Can a Job Be Fun?

Photo by Jopwell on Pexels.com

The answer to my question should be Yes, but it’s often No. I spent my adult life teaching in grades 7 through graduate students. Some days were fun and overall I enjoyed my four decades in classrooms. But some days were not fun. My wife also taught and we agreed that some days we had gone to school and some days we had gone to work – the latter being the less-fun days.

What’s the often heard quote usually credited to Mark Twain? “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Excellent advice, but like much good advice, not so easy to follow.

Since I retired from full-time work, I have been in what I call unretirement. (read about that here). That was about 6 years ago. I can’t pin down an actual date. It was a process.

Occasionally, I receive queries from other bloggers or websites who want me to use one of their posts on my blogs or include a link to them in a post. Sometimes it is just an attempt to get their link out there. Sometimes they offer payment to include their content. I ignore both of those. Sometimes they point me to resources and it catches my attention. That was the case with a recent email.

Tiffany from SixtyandMe emailed me to suggest a resource to add to my post about learning to unretire. his page. The resource is a page on that site about 9 fun part-time jobs for retirees that anyone can do.

My own definition of being unretired is taking on “jobs” that match my interests, time availability, and would be enjoyable. Getting paid is not the deciding factor.

I do some volunteer work that gets me into nature, has me involved in a poetry foundation, gets me to work at a film festival, and puts me in a food pantry and kitchen for people who need such things. Those are all non-profits and no pay – at least no payment in money. I also still do some work in web design for pay, but only web work for people that I support and enjoy doing.

Looking at that article of 9 fun jobs, I realize I am already doing several of them. Some of those jobs could pay you, but almost every paid job can be a volunteer job too. My last full-time and also part-time positions were both in instructional design. Those were paid positions and they paid well, but you can find on sites like LinkedIn opportunities to do that work as an unpaid volunteer for non-profits.

It is certainly a luxury that I can pick and choose what I do now and whether I will do it for pay. Not everyone has that luxury available to them, but I would recommend everyone consider doing some volunteer work at something they really enjoy. It’s good for the heart and soul.

Careers in User Experience Design

Unless you work in UX or in automotive design, you might not think about the user experience inside your car. I recently wrote about automotive UX, but really most products, if not all products, have UX factors. That is why the job prospects for a career as a UX (user experience) designer look very good.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for Web Developers and Digital Interface Designers is $77,200. (Though of course, this can vary by level of experience and geographic location.) Unsurprisingly, this is a field that is expected to grow significantly in our digital-centric world. Demand for UX designers is expected to grow by at least 8% by 2029.

What is UX and what does a UX designer do?

Any time you interact with a product, a website, or app, that’s the user experience. 

If you go into a store and walk around unable to find what you want, that is a poor user experience. Are there signs to get you where you want to go? That’s navigation, not unlike the menu on a website or signage on a highway or in a theme park. 

The crossovers are many. Are you stuck waiting around just to check out at Walmart? What about checking out on walmart.com? Different tools but still UX.

A UX designer makes sure the product is straightforward to use, and that it’s a seamless experience for the consumer. But isn’t that what a web designer does? On a small site or for a small company, the two jobs might be combined, but they are separate jobs these days. 

The web designer builds the skeleton and skin of the site. The UX designer optimizes how the site functions, and the flow of the user experience. They absolutely should be working together. 

The UX designer also is involved in marketing, and often with other teams, clients, and customers.

Tasks might include:

  • Analyzing marketing data about customers.
  • Conducting surveys, focus groups, or other research to see how people use the site/app, and what they think.
  • Testing the UX in real time as a customer
  • Information architecture (maps or other organizational graphics) that shows how the site is laid out, and how the user moves through it.

People enter the field via a number of paths. Now, there are college courses and degrees in UX or software development or graphic design but the skills needed include not only computer skills, but data analysis, project management, and UX-design-specific training. Communication skills are also a major asset, given how much time UX designers spend collaborating with others. Non-degree devoted to UX design as online boot camps, training programs, and certification programs can teach the skills necessary to become a UX designer if a job does not require a degree.

Have you seen this very simple kind of UX survey somewhere?
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay