For the past six months I have been working on a secret-squirrel project with a team of passionate and talented people. We’re all from different agencies, from different cultural backgrounds, are an almost equal balance of male to female and range in both age and professional experience. Despite our differences, we work wonderfully together because we all value collaboration and are, most importantly, brilliant to one another.
Just today we held one of our almost-monthly GSD (Get Shit Done) meetings. Today is a Sunday. That means that we all took time out of our own weekend schedule (hangovers present) to spend almost an entire working day nutting out the less-than-glamourous side to our secret project. A secret project that largely has to do with the work we do day-in and day-out. No one held us down and forced us to be there but we were there and I think that, in itself, is just so great. I don’t know of many other industries where this level of commitment is ‘normal’ and enjoyed so thoroughly and genuinely. We’re so lucky to be a part of something like this.
Besides working on my own individual side projects, this is my first collaborative side project within the web industry. It has been so nice working with such an autonomous team for the majority of the year. I’ve learnt so much and after every get together I leave feeling motivated and energised. I believe this comes down to two things:
In an earlier post, I gushed about working with the wonderful team at Humaan. This keeps me energised during the 9-5 day. It definitely carries on into my ‘me’ time, but working with a new set of people on a passion project extends and accelerates that energy I gain from working with a great team at work, into the rest of my life. By working with great people, respect is shared, everyone’s ideas are considered and while you make some really good friends along the way, you also make really good things.
Everyone always tells you to work on side projects as a way of fostering your creative urges that you cannot otherwise fulfil under the direction of clients and managers. This is easy to do however there’s something inherently different and more fulfilling about working on a side project with other people. Personally, I have dozens of side projects on the go that are only partially complete or maintained. The initial excitement is always there but it’s always hard to keep the gears moving when there is no one to bounce off of and share that excitement with. Working with other people, who are just as excited as you, takes the idea of a side project to another level. Humans are social creatures by nature so it only makes sense that working in a team could heighten the experience of working on a side project.
Edit: I can reveal! The project is now out in the wild! Coming Spring, 2016 is a new Australian web conference called MixinConf.
For a lot of us, we're lucky that our passions are our jobs and we're fortunate that the 'job' doesn't dampen those passions. We have a community of teachers, learners, doers and makers who are all enthusiastic and willing to share and collaborate. Bringing all of these aspects together in the form of a collaborative side project is a sure-fire way to enhance your experience, day-to-day, as a person working within the web industry.