Constantly incomplete

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This website has been being rewritten yet again—just so I keep myself going. Nobody’s looking but I’m still doing it. It’s not complete and will likely remain incomplete, and that’s fine. Although I’m not happy with it nobody will notice anyways, and that’s fine too.

Always full of old work samples on old technologies. The shiniest newest thing I’m working on, it’s never there.

I design and make things for a living, and continue working to get incrementally better with my skills. It’s been over 20 years since I first built a clumsy website, and I have written countless lines of code along the way both professionally and personally. I guess—I hope—I’ve been getting better at my trade, but unfortunately it’s not always reflected on my personal website which is supposedly a showcase of professional skills and achievements.

Throughout my career, the portfolio website has always been full of old work samples and built with somewhat old technologies. Showing what’s the latest as of a few years earlier, never now. Whatever the shiniest newest thing I’m working on, it’s never there.

The cycle goes like this.

  1. Decide to relaunch the site.
  2. Agonize over design details.
  3. Mull over what tech stack to use.
  4. Somehow get the code to a half-baked state.
  5. Collect some old design portfolio pieces.
  6. Get busy at work, and abandon all personal projects.
  7. A few years pass. Hate the site. Start the cycle again.

An ambition that never actualizes

Each time the cycle begins, the intention is typically the same: show off the latest tech, the most current design taste, and the most sophisticated typographic elegance. Then nothing feels good enough. I cannot meet my own standards and I start to feel like an imposter. What started out as an exciting new project quickly becomes a paralyzing, depressing chore.

Oh wait, how do I make them more presentable?

"Fine," the inner critic eventually gives in. He goes "Forget about the fancy layout. Just show more design samples and call it a day." Seems reasonable. There are plenty of indd, psd, sketch, figma files, internal and external pitch decks in pdf and pptx, a long list of Zeplin and InVision links, and a sh!t ton of code repos all over the place. Oh wait, how do I make them more presentable and understandable?

Then there’s the constant change. Tech tooling changes. Languages and frameworks change. Design trend changes. Heck, me as a person changes. It takes time to prepare for presentation and there’s never enough time. When I finally make some time, things have already changed. The perfect snapshot of the most up-to-date representation of my professional self will never present itself—not for the long-term anyways. I finally accept that. I’m not the prolific genius who keep delivering incredible results and maintains the sharpest portfolio. And you know what? I’m fine with that.

I am still here

Despite the imperfections and mediocrity of past portfolios I’ve somehow managed to stay relevant in the industry. Maybe the work-in-progress sites haven’t been too bad after all. Perhaps I was too harsh on myself. Or perhaps people aren’t as critical when judging designers as I’d expected. In any case, I’m still here, and I’m grateful for that.

So, as of August 2021, I’m releasing another incomplete round of edits for my website. The design samples are very old, but the code around is somewhat fresher. If I don’t release this incomplete update now, it may never go out. I will make sure to replace with newer ones soon, although I can’t know how soon.

"Imperfect something" trumps "perfect nothing" any day. Or so my excuse goes.

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© 2023 by Bumhan Yu