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What Am I Doing? (September 2009)


Near the end of August, one of my good designer friends from college contacted me about a contract job in the Visual/Signage Team at her workplace at a Pottery Barn corporate office. Not only was it great to see her again, but it was also refreshing to be in a working environment that is different from the one that I have been in.

Without getting too much into the details, I’ll just say that the job is to put together a seasonal guide book for internal use, and it allows the opportunity for me to be asked back and work for future seasons. They also had a bunch of little tasks that need an extra hand with, so I helped the team out with those, too.

So essentially, I’m a temp, but in this economic climate, I don’t mind that at all.

But whenever I use the word “temp” in this context, I think of Ryan the Temp from NBC’s The Office, even though I never really knew what his tasks were before he got promoted to corporate.

Being a temp is a bit strange in that you’re not really part of the team, but you’re there working on stuff for them. I don’t have much experience with being a temp, so I don’t know what the relationship with the team should be.

Fortunately, the people I work with are very nice, and they seemed to know exactly what they need to do, and they do it well and work together effectively. Even though they are very professional and take their work seriously, everyone is also very easy-going and is often able to answer any questions and address concerns that a temp may have.

Contract/Freelance Job 2

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, another good designer friend of mine Alan Wells, who worked on the EcoFinder iPhone app, contacted me about a contract job for the company he works at, Zynga, which creates interactive online games, including MafiaWars and FarmVille.

The contract job is basically a UI/UX project, but I actually haven’t even started working on it yet, so I can’t say much about it. But after meeting with one of the people working on the project and looking at the work that’s done so far, I’m excited to start working on it, partially because it’s something that I haven’t exactly done before, and I am whole-heartedly grateful for this opportunity. Hopefully in the near future, when I’m done with this project, I get to talk more about it.

My visit to Zynga’s office this week made me notice how different it is from the work environment at Pottery Barn. The office layouts are different, the types of people seem different, and their dress codes are definitely different. It’s not necessarily surprising, considering the nature of the companies. It’s just interesting to see how a company culture really reflects and determines the type of work that the company does.


All this not-working-from-home gives me a glance at commute life. I’m sure most working people are aware of the typical feelings about commuting, especially since the word “commute” already has a negative connotation.

While some aspects of commuting are dreaded, others are okay. I have learned to enjoy urban life again as I get to see people going about their day in the city. I also get to get some exercise as I take my daily fifteen-minute walk from the BART (subway) station to the office and back.

Some people (or some age groups) prefer the suburban life where they rarely see people on the streets. To me, it feels like that neighborhood is diseased or something, and the emptiness feels… empty. The city, on the other hand, is full of that busy-ness and life, which I currently love, as it brings me back to my childhood neighborhood. Maybe it’s because I’ve only commuted for a few weeks and have not grown tired of it, but I like the city, that’s for sure.

The Site

Quick note on the website. If you haven’t noticed, the About section is live. One of my friends actually sent me a message using the form on the page, and it’s cool to see that work and not just in testing!

So now all the sections are live, but I’ve planned for a few redesigns to incorporate what I’ve learned throughout this process, especially jQuery. I’ll still try to make it browser-, speed-, and mobile-friendly. So bear with me.


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