If Only I Could Code...

If you had asked me ten years ago what my passion was or what I did for a living — I would have instantly responded with "Design!". I had this engraved in my brain since childhood, and I never had a reason to change my goals in becoming a professional, full-time designer. And I did just that as soon as I was given the opportunity.

Now, if you had asked me the same question two years ago, I would've spouted nearly the same thing, just with a narrowed scope and a lot more passion: "User Interface Design!!!". This was my dream, this was exactly what I wanted to do. I was focused, driven, determined. I knew my role, and I killed it. I worked hard because I wanted to — I wanted to better not only myself, but better my company's product at the same time.

Act I: The Passion of the Code

After designing for the same internal critique committee for almost three years, I decided that it would be in my best interest (mentally) to be challenged in a completely different field—iOS development. I get it! It's such a drastic change from my childhood dreams. I really felt I had no other choice, though. The times were changing, the company was growing, and things tend to get shaken up fairly quickly.

Believe me, I understand that a growing company can bring about some major changes—I accepted that, and I was (and still am) willing to sacrifice most of my perks for the betterment of our team. But there was no preparation for this one—no amount of warning could have helped me resolve the outcome of this trade-off. My dream became a job, and that job had a role. And if there was any deviation from that role, a Stakeholder would not be happy with the surprise. No matter how beneficial.

I lost my passion, my effort, my flame, all because toes didn't want to be stepped on.

So I started to learn the Objective-C language and the frameworks that support our beloved iPhone apps. This overwhelmed me with that new bike feeling you had when you were a kid. I had new toys to play with! Things were exciting again. And in that first year, I went on to develop my first three iOS apps—two for the company, and one as a personal side project. I loved every second of it, the ups, the downs, the non-stop challenges that awaited.

I was stepping out of my element, and doing a fairly good job at it! It was a good feeling to have constantly every morning. That same feeling I had every morning when I began sketching new comps for clients. That feeling every artist can understand — we've all felt this at least once in our lives. This was the reincarnation.

Act II: Post-Boredom Depression

I have escaped the event horizon of my professional black hole. Or so I thought. Once those moments of creating productive code and creating applications that were fully functioning wore off, I had resorted back to design as my outlet. This way, no matter what, I would have something to give me that edge I so desperately needed.

In a little over six years, my email signature would include:

Paris Xavier Pinkney, Graphic Designer | Creative Designer | Product Designer | UI Designer | Web Designer | Marketing Designer | Front End Web Developer | Copywriter | Design Lead | iOS Developer

Note: Current position in bold.

With hopes to add a few more to the list in a ten-year span:

Paris Xavier Pinkney, Full Stack Developer | Prototype Engineer | Chief Design Officer | Founder

Note: Main motivating factors in bold.

Act III: Passion Resurrected

In this time, I've realized what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to help people I have never met before. I want to give people an opportunity to do what they never could have imagined. I want to build something for a cause — a true cause; for the greater good.

I want to better myself by helping those around me discover what they were too afraid to do. I want to grow, I want to learn. I want to take hold of my creative freedom and utilize it to the fullest. I want to shut my computer off knowing I may have saved a life or two — or sent a child to college. I need a purpose in my work, not for a common goal of investors or advisors, but for humanity.

This is what I'd be passionate about...


...if only I could code.