid?

    Anyway, dpaint, is what you're getting at that you can make a difference by drawing as well? I mean, I guess if it's for a good reason. I mean, I can imagine, but couldn't you guys give some examples?

    This is seriously a huge dilemma for me. I can understand what you're saying, but I'm not trolling. Okay, maybe I should've kept my mouth shut and made my own decisions, but one of the most important things I've learned that there is always lots to learn from other people. That was something I used to be really reluctant to do. So I just want your input on this. If I can be proven wrong on my assumption that drawing for making my living will be bad bad bad, then it will be much easier to make my decision to become an artist because that's what I always wanted before getting that thought in my head. I wanted you to convince I'm wrong. I'm sorry if it seemed like an attack on you, I'm sorry it's selfish, I'm sorry for being a little kid and asking for help.

    I'm not degrading you. I don't think it's wrong other people do it, I mean someone's gotta do it. The world is huge and everything here is connected to everything in many ways I cannot understand. I mean, I just recently started realising things about how the society works. And I think all pieces are needed. But I hope I'm not being selfish if I push myself into something I don't fully appreciate that someone else would appreciate more. Maybe there are enough artists already.

    Argh, I just have this huge clump of thoughts that is hard to pull anything coherent out of. You know, like a ball of thread and you can't find the end of?

    Alright. Any other input, I'm all open. You can make it harsh if you must, just make sure I get it. I'm just at a loss here.

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    At a certain point we become adults. It often means learning to make decisions on your own.

    I honestly don't think art as a career is for everyone, too many weak willed people need assurance to become an artist - and those that did it as careers - I don't really see many problems of them whining or asking what to do about it. They did it. That doesn't mean you can't do art for fun...I'm talking about the career aspect.

    I know people aren't being nice about it, but there has to be some point where you gotta figure this out on your own. If you're that weak willed maybe art as a career isn't for you. You need to have drive and passion for what you're going to choose as a career.

    Otherwise we have a name for just getting passionless work.

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    But I do love drawing. I just have that one nagging thought. I used to love every aspect of it until I got that thought in my head. If I can just get around that again, I could have passion. I mean, doesn't anyone here ever have those moments of doubt?

    Or maybe it is indeed too late for me and I should stick to landscape architecture... and - heck! I'm 20! It can't be too late!
    I don't want A JOB, I just want to do something good, and I- okay I sure sound like an idiot here.

    How about I just passionately draw and then I'll eventually get to work doing that? I mean, no matter what doubts I have, I love creating something that's beautiful. I'm not really asking for reassurance. I don't need you to prod me on. I was just wondering.... I guess I worded my question wrong. I'm wondering, no the question's right. I was just wondering what sorts of opinions people have about that in general. How to choose a career that's right for you. Should you base it on passion, ethical values, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Great Distance View Post
    I was just wondering what sorts of opinions people have about that in general. How to choose a career that's right for you. Should you base it on passion, ethical values, etc.
    Which are questions you should be asking yourself, not others. It's your life.

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    I wanted you to convince I'm wrong
    There's your oppinion.
    Why not contact a former art teacher of yours, a friend that studies design, an aunt that works as freelancer?

    The "doing good" idea is so far out there and disconnected from job-reality of most people, that there's no easy answer.
    My mind slips if I try to think about it - bus drivers and scientists, actors and fireman, designers and housewifes are all doing something for society. Where's the line of "doing good"?
    If it's really important for you to receive direct gratitude because you did something for other people, a medical or nursing profession could be better suited than landscape architecture.
    If it's important for you that other people think you are good, becoming a doctor might be right.

    Think about this:
    Art is difficult, it is a really demanding profession (time-wise, money-wise) and it takes some stubbornness and willpower.
    You will have to follow your own lead a lot, you will have to ignore and maybe even offend some people (like your friends and parents) and often times, you will be alone with what you do.
    There are very often no guidelines and no help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Great Distance View Post
    Okay, point taken, dpant. I'm a chick, though, so maybe that's why I don't get the dick metaphor from Star Eater. I guess it means I just gotta decide for myself and not be such a little kid?

    Anyway, dpaint, is what you're getting at that you can make a difference by drawing as well? I mean, I guess if it's for a good reason. I mean, I can imagine, but couldn't you guys give some examples?
    I make my living selling paintings but I also donate a lot of paintings and my time to charities I believe in to help them raise money for what they do. I give the paintings and the venue keeps 100% of the money from the sale at their fund raisers or auctions. I support land and small farm preservation, animal care, and local funding projects in my community for schools and art organizations. I've lived in Virginia 5 years now and have raised tens of thousands of dollars for each of these organizations through the donations of my artwork. I also give free demos to art organizations around the state. My demos are like little one day classes where artists can come and ask me anything they want about process or business. We also foster dogs and cats in my home and keep as many as we can from being euthanized. All of it is paid for with my art.
    If you want to do things for the community or the world at large then do it. All it takes is an active interest. If everyone did some small
    thing to help where they can, all those things add up over time and with a lot of people participating they can make a lot of change; instead of waiting to do something big that never gets done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Great Distance View Post
    I was just wondering what sorts of opinions people have about that in general. How to choose a career that's right for you. Should you base it on passion, ethical values, etc.
    my personal opinion, is along the lines of do what you love. I don't believe the hoax 'if you do what you love you'll never work a day in your life', because I do think if something is worth doing, it's worth working hard for.
    I remember asking my friends back in high school who were confused about what they wanted, to answer a question in regards to a simple simple scenario.

    If you had all the money in the world, or rather no worries, no bills, no need for food, you have a house, etc. what would you spend your time doing? Why? How can you best make a living off of that?

    If you can figure out what you would do even if you didn't have to do anything, I personally feel that you will be best able to become the best in that field, or at least most enjoy your work.

    Let me ask you, since you earlier said that you have trouble seeing how games give back to society; how do you feel about the gaming medium as a learning device? Have you heard about the possible plans of sciences and technologies such as augmented reality?

    And the big question; Why did you play games? If you aren't passionate about games why work in them?

    as was said before, you need to make this decision for yourself. no one can answer your questions for you. yes, people have an opinion and their personal choices paved their path in one way or another; but each story is different.

    If life choices were based only on the greater good, we'd all be working as doctors or for the red cross style aide programs. Contributing to society is important to being a "good" person, but it's only one of many parts. If you aren't going to be happy, can you really provide help for another?

    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    You want us to hold your dick while you piss as well?
    can you do that for me? I've been getting so confused with how to do that. not sure if I'm going about it right. Is there a best way to do it, like a proper way to hold it? do you use gloves, or is it better to do it exposed?

    Fudge this AWESOME place!!!

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    A bigger question is, will drawing what the boss tells you to draw on a deadline actually be fun for you? Because just about anything is fun when it's self-initiated and you're using it to escape schoolwork and you can stop any time you want to. But will it still be fun when you are spending 60 hours a week on it?

    Edit: If you're creative and clever you can turn any skill to the common good, and if you can't there's always your after-work hours to spend on volunteering.

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    OP, I went through almost exactly what you're describing when I was in college and soon after (by the way, I went to college for a non-art-related career). One of the things which I discovered through the process of getting over these doubts was that I was thinking in black-and-white terms. To me, it seemed like I could either pursue the absolute highest moral road (sacrifice my interests and passions to help others), or I was a horrible person. Art, obviously, put me in the latter category because it didn't fit into the "noble" category. In my mind, those were the only two possibilities.

    But that's just a very distorted view of life, because there are many choices in between -- paths which are not the utmost moral perfection, but which are STILL FORCES FOR GOOD IN THE WORLD. Giving people joy is good. It's not "ultimate perfection," but it's nonetheless good, and not evil. Would you bake someone you love cookies? I know I would. It's probably not best to base one's entire diet on cookies, but baking cookies for someone is still fundamentally loving and enriching to the world.

    Art is even better than baking someone cookies because the joy and emotional affect of art (even in something as "trivial" as a video game) can inspire someone for life. We can truly never predict the impact our art can have on one person. We can't know how the small and silly things we make help people through painful times, or inspire them to become artists themselves, or chase other dreams.

    Above all you have to step outside of this black-and-white moral view of the world, because it's similar to the mindset of puritanism and fundamentalism, and taken to its ultimate conclusion, leaves the world a very bleak place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    You want us to hold your dick while you piss as well?

    lol you guys and your "problems" never fail to crack me up.
    I'll be at the back of the line if anyone needs me. And yes, feel free to cut in. Wait, unless I can use vise grips? Then I'll be at the front.

    Edit: OK, joke fail due to gender misunderstanding.

    Without reading through any more of that than necessary (hard to get past the apologetic opening)...doing something you like IS doing something for the common good.

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    Hey Great Distance..

    I don't even know where to begin with your post, though I felt it was important to adress it.

    Your whole writing is based upon flawed assumptions. You assume that it is what we do as a profession that ultimately will decide what impact we have on the world, which isn't so. Look around and you'll see just as many people doing something good for the world OUTSIDE of their chosen profession. The accountant, or the mc donalds employee or the salesman etc. might do something completely different in his or her sparetime that benefits the 'greater good'.

    You also assume that you are responsible for what people chose to do with their own lives. Which you are not. To some extent we are responsible for what we create, but not for what people do with it. Leave people to their own problems and focus on yours. If some people get stuck in addictions to games it's about them and their un-adressed issues and not about you.

    I don't get it, why even say that playing games is a waste of time? for many people it's a relaxing way of socializing. Yes, games are social today, we do them together. We don't have to be stuck in our parents basements anymore. It unites a lot of people.

    If you enjoy drawing silly things, and you know you can make a living on it AND do what you love, what the hell are you waiting for? stop second-guessing yourself. We only have one life to live, it's our responsibility to fill it with meaningfull things. If you deep inside of you feel that you want to keep on drawing silly things, then do it. And if you can turn it into a living, then aim for that.

    You also seem to think a lot about what you can do personally for the good of the world. Well, for starters.. begin with REALIZING yourself. The GREATEST good you can do to this world is to become who you truly are. And that means taking responsibility for yourself and the choices you make. It also means identifying your needs and dreams and doing what you can to realize them. No one else can do that for you, nor should they.

    you write .. "Is it wrong to want to do something fun as a job even if it's something that isn't necessarily so good for people?"

    I don't know what makes you think like that. Have people in life been telling you what's good and what's not good? I get the feeling you're carrying a lot of other people's beliefs around with you.. let go of them. Find your own beliefs.
    We can't tell you what to do. Becoming a Landscape architect might be a strategic and good choice since you get a secure income and living, which in turn will become a base for you to keep on building your life about. Tons of people who have had art as their greatest passion have chosen to do something else and work with that while aiming to make a living out of art. Read around and you'll find people's stories.

    I skimmed through the thread and read some of your replies.. you asked for an example of what good you can do with drawing. Well.. who is to say? There are no limits.

    You can decide to create something beautiful that will give other people joy and meaning. You could create something that would inspire thousands of people to pursue their own dreams. You might be a part of a team that creates a game that changes the life of millions of people for the better? Where's the bad in that?

    I'm saying it again. It all comes down to what you WANT to do, and what you DECIDE TO DO with it. Not everyone want to make a change with their art. Some people could care less. But for those who really want change stuff and make the world better, there are ways. Chose to do what you love, and your way will find you.


    Edit, Lol, Jeffx99 said it.. doing something you like IS doing something for the common good. There are already enough people out there living miserable lives because they don't do what they like. Imagine how much of a better person you could become if you just did what you liked. Who knows, you might even inspire someone else to stop being miserable and start doing what they like. Win-win


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    I have to say, the OP took our posts on the chin. You have a real thick skin and that will help you a lot
    in your career choice.

    You are lucky to have so many opportunities. Just pick one and dive in feet first. Put yourself first and do what makes you happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Great Distance View Post
    But if I want to draw silly characters and work in, for example, the rising game industry in our country, that would mean I'm working on something that a lot of people waste a lot of time on. You know, games.
    As person who works on drawing silly characters in the rising game industry of this country so that people can waste time, thanks. Thanks a lot. And no, don't think that "oh it's okay if you're doing it, but heaven forbid for me to lower myself on working things that people can waste time on" comment makes that any less irritating.
    Though if you think that working on games is about just drawing silly characters, you really should think again. Don't assume things as easily, because you'd be likely to work on so many other things than drawing characters (hope you love GUI designing and drawing buttons!).

    Pretty much all else I could said has been said here, but...
    Maybe there are enough artists already.


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    Well, like I said, I meant no harm, and as other people have pointed out, perhaps I was wrong about it all being just a waste of time. Thanks for the helpful comments, guys!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Great Distance View Post
    Well, like I said, I meant no harm, and as other people have pointed out, perhaps I was wrong about it all being just a waste of time. Thanks for the helpful comments, guys!
    I don't think people think you meant harm (well maybe except for dpaint's first post). I think it's because you setup the question as a "Do I look fat in this dress" kind of scenario...

    As someone said you were coming from a flawed perspective, just as when ladies put their partners in a "no win" scenario (with that dress analogy).

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    Yeah, thanks to DeviledVisions for that, it was a really useful read.

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    You know, I wonder how much damage has been done by the idea that being happy and doing things you enjoy is somehow bad... I mean, this nonsense has been going on for centuries now, and I can't see that it's done anyone any good.

    Anyway, you know the old chestnut, "man does not live by bread alone"... Well, it's true. People also need entertaining stories and silly characters and pretty things. When you try to take all that away and leave nothing but "serious, important" things, people surreptitiously go on enjoying fun stories in whatever way they can. Because stories are necessary. Fun is necessary. There's a reason why the Great Depression was a prime time for silly, frothy fantastical movies and goofy comic strips. People needed that stuff to get through the bad times. And oh boy, do they need it now.

    Go make things you enjoy. Odds are someone else will enjoy them, too, and hey, you'll have made someone happy. Never a bad thing.

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    On the other hand, we do kids a disservice by insisting they "find their passion" and asserting that only the creative professions count. Result, way too many out-of-work art majors and not enough dentists.

    A lot of things are fun when you do them casually. Once you do something for a living, big parts of it become like any other job.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    These are all very good points. I guess I'll have to mull it over in my head, but I think I may just have what I need to decide. But just for now, I need to finish enough classes to keep my financial security, and take care of the things that are absolutely necessary.

    One thing I ought to mention. The thing about that exam that I barely studied for, because I was drawing instead, well... That's just when I decided I have to exercise my willpower, you know, to prove that even as an artist I can do the unfun parts of the job. But then I thought, hell, studying for this exam isn't getting me any closer to being an artist. Though I may apply, getting in still isn't guaranteed. So, for the exam, I just studied the bare minimum to keep my student benefit and then just drew.
    (And if I do decide landscape architecture is for me, I can retake the exam.)

    I've proved to myself before that I can do the less fun things if I must and I've got my head on straight, so I don't think that's a major concern right now.

    But right now, thanks to you guys, I've got a little bit more room in my head to make a decision I won't regret later. It's good to know all the sides of things before making a decision, because it's really terrible to make an important decision based on an assumption and then find out later you assumed wrong. That makes you regretful of the decision whether or not it was the right one. Being regretful, of course, makes you perform worse, and that's bad for you and everyone around you.

    If there's something more left to discuss, that's great! Keep it coming! But either way I think I might just be good to go. Thanks a lot for your advice, everyone! I really appreciate it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    On the other hand, we do kids a disservice by insisting they "find their passion" and asserting that only the creative professions count. Result, way too many out-of-work art majors and not enough dentists.

    A lot of things are fun when you do them casually. Once you do something for a living, big parts of it become like any other job.
    I think the problem there is that people mistake "passion" for "things I enjoy doing in my spare time", which is not the same thing at all... If something is REALLY your passion, you're probably going to make it the main focus of your life whether it's practical or not, or be completely miserable if you can't.

    The other problem, of course, is forcing kids to pick a major when they're seventeen or eighteen and don't yet know what they're really interested in. So they pick something they kind of enjoy sometimes, and discover they only kind of enjoy it sometimes and get sick of it when they have to do it all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    On the other hand, we do kids a disservice by insisting they "find their passion" and asserting that only the creative professions count. Result, way too many out-of-work art majors and not enough dentists.

    A lot of things are fun when you do them casually. Once you do something for a living, big parts of it become like any other job.
    I'm not sure about that. I know people who were passionate about teaching, doctor, surgery, law, politics, and science etc.. I've seen people plenty tell them to go for careers related in what they're passionate about.

    I know someone who was heavily into business but also had a passion in culinary arts and now he's an award making wine maker.

    I think it's seen far more often that people are discouraged to become artists because it's a spur of the moment thing and go for safe careers.

    What does happen often is people will applaud another person's creativity. That can far too often have consequences of a minor group/member seeing that Timmy can draw "oh you could work for Disney" or some other kind of off hand comment. I however, don't see that as the majority of comments (well unless Timmy is that damn good).

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    I'm guessing there are a hell of a lot more people who are sorry they racked up tens of thousands in debt for a useless Media Studies degree because they're passionate about watching TV but ended up working in Circuit City than there are people who opted for the safe career and were doomed to comfortable prosperity, early retirement, and only painting nights and weekends until then.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I'm guessing there are a hell of a lot more people who are sorry they racked up tens of thousands in debt for a useless Media Studies degree because they're passionate about watching TV but ended up working in Circuit City than there are people who opted for the safe career and were doomed to comfortable prosperity, early retirement, and only painting nights and weekends until then.
    Well, THAT'S the problem of not knowing what a job in media actually entails and thinking "wull, I like watchin' TV so I'll work in TV, herp derp..." That's just plain ol' stupidity.

    You think misguided art majors are a problem? We're about to experience a flood of misguided CSI majors who thought CSI would be a cool career because they saw it on TV. (My sister worked at a school recently where most of the kids were majoring in CSI for that very reason...) They'll soon learn that a real CSI career isn't anything like a TV show.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I'm guessing there are a hell of a lot more people who are sorry they racked up tens of thousands in debt for a useless Media Studies degree because they're passionate about watching TV but ended up working in Circuit City than there are people who opted for the safe career and were doomed to comfortable prosperity, early retirement, and only painting nights and weekends until then.
    There are quite a lot of people in debt with unfinished medical degrees where they couldn't take it and dropped out. Hell some swapped careers when they found out they weren't gonna live like Bill Cosby and getting jilted by insurance companies.

    But if you want passion for Dentistry...



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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I'm guessing there are a hell of a lot more people who are sorry they racked up tens of thousands in debt for a useless Media Studies degree because they're passionate about watching TV but ended up working in Circuit City than there are people who opted for the safe career and were doomed to comfortable prosperity, early retirement, and only painting nights and weekends until then.
    Thing is, most careers that offer comfortable prosperity also require being on top of your game at all times, updating your skills and getting new ones, and staying up on the industry news. With a deadline approaching might not very well have time to draw nights, or weekends. Or that's the image I'm getting from landscape architecture anyway. Pretty much the same for my journalist sister. So I assume that applies to most careers. If shit doesn't get done in time, it gets done in overtime (I mean after regular working hours). Deadlines, deadlines.

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