Lesson #13: Always have a side project.
—Gene Lu, Class of 2011
In the workplace, projects get delayed, deadlines missed, and for the most part, your ideas don’t see the light of day. Eventually, burnout rears its ugly head. You become unmotivated. You develop tunnel vision. You may even forgo doing your hair in the morning before heading into work. Fortunately, there’s a remedy to all of this—side projects.
Side projects that are independent of your clients, but still fall in the same vein of what you do at work, afford room for you to learn, explore, and quickly play out the ideas that you’ve been sitting on during those endless 9AM work meetings. Side projects recapture the spirit of grad school while also helping us gain insight and relate it back to the work that we do in our professional lives.
It’s also important that you stay passionate about your side projects. One day, your side project might get bought out for millions. If not, you could even end up in the local newspaper.
Gene Lu is a Senior Experience Designer at R/GA, New York City, NY, USA.