Julie Ng

Running on Passion

2 min

Last week Thursday Refresh Munich held a “Running on Passion” event where two developers showed how passion comes through in their work, as a music producer and as a hobby game developer. It was that same passion that brought my Refresh co-founders Elias, Sebastian, Dana and I together in 2011. Designer and developer were neither roles nor job titles to us. It was passion.

@niorad on stage at Refresh Munich

Six years later, we’ve successfully organized two UX Munich conferences, held 50+ Stammtische (German meetups with beer) and more. Dana and Sebastian have co-founded their own consulting company and startup. Elias works as a music producer as well as a software engineer. In a nutshell, my co-founders are still self-employed and very much a part of the startup community.

And me? I’m working for the corporation.

Passion != Job

I showed up at the Refresh Event disorganized and stressed. Most of the Refresh regulars are friends. They asked me: are you sure getting a job was the right decision? Are you’re happy? I looked tired. I am tired. Am I happy? I have to refer to the Oatmeal’s comic on how to be perfectly unhappy and answer no. As he wrote:

I'm busy. I'm interested. I'm fascinated. I do things that are meaningful to me even if they don't make me "happy".

— The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal’s creator Matthew Inman runs until his toenails fall off. I’ve done that too. I also climb until my hands bleed. I write code until my wrists hurt.

Passion is Meaningful Work

A colleague asked me the same question today. Reality check!

I’ve known the answer since last Thursday. I need to spend less time in emails, meetings, on the phone and code more. IT transformation is both fascinating and challenging, keeping me busy. But it’s not meaningful to me - not yet anyway. It’ll take a few more years. It’s started. Mindsets are starting to change. But change is slow going and not tangible.

I find meaning in writing code, making things, breaking things and solving problems. And that’s the luxury of being at a large company. We have so many problems to choose from.

Currently I am working on helping teams integrate continuous integration and delivery into their workflows. I’m giving a talk at MunichJS in 3 days on the topic. I’ve been busy single handedly organizing all the logistics including budgeting for hosting the event.

Now, at 9:30pm, it’s time to stop emails and organizing and do what really drives me - buliding things and fixing problems with code.

And have fun

P.S. I also have fun. That’s why I build drag and drop interfaces that eat your files…

Come to MunichJS on Thursday and meet that creature and learn about how CI/CD is required to create sophisticated microservice architectures.