As Brad mentioned in his introduction to this months theme: fear is an emotion we must face daily. Deadlines, workloads, project managers, tedious tasks, and especially cuttings footsteps are all points of emotional friction dealt with by many of us to some degree or another. There is also a more intangible yet just as insidious form of fear we have more control of: the fear of the unknown.
A great piece of advice I got at the start of one big project was to not worry so much about the looming workload and deadlines; as it was never as bad as my mind was expecting it to be. That is not to say there isn’t the possibility of it being worse, and certainly people have gone through hell. But the advice has panned out pretty well so far. The assumed death marches were not quite as marchy as I thought (was still shitty, but thats a topic for another Sunday Sound Thought).
Workloads and deadlines are things typically out of our control. The fear that I really worry about and we can control is the fear that keeps us from growing, the fear of the unknown and the fear of taking the time to know it. Conscious or subconscious there can be a tendency for a mentality of: “well I know everything there is to know about the job, so I don’t need to learn anything new”. This can happen with old or young age, or personality, or success or a triple-threat if you’re really unlucky.
Working in tech-focused media means that stagnation is professional death. Not taking the time to fully understand how a new tool you use works because “I’ve done this before, I know what I’m doing” or “the way I did it before worked fine so whatever” could have a chance to backfire. I myself am finding out stuff about Wwise functionality on a new project I wish I would have taken the time to dig into and understand better on a previous project. It would have made my life a bit easier, but now I can take that knowledge and make the next thing that much better.
The fear of not learning a new thing may not be malicious. “I already know X , I don’t want to waste time on Y”. It could be “what I know about Y leads me to believe it is inferior to X”. I want to try to build time into iteration and learning when possible, because Y might be the only way in a few years and if your resume only says X, you career might start seeing a bunch of Z’s. Or in a more basic sense: Y just might be way cooler.
I try to be mindful of any prejudice I might have about something I don’t know fully. Be it software (we all like to hate on Fruity Loops, but people are making good stuff with it), or age (I have been schooled in technical things by those older and younger than me just this past week).
I’m not saying anything new or profound. A tl;dr might be “it’s worth taking the time to listen because what is being said is probably different than what you assumed” or it might be “Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know everything”. Let’s go with the second since it mentioned fear and I want to tie it into my dope Dune reference.*
“As has come before; many of these posts will be philosophical in nature. Some will be in contradiction to previous postings. These are not intended as truths or assertions, they’re merely thoughts…ideas. Think of this as stream of consciousness over a wide span…Please bear with us as we traverse the abstract canals of audio musings.” -Designing Sound
*Or is it a Rez reference?