Ryan is All Mixed Up - Ryan KeoughSo, while I am waiting for a batch of files to upload to my webserver, I happened to “Google” myself just for kicks (yes, we all do it from time to time!) and happened across my little ol’ blog here and noticed that it hasn’t seen much activity in months! Since I recently reclaimed my official domain name “ryankeough.com” from the clutches of an old hosting account I bought long ago on Yahoo! (way back in 1997) and redirected it to my own server on WebsiteSource.com (tell them Ryan Keough with the radial-group.com account sent ya!), I have been meaning to redesign that old website and develop it into my new blog / personal site with WordPress.

But in an ironic turn that would only happen to me, I haven’t been able to find the time to do so BECAUSE of WordPress… or rather the fact that I have been working on two web properties for Cutter Aviation (one being the company website) using WordPress as a CMS (and a pretty heavy implementation of the Pods CMS add-on package within it, which has been an eyeopener) and around a half dozen contract web projects using WordPress that I have been dreadfully falling farther and farther behind on because my learning curve in web development has started arching the other way. At one time, I was top-of-game and making pretty and slim websites with ease… html with some graphics and a little basic CSS and, voila! But now, I am a dinosaur, roaming the web without a toolbox of knowledge on PHP, CSS, MySQL, JavaScript, and the ever-present challenge of creating hacks to make each look and act right on Internet Explorer. I experimented with reverse engineering WordPress themes and could do well enough there… but anything custom has been a killer. Well… I guess I hit the Perfect Storm because everything I have been struggling with IS custom. But instead of capsizing and taking George Clooney down to the briny deep with me, I have been slowly damaging myself with longer and longer workdays, no weekends off, and now… with the exception of this brief spell to post this… no holidays off until everything is done. And once it is, then my stress will return to a naturally mild panic level as it always has been… well, at least it has been since eighth grade math class with Mr. Zentz — I never recovered from the PTSD of those days (Post Trigonometry Stress Disorder).

And I’ve decided that after all the side jobs are done, I am closing up shop and not going to do any more contract work on the side. The money may help make ends meet, but it really hasn’t been worth it when I look at my health and happiness… there are far smarter and more fun ways to grow financially and personally (and no, that ISN’T an open invitation to anyone who wants to pitch a MLM, Get Rich Quick, yada yada scheme on me too… I already have ideas and it doesn’t involve that kind of stuff).

If I do websites, they will be for me alone and my own enjoyment… and of course, I will be working on maintaining or growing sites that are part of my job at Cutter Aviation… though I admit that I will probably be relying more and more on knowledgeable, talented and punctual professional freelance developers (like the amazing Selene M. Bowlby of idesignstudios.com who literally saved me from checking in at the local insane asylum by assisting me with the Cutter project) to get those web development goals accomplished.

I guess, in the end, I find more enjoyment out of creativity (which is one part of design) and communication (social and professional) and will be focusing more on how those two pieces can help me become a more strategic thinker and planner. I’d like to, for once, plan out campaigns for marketing channels and manage the process of implementing campaigns within each — the leader overseeing all the steps in the process from a higher level. Unfortunately it has taken me a long time to realize that the talents that have been the “differentiators” in my career — the fact that I could plan, write, design, produce, and monitor all by myself — were actually doing myself and my clients / employers a disservice. No one can do all those things and do all of them well enough to actually be that “golden employee” — at least, not for their entire career. Eventually a project will get dropped, a deadline will be missed, or an entire campaign gets ruined because one step in the critical path was skipped. And once that happens, either the employer loses trust in the “golden employee” and/or the “golden employee” cracks under the pressure to be perfect and goes into a literal motivational nosedive… losing incremental amounts of confidence in his or her talent with each thousand feet they fall. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot of my peers out there that are either there already or are headed that way. With social media and information overload, the pressure to produce is at an all time high. With tightening budgets and deadlines so “sales can meet quota before the end of the quarter” the time available to plan and test strategies is at an all time low and in many cases, you are understaffed to begin with. Then there is the ever-present pressure of the rockstars of the social media, marketing, and communications world… and the fact that you can’t show weakness because they never seem to! Their Tweets are timely and topical and you set your standards way too high because of it. I think that my generation is headed for another perfect storm… the mid-life crisis monsoon of Generation Y.

Sorry about that last bit… I guess this was more of a rant than I expected it to be! Oh well… ’til next time everyone!

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One Response to It’s been a while now hasn’t it…

  1. Cheryl braun says:

    Hi Ryan. My husband and I just met a neat 84 year old Warbird Jack Keough in Lorain Ohio at the Red Roof Inn while on our way to Oshkosh. Are you related? We enjoyed his good spirit and inspiring attitude.
    Cheryl & Tim Braun

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