Episode Number 35

Pursuing Your Passion Practically with Beth Dean

Jan 15, 2015 @ 11AM MT

“Follow your passion” is great advice, but it neglects certain realities … like paying the bills. Illustrator and Facebook Product Designer Beth Dean joins the show to share her experiences following her passions practically. We talk about passion in what you do for a living vs. passions that don’t pay the bills. Beth details the importance of time management for ensuring balance between passion and practical responsibilities. We also discuss the role of self-reflection in finding and sustaining passion. And we introduce a brand new set of our rapidfire 10 questions!

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interviews
beth dean
passion
career satisfaction
expectations
community
self reflection
quality of life
time management

Episode Transcript

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[Music]

Lea Alcantara:  You’re listening to CTRL+CLICK CAST.  We inspect the web for you!  We’re kicking off 2015 with a discussion about pursuing your passion practically with special guest, Beth Dean.  I’m your host, Lea Alcantara, and I’m joined by my fab co-host:

Emily Lewis:  Emily Lewis! 

Lea Alcantara:  This episode is brought to you by Visual Chefs, a versatile web development agency with expertise in content management system and custom web application development.  Through partnerships with the designers, agencies and organizations, Visual Chefs propels the web forward.  Visit visualchefs.com to find out more.

Emily Lewis:  Happy New Year, Lea!

Lea Alcantara:  Happy New Year, Emily!

Emily Lewis:  I have to tell you, I really loved our break off.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  But I’m excited to be talking to Beth today.  Before we dive into today’s episode though, I did want to let our listeners know that we’ve added a donate link to our site.  So if you love CTRL+CLICK and have a little spending money, consider donating to help us keep the show going. A dollar, five dollars, whatever you can spare will help us continue to deliver great content, high quality audio and transcripts for each and every episode. 

Now, back to the business at hand. Today we are so excited to have our friend, Beth Dean, on the show.  Beth is a product designer at Facebook and is passionate about finding the balance between business and user goals to create exceptional user experiences.  Another of Beth’s passions is illustration.  She draws comics, posters, prints and apparel.  In fact, right now I’m looking at my very own Beth Dean print, which hangs in my office.  Welcome to the show, Beth!

Beth Dean:  Hi ladies.  You sound so professional and radio-like.  It’s not at all like when drink together.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  We try.  We try.  We have our radio voice. 

Beth Dean:  I need to work on that. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs] So Beth, can you tell our listeners a bit more about yourself? 

Beth Dean:  Yeah.  I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator. I always thought I’d wind up an animator, a comic illustrator.  When I was in college, it didn’t seem super practical with mounting student loans.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  So I wound up pursuing a career on the web, which I grew to love equally as much. But within the last like five years or so, I’ve really been getting back to my roots and spending more time with illustration.  When I’m not trapped at a desk, I’m usually outside hiking or doing stuff with my dogs or eating a lot of pizza.

Lea Alcantara:  Lovely.

Emily Lewis:  Though — I’ve been paying attention a bit on Facebook — the hiking thing is kind of new for you? 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, within like the last year and a half or so, I really started getting outside more.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I was never much of an outdoorsy person when I used to live in Ohio.  I think because the weather is either like extremely hot or extremely cold or if it’s in the middle there are a lot of bugs that will devour you.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  The Bay doesn’t have any of that. And they’re just like sweeping incredible views everywhere and you can drive basically an hour in any direction and be in like amazing, beautiful wilderness.

Lea Alcantara:  Sweet.  That sounds like a good transition point to talking about passions and doing things you like, but before we dive into the nitty-gritty of that, let’s talk about what does even passion mean to you. 

Beth Dean:  Geez.  [Laughs]  It’s such an ambiguous thing. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I mean, it’s really personal, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Beth Dean:  But for me, I guess it means what is the thing that I’ve always just felt this sort of nagging voice in my head to do. And beyond that, just what is the thing that I feel compelled to do that is also pretty satisfying.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Beth Dean:  Like there’s a voice in your head that tells you to do dishes, and that’s not your passion. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  But…

Lea Alcantara:  What a passion.  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  I’ve always felt, I mean, maybe I’m passionate about cleaning house, but I don’t think so or I’d spend all of my time cleaning.  But I’ve always really loved the drawing and I don’t do it often enough, but I feel very fulfilled by it. And some people do feel fulfilled by their jobs.  Sometimes their job gives them enough creative outlet to do that.  I think, I don’t know, for some people passion isn’t a creative pursuit.  It’s something else.  Some people are just really, really into video games and that’s cool too.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  For me it’s about doing something that is creatively fulfilling, and I feel good about both the process and the end result, which is not to say it’s always about the end.  Sometimes it’s just about the journey, but I guess that’s where it’s always been for me.

Emily Lewis:  What about you, Lea, what does passion mean to you?

Lea Alcantara:  I think Beth actually summarized it pretty well, but generally speaking, it’s something that for me I feel like it’s a chicken and egg situation because it’s something that I really enjoy doing and I’m also good at. And sometimes one starts before the other.  For example, when I was a kid, I’ve always loved art and drawing and all that fun stuff too. And as most people who know me, I love singing as well, and I’m kind of good at both. [Laughs] And I feel like one feeds off the other in some ways. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  Do you think you got good at it, though, because you love it?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  Like everybody starts from somewhere, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Beth Dean:  Like the first time I picked up a crayon, I was probably drawing garbage, but…

Lea Alcantara:  Of course, yeah.  You know what, I feel like there’s always like that first spark of interest and maybe not being aware that you’re bad at it, you’re just like doing it. 

Beth Dean:  [Laughs] Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  And then when you see progress … it’s almost like fitness, as well.  As in like you might really suck at this exercising, you’re out of breath and you’re sore the next day, but you keep doing it and you’re like, “Oh, I can do this on a regular basis and I’m getting better.”

Emily Lewis:  Well, that’s a good sort of segue way to this next question I have.  So Beth, do you think passion comes to you, or you have to go find it?

Beth Dean:  I think it depends.  I’m probably going to say “it depends” to every single one of your questions. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  In the past, it always sort of comes to me as that nagging voice that’s like you spent all day working on something for someone else, you draw something and feel fulfilled. But there are times too where you’re kind in a creative rut and it doesn’t come to you.  There had been times where I’ve been working on a book and I tell myself, “You need to draw.  You don’t feel like it, but draw for 20 minutes and if you feel like drawing more, great.  If not, you do it for at least 20 minutes.”  Then, usually, like that’s how I get over the hump.  Twenty turns into two hours, but passion certainly didn’t come to me, it was really more of me saying, “This is my job to do this thing.”

Lea Alcantara:  Do you think pursuing a different passion can reignite another passion? Like let’s say after you’ve done like an hour of a hike, suddenly you’re like, “I’m going to draw now.” 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, I haven’t experienced quite the literal like hiking-leading-to-drawing thing, but I also play music and sometimes it’s just doing something creative that has maybe less pressure than my other outlet is pretty good too. Like I found music can be a really good warm-up for me because I’m not going to record anything.  There is no pressure for me to share whatever I’m making.  I’m just playing with the guitar and sometimes that’s the energy I need to go do something else.  Sometimes too, it’s just about feeding my soul a little bit. So if I feel like I’ve got away from the computer for a while and I’ve had a really good hike, I can kind of settle in to things at home and not feel so restless about getting back to a desk.

Emily Lewis:  So I think one thing that would help this conversation is to talk about, is passion like a singular thing in your life, or do you have many different passions?  Can you have more than one, like the true definition of passion as it is to you?

Beth Dean:  Oh, I think absolutely you can have more than one.  I mean, maybe you don’t love all of them equally, but look how many people are writers and musicians and artists. Like when you think about somebody like Patti Smith.  She’s a great at all of those things and passionate about them, but kind of comes and goes and dabbles. Like for her I think it’s probably a spectrum, and I feel that way for me too. Like I go in and out with playing music.  Sometimes I won’t touch a guitar for years and then I play all the time and then I don’t touch it again, but it’s still a passion of mine. 

It’s only been recently that I’ve been discovering some non-creative passions like getting outside and going hiking.  Now, that’s been pretty different for me because the hike is really all about the journey.  I mean, maybe if you’re climbing a mountain, it’s a little bit different … but then it’s about the end result. But that’s been pretty nice for me, and I think as my passion has changed over the years and my expectations from it, I’ve needed other things too.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I was thinking of this in relation to myself.  I’m trying to think what is my passion, and the reality for me, and this really just makes me seem like such a boring person, but I’m really passionate about my work.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  Like what I do for a living is what I’m passionate about.  There is not really much else in my life, like I like exercising.  I like going on hikes.  I like traveling. But I don’t feel compelled to do it.  I don’t feel deep satisfaction from it.  So for me, it’s kind of like my work or like my professional skills, and there are sort of like little areas within that that I’m more passionate about than others. Like I really care about sharing what I know. Like that’s something really important to me.  Then I really get excited about building a great experience, but then the project management stuff, I’m not so passionate about it.  So I was wondering like when you were talking to like Patti Smith, I wonder if there’s like … the passion is like an umbrella and then there are different things under it that you give more focus to at different times?

Beth Dean:  Oh, absolutely, and there’s a push and a pull too, because sometimes there’s the functional things you have to do to be able to pursue your passion. Like if it’s working on your own business, doing the books while also doing the work that you enjoy, which in your case I think makes you not boring, but lucky.  [Laughs]  Your passion is what you do for a living.  Not everyone is that fortunate.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  But yeah, I think it’s just this really broad spectrum and at any point in your life, you’re at different points in that spectrum, maybe even at different points in a single day.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.  So it sounds like we’ve got so many different types of passions, and life gets in the way sometimes.  For me I feel like when you deal with that, there might be a conflict.  What does pursuing a passion practically mean to you then?

Timestamp:  00:09:48

Beth Dean:  I think it’s about time, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Time?

Beth Dean:  Like everybody has busy lives.  Some people have much busier lives than I do with kids and families.  All I have to do is walk my dogs when I get home.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  They’re very demanding though. But for me it’s making time to do the things I care about, and whether that was treating making comics like a job and actually scheduling time on my calendar to draw every night for like three hours and planning what I was going to draw each of those days, or just making sure that I have like a hiking buddy to go hiking with every weekend.  Like it’s all about taking the time to do the thing that is important to you whatever that is.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  Because you’re never going to get more than 24 hours in a day, and there’s never going to be a good time.  You’ll always just kind of wait until like “Oh, maybe the inspiration will strike,” but it doesn’t. 

Lea Alcantara:  So the hurry up and wait isn’t really the strategy.  It’s trying to schedule and put yourself in the opportunities to become creative or become passionate about something. 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, give yourself the space. And sometimes the inspiration won’t come. And if there’s something specific you’re trying to achieve, like for me, there are times where my goal is just draw something, and that’s pretty broad, and then I can draw anything, but there also times where I have to draw this specific page of this book and sometimes I just don’t feel it.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I’ll do it for 20 minutes, and I’ve scheduled myself for two to three hours of creative time. And if I’m still not feeling it after 20 minutes, which is rare because usually once I get in the groove, I’m still going, I’ll just move onto something else because I think creativity is kind of like a battery that needs to be recharged. And sometimes if your passion has become a little bit of a business, it’s not always going to refuel the battery, but you still have to pay attention to that.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I feel like when I hear the word “passion,” all practicality … it’s not associated with being practical.  It’s being free to feel this wonderful thing that this thing I do makes me feel, but I think you’re completely right, like you have to be practical about it.  You have to say, “I’m not always going to feel that way.  I’m not always going to feel like doing what feeds me because I’m mired down in something else.” And so, it does, It has to be scheduled or at least recognized that just because you are passionate about it doesn’t mean you’re always going to feel like doing it.

Beth Dean:  Yeah, sometimes the allure of the couch is strong.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.  [Laughs]  Well, I feel like in some ways that’s kind of like the design process.  Everyone says that these kind of restrictions actually help you move forward because when you just have a big blank space and they say “do something,” you can’t do anything unless you’ve given yourself parameters of what to do in the first place. 

Beth Dean:  Right.  Paralysis.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, so speaking of those parameters, do you have any particular strategies for prioritizing and balancing immediate responsibilities with your long-term goals?

Beth Dean:  I wouldn’t say it’s a strategy so much as just more time management, right?

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  Like I have sort of my career that I’ve always put first because that what enables me to even have time to pursue my passion, so I just make time for development there.  It’s scheduling that kind of thing. Like if I’ve wanted to maybe pivot where I am in my career or grow a different skill a little bit more, just so I feel better about myself, that’s again just making the time to do it and also making time for my creative pursuit.  So I’m pretty ruthless with my calendar.  I live by it.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I use Fantastical a whole lot because — I don’t know what happened, but Apple’s calendar on the iPhone is pretty terrible — I live and die by it and I set a lot of reminders and my phone is constantly dinging at me to stop what I’m doing and do something else.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  So do you think that being ruthless, like being strict about those parameters is what allows you to do what you need to do with both passion and career?

Beth Dean:  Yeah, for me. I mean, I can’t speak for everybody, but I commute, so I lose a lot of hours of my day just in a car, and I’ve tried to take advantage of that for personal development time.  I’m spending an hour on my way to work and an hour on my way home, and that’s when I catch upon some reading that is either specifically to recharge those creative batteries I was talking about or career development. Like I might be checking out a tutorial to learn something new or reading a book about somebody who inspires me career-wise, and then I schedule time once I’m at home to use like an hour where you’re just going to chill out and eat dinner and relax because I mean, you can’t schedule away every hour of your day, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Sure.

Beth Dean:  You’ll feel pretty terrible if you do that.  But I keep to a pretty set schedule even if I’m doing different things within those hours. Like I always have my half hour of reading time before bed.  That’s, like, my wind-down time, whether I’ve been drawing or not.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I also feel like some of the things we talked about, Lea, with Whitney [Hess] could probably be really useful for this sort of prioritizing and balancing.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  One of the things that comes to my mind in particular, as I mentioned for me I feel like my passion is my profession.  I don’t like the way that sounds because it’s almost too generic.  But anyway, it’s like me taking the time like Whitney had suggested where you just take – what did she call it – take a break where it’s like…

Lea Alcantara:  A pause.

Emily Lewis:  A pause, where you pause in your day to think about what’s important or what you want, who you are, where you are … that kind of thing where you’re just sort of having an internal evaluation or discussion with yourself.  It’s one of those things … like yesterday, I got an opportunity to potentially speak at a conference, and as I mentioned, sharing knowledge is something I’m really passionate about, but I kind of don’t like public speaking.  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  And so I had set a goal, that Lea is aware of, like I wasn’t going to do anymore public speaking after the one I did on October. That was going to be it. And it’s hard to say “no” because I want to share my knowledge. And I had to take some time and asked Lea for some help to help me sort of pro/con this. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  Does that opportunity not only fulfill me from that passion of sharing knowledge, but also fulfill me personally?  Does it let my business succeed?  Like what does it do beyond just that immediate addressing of sharing knowledge?  It forced me to have to decide whether this was something I could do or something that I really needed to stick to my guns and say, “No, I’m not going to be doing anymore public speaking because it actually detracts too much from the other parts of my life that let me be passionate.” 

Beth Dean:  Yes, it’s funny you mentioned that because it’s so similar to a struggle I was going through over the last couple of years.  When I first decided I was going to be really serious about making comics again, it seemed like the best way to do that was to really pound the pavement and hit all the comic shows.  That’s what a lot of my peers were doing.  If anything, it’s less for growing an audience and more for connecting with your peers.

And I went to doing a lot of speaking that way … speaking at things like San Diego Comic-Con and Stumpton Comic Festival, and it was wonderful in terms of connecting with other artists.  It was terrible in terms of leaving me time to create art, because I spent all of my time preparing for these shows.  If I did one every other month, I would spend the entire month I was doing the show preparing, and then you’re traveling, and that means that my time away from work is spent actually working more.  If anything, it’s working harder because you have to be a retail employee who’s nice to every weirdo who comes to your table.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  And it seemed good because there are public speaking opportunities.  I’m putting myself out there, but I have to ask myself, “Would it be better to just do that online?”  Because I don’t have to put out a physical product to do that.  I can just post a comment to Tumblr or my Facebook page or wherever, and it’s the place where I’ve already gotten audience. Like is it important for me to grow an audience of dedicated comic fans versus just getting myself in front of eyeballs and actually just continuing to make more things and put them out into the world. 

I had to think long and hard about that and I decided this year I wasn’t going to do any comic shows.  I think maybe every other year I’ll try and do some shows and I will try to do instead of a ton of shows, just a West Coast and East Coast show, so I’m getting different audiences and meeting different people as I’m doing it.  But the pause thing, it also really resonated with me because I don’t think I’ve done enough of that in my day-to-day or even just monthly.  I just had been going full steam for such a long time. 

Earlier … it’s the new year now … [laughs] Last year, I was at these crossroads where my company was being sold.  I could have gone along with it, but I didn’t want to work for the company that was purchasing them.  They were in New York and I didn’t really want to do that, and I didn’t have to immediately work. And I had to ask myself, “What do I want to do next?”  I kind of didn’t know.  [Laughs]  I had to think, “Do I want to do comics more?”  So I went away for a while, and I spent two months not working.  I disconnected from the computer and I took some books and I went to an island, and I climbed a volcano and I swam with some sharks and I did a lot of soul searching. And I realized that the happiest I’ve been is when I have been able to be the most myself at any job. 

Part of that is just being able to be my authentic self and not feel like I’m holding back or maintaining some weird professional boundaries.  The people I work with at my last job were just like wonderful friends of mine and still are, and I think that’s how we worked together really effectively, but they also really supported my passion.  When I had my comic launch party, they came. 

Lea Alcantara:  Awww

Beth Dean:  They would help me package comics to sell them.  They let me take all the time off I wanted to do comic shows, and it really meant a lot to me.  They cared about what I did and they supported me, and so I felt good about balancing the work I was doing with them and my creative passions. And that’s part of what brought me to Facebook. 

I didn’t know that I wanted to work for a large company again.  I had done it before, I was very skeptical of it, and the last place I worked at, it was really a small team and I’ve never loved a job that much, so I thought, “Maybe this is the ticket.  I need to stay in small places.”  But it turned out that Facebook was in a pretty unique position to support me creatively, and that’s been really great. And I think if I hadn’t taken the time to realize that that is what I’m looking for in a job, not necessarily some level of career achievement or a job title or even a specific thing that I’m working on. Just a place that supports me as both the person and a person who pursues creative things, like that’s been transformative.

Timestamp:  00:20:04

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I love what you just described there because you often hear people say, “When you’re thinking about your career, follow your passion.”

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  It’s suggesting that your job should be your passion, but if you just make sure your job, like you said, supports your passion and lets you have that passion, that’s huge because not everyone loves what they do in a way that fulfills them deeply in terms of what they get paid for. 

Beth Dean:  Well, I think there are two reasons to not do what you love for a living, but finish your question…

Emily Lewis:  Well, no, it wasn’t a question, more just a statement because what it sounds like to me is that you found a great fit in an employer or company that lets you pay your bills, do your job, create things for the web and for Facebook and for their users and stuff, but that allows you to have the stability and the support structure where you can explore your comics, your illustration and your hiking. 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, absolutely.  I mean, I had student loans when I went to art school.  Art school is not cheap.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I wouldn’t be able to do all the comics that I do if I were trying to do it for a living.  I would have to take all kinds of jobs that would pay the bills that I wouldn’t necessarily feel good about, but were maybe growing me as an artist, but I wouldn’t necessarily be enthusiastic about.  That was actually why I stopped drawing for a while after school.  I spent so much drawing things I didn’t want to and drawing comics I didn’t want to.  I thought that was the path I would have to follow to be a successful comic.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Beth Dean:  I was just drawing things I didn’t care about for years.  Now, I was just like, “No, I don’t want to do this.”  I got some immediate satisfaction out of the day-to-day of working on the web, as well as things like health insurance, which are pretty magical. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  What I found for me, it was really great to be able to do something that I cared about and I feel passionate about the work I do on the web. And there are a lot of parallels between storytelling online and storytelling in a piece of paper.  It sort of stoked other creative flames in me, and I think it taught me to solve problems — that has made me a better comic artist.  So I think one has fed the other, which is really great, but I also think that I would have to make a lot of compromises if I were trying to do my passion for a living I wouldn’t necessarily want to make.  Now, I get to only draw the comics I care about.  When other people ask me if I want to draw comics, I can take jobs that maybe don’t pay enough to be practical because I care about what I’m doing.  I’m free to just do what I want. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I love that. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I think it feels like the fact that you have a stable job, the fact that you’re not like in a kind of cycle of like desperation, I guess, you know?

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Just like the stereotype is this starving artist and everything like that.

Beth Dean:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  And there’s a bad stereotype where you have to be in pain in order to produce art of some sort, but it sounds like you’re saying that the happier you are, the better your art and your passion for your art becomes. 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, I mean, depression isn’t a great motivator. 

Lea Alcantara:  No. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  People who are depressed usually sit on their couch with like a whole lot of Netflix and junk food. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  They don’t always accomplish a lot, unless maybe you have some like serious deep mental illness that makes you create amazing art. 

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  For most of us, staying motivated is pretty important. And if you feel completely drained because you hate the thing you’re doing all day, every day, you’re still not going to want to draw. Like that was a really hard struggle for me when I first started getting back into illustration after like not doing it for a while after school.  I really hated where I was in my career and I had to force myself to sit down and draw.  It probably took about a year to hit my rhythm where I felt like, “Okay, this is the thing that’s going to like save from this job that I hate.”  But then once I got out of that role, my art changed.  It was a lot less dark I noticed from that.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah, sure. 

Beth Dean:  But I was able to make a lot more time to do it just because I didn’t feel exhausted emotionally all the time.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I think that’s especially important if your passion is something like mine where you have to sit at a computer some more. I’ve been sitting at a desk all day, it’s really hard to go home and motivate yourself to sit at a desk even more.  So it’s like every little thing I can do to free myself to make that less of a burden is really important. 

Lea Alcantara:  So we’ve been kind of pooh-poohing a little bit, but not too much, your passion being your profession. 

Beth Dean:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  But clearly, Emily’s passion is her profession.  What do you think people should be doing in terms of like passion versus profession?  Can they be one and the same?

Emily Lewis:  Should they be one and the same?  I mean, even me describing that my passion is my profession, I kind of feel like a loser.  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  Because I’m like, “Yeah, I sit by my computer all day long, and that’s it.” 

Lea Alcantara:  But I mean, like if you were like an award-winning actress, like if you’re a Meryl Streep and then actor or something like, most of them say they act because they love it, not because it pays the bills, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Lea Alcantara:  It works out, right?

Beth Dean:  It depends on your situation on what you want.  I went to the 2nd XOXO Conference.  I was having a chat with Austin Kleon, and he was like, “Where is the ‘don’t quit your day job’ conference?” 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Beth Dean:  He was like, “I have a kid and I need health insurance, and all of these people are like, ‘Follow your dreams and the money will happen.”’  And I think that comes from a place of privilege.  That assumes that you don’t have certain responsibilities you have to take care of. Like for me it’s student loans.  For some people it might be a family, and I think it depends where you live too. 

For me, living in San Francisco is really important.  Not so much everyone.  I draw a lot of creative inspiration from my surroundings.  I was not very happy where I was in Cleveland, Ohio.  But the advantage of living in some place like Cleveland is you don’t have to make a lot of money to live there, so you can pursue your passion as your career pretty easily if you’re willing to hustle a lot. And I know a lot of people that do it there and they love it and have a really happy life.  But that’s not for me; I don’t want to live there. 

In San Francisco, it’s crazy expensive, so I have to have a day job.  There are these folks, I think their studio name is like Good Fucking Design Advice [GFDA].  They print things in Helvetica with swear words that are like “get the fuck to work” and stuff like that, and they came and spoke at Jessica Hische’s studio and they were from Ohio. And I just asked them if Ohio played any role in the work that they were doing, and they were like, “No, Ohio doesn’t have much of a creative community,” which I kind of took issue with because I felt like the creative community in Ohio was actually better than the one I’ve experienced here just because it was smaller and closer knit. And I think also any city is what you make it.  So I was like very involved with those people, but I don’t think they would be able to travel around the country in a van and store all of their inventory in a house if they lived in like New York City. 

The cost of living in Cleveland was very impactful to what they were able to do, and I think they bristled a little at me suggesting that, but I mean, that’s an explicit choice.  You can choose where you live, and if you want to do the thing you love for money or do the thing you love for very little money, you have to be in a position where you don’t have that many responsibilities or living isn’t that expensive. And that’s something people have to think about pretty honestly. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, I have to say that how you are brought up, your upbringing, like what city you grew up in — in Edmonton it’s very much a working class city — and just having that attitude where it’s like, “Well, you have to pay the bills.”  I have to be able to pay the bills first and foremost; otherwise, I can’t do anything. So I feel like for me when I was in college, I also thought I’m going to be an animator.  I’m going to be the person who makes comics, as well. But at the end of the day, in terms of how much I had to hustle, how much I really, really had to work — because it’s really hard work to do illustration, comics and all that kind of stuff full time and make a decent living — like I had to stop and think to myself, “Well, is there something else I am good at and that I can do and that I don’t hate and that I actually like that will pay the bills.”  That kind of is what led me to pursue web design and development as my career. 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, I was in the same boat.  When I finished school, illustration wasn’t something that was easy as a career. 

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Beth Dean:  Your options were do editorial work, which requires you to be very, very good and also get representation from an agency so that’s something you can’t even really do earlier because you just don’t have the experience.

Lea Alcantara:  Yes.

Beth Dean:  Or you’re doing greeting cards and children’s book work, and I told myself I was never going to do greeting cards. And then I wound up as a web designer at an agency that also do greeting cards, so whenever they were slow, I’d have to draw those…  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  But if it was good enough for R. Crumb, I guess it was good enough for me.  But I think that the Internet has changed that a little bit.  If I were graduating now versus when I did, I maybe would have made a go of it.

Emily Lewis:  Right.

Beth Dean:  But I don’t know.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Beth Dean:  Because I want to live in San Francisco and that wouldn’t have changed, but you have a new way to get your work in front of people and illustrators don’t rely on agents as much as they used to.  I think if you’re doing a lot of magazine editorial work, that’s still usually dealt with through an agent, but I know plenty of people that are making a really good like comfortable living just being poster and skateboard artists.  They live some place inexpensive, but my friend does it and he’s able to afford this like giant studio out in the middle of the woods in Massachusetts because nobody else wants to live there, and he goes on tour with his band and mingles with infinite guitar pedals all the time and does what he wants all day because he’s willing to live somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.

Emily Lewis:  To throw something else into this sort of the practicality in paying the bills kind of thing … so before I went off on my own, starting my own company, I worked at what on paper is a fantastic job.  My next raise probably would have hit the six-figure mark, with great benefits.  My immediate supervisor is still one of my favorite people on the planet, but everyone else at the company sucked my will to live. 

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Timestamp:  00:29:49

Emily Lewis:  And it was the opposite of what you were saying earlier, Beth. Like my job didn’t let me be who I am, like I couldn’t be my authentic self.  I started getting into my authentic self at the end, but it was like the pissed-off version of my authentic self.  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  But it was one of those jobs that I took, it paid the bills.  It let me “pursue” my passion — as my passion is front-end development — but the environment I was in, the ignorant people I had to deal with, the inability to actually launch an effective product … like it killed me. 

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  And it killed my passion.  It made me angry, and so having the money, having the benefits … like it was literally a Friday morning, and I just said, “I can’t do this anymore,” and I told my boss and that was it. Like I didn’t plan for it.  Thankfully, I had money in savings and I do live in New Mexico, which is a very, very low-cost area to live in, but it was one of those things where just because you can pay the bills doesn’t mean that…

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Emily Lewis:  And especially if you’re passion is your job, just because that job pays the bills and it falls in the category of what you love to do doesn’t mean that it’s going to fulfill you in the way that makes that passion sustain itself.  I mean, if I had stayed there, I’m pretty sure I would have stopped doing web design. 

Beth Dean:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  I think that’s a really, really good point that you raised because we’re talking about practicalities and, yes, paying the bills and doing something you’re good at. But even if you’re doing all of that as you mentioned, but the environment you’re doing that in sucks the life out of you, then you won’t be able to pursue any type of passion and it could poison the passion that you already have.

Emily Lewis:  Oh yeah, it poisoned the passion I had.  I burned bridges, like I was just a mean and nasty person for that last year working there, like not at all who I know I am or who I even wanted to be. And my work suffered, my work ethic suffered.  I consider myself to have a really good work ethic where I’m very committed and do what I say I’m going to do, and all of that fell away.  It just slowly will chip away … and I was there for almost five years, so it took five years for me to realize this, but it started probably two and a half years before I realized it. 

Beth Dean:  That sounds even worse than if you’re working someplace where you’re maybe not doing your passion and you hate it.  At least it’s not going to like destroy the thing you care about and take that with you.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Beth Dean:  Because I was in a similar position when I was leaving Ohio, and luckily that wasn’t my main passion, it was just sort of my side passion, but it almost made me want to change careers.  I hated it so much, and when you’re in something for that long, you almost don’t even realize until you are at your breaking point that you need to change your scenery.

Lea Alcantara:  Right.  I was just about to say that I think that it’s just so important that there are a lot of factors that go into nurturing a passion.  At the beginning of this podcast we were talking about like, “Well, does passion come to you?  Do you have to work at it?”  It is interesting that, almost like a relationship, that if you don’t nurture your passion, you might actually harm it.  It’s something that Beth has kind of mentioned about how she rediscovered her passion when she went away is the fact that she was self-reflective. The fact that kind of Whitney said she had a pause to take stock of where you’re at, whether you want to pursue it again or whether you still want to pursue it but you’re in the wrong environment to pursue it.  Because, for example, as Beth was mentioning, she loved illustration for a long, long time, but that Ohio wasn’t for her, conducive to pursue that.

Emily Lewis:  I definitely think self-reflection is a major part of passion.  It is probably something that might not have occurred to me before we started talking about it, but it’s so clear now.  You can’t even know if you’re truly passionate unless you sit back and think like, “How do I feel?  What did that make me feel?  Does make me want to do more?  Does that make me want to do less?  Do I want to look at something else?  Who is this other person I’m comparing myself to?”

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis: those kinds of conversations with yourself.

Beth Dean:  Yeah, it’s funny you talk about awareness as being an important part of passion because I was talking to a friend who was being interviewed for a documentary and they asked him, “What do you think is the most important part of adulthood?”  His answer was awareness.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  And I’ve realized that awareness is what makes me a good person for other people to be around, but awareness is also how I learned about what things make me happy and make me that good person to be around.  So I’ve had to spend more time than ever just really thinking about myself, how I feel, taking stock of things, and I wished that I did it more often and just periodically traveling and trying to take that time. Like I loved that idea that someone does that daily. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, just to mention Whitney’s episode with us again, Beth, you might want to check out something called The Artist’s Way. And I think it’s all online, but they’re basically like 12-week program and it gives you like homework to do.  In your first week, the homework is the first thing you do in the morning is you write.  You write three pages.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It can be the same word over and over again, but you just take the time to write.  Then the exercises proceed from that, and it’s all intended to sort of help you be self-reflective, help you open up your creativity, that sort of stuff.  I tried it.  It was a little too regimented for me to like stick to for twelve weeks, but I’ve incorporated some of the things into my life, which are great.

Beth Dean:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I kind of want to talk about fear, because it occurs to me, at least in my own experience of pursuing passion, there is some aspect of fear, whether it’s fear of the unknown or fear of whether the passion will give you the things you want it to give you … the self-satisfaction or the fulfillment.  Even like when I quit my job and started my own company, at the moment when I quit my job, there was no fear, there was just anger. But a day or two later, I was like, “Oh my god.”  There was a whole lot of fear.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  And I could have turned and gone to another corporation and gotten a job, but I went ahead and moved forward with the [new company].  What do you think about fear and how you either manage it or face it, or how is it part of pursuing a passion?

Beth Dean:  I’m generally not a pretty fearful person.  [Laughs]  Fear hasn’t really factored in for me.  The only time that I’ve really been afraid was when I was at that crossroads where I was like, “What am I going to do next?  Do I want to go to work in another startup?  Do I want to work at a large company?  Will I lose my soul if I go to work for a large place?”  For me doing the things I was most afraid of was the most beneficial.  I guess I’ve been afraid on like a smaller scale of other things like public speaking with comics and just even putting your art out there and showing like a finished product to the world. But for me it’s just doing it anyway.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  The fear is kind of a motivator and once you’ve done something, then you’re not afraid of it anymore.  It’s just another thing you can move past. 

Emily Lewis:  Do you talk — like, let’s say, putting your art work out there — did you talk to friends and family about your apprehensions, or you just did it and you barreled through it?

Beth Dean:  I just did it, but I was really lucky that I had the support of a strong mentor when I was getting back into the comics world.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I kind of followed his path too.  He told me all about how he approached self-publishing, how he did shows, and how he would speak on panels.  Just even like ways he would interact with other comic artists, and so I was maybe a little less afraid because I could follow in his shadow. And a few years later, it turned out that his path isn’t necessarily the right one for me, but it was really good for me dipping my toe on the water and I could do a little more safely than other people. And I knew that if even other people didn’t receive my work well, I had his support.  I trusted and respected his opinions, and he thought my work was good enough for people to see.  Sure, why not? 

Lea Alcantara:  So it seems like it’s really important to have at least one person on your team.

Beth Dean:  Oh, absolutely, yeah.  I wouldn’t have felt as motivated without him.  I mean, just getting encouragement from somebody and having them validate that, “yes, this is what you should be doing.  This thing that you care about should exist in the world.”  Like that was priceless.

Lea Alcantara:  So I kind of want to take a step back because you made an interesting statement earlier on about when there’s the typical career advice to follow your passion, and you mentioned that most of the time those statements come from a place of privilege.

Beth Dean:  Oh, absolutely.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  We are in the tech industry and we’ve just been talking about being able to go to an island and have the time to reflect, et cetera.  Do you believe working in the tech industry and having that type of job that relatively pays well in certain cities?  Does that specifically allow you the freedom to pursue a passion?

Beth Dean:  Yes, absolutely.  I mean, I have worked for my privilege, but I have it.  I am very conscious of it.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Beth Dean:  But also when you work in a place where everybody says it’s a bubble and it’s going to explode at any minute… 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  You sort of become a good squirrel, and you’re always saving for the impending financial apocalypse here. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  I think part of that is also coming from a blue-collar town where like entire industry bottomed out and the whole place has never been the same since, like culturally and economically.  So the Midwesterner in me has always been like, “Well, this could go away at any moment.  This might not last, so save your money in case you need to like run or something like that.”  I don’t know.  I was definitely really lucky when I was in that position where my company was going away, that I could still keep doing what I love and have money to go to an island because not everyone does.  But I made a conscious choice, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Beth Dean:  I made a choice that I was going to work in this place that maybe wasn’t my be-all-end all for what makes me happy — and I don’t want to make that sound like I’m detached from what I do because I do love it very much … I consider it like a secondary passion — but I made an explicit choice to do that because it would pay my bills and I could save money while doing that, and it would give me freedom if someday I decided I wanted to do something else that I could take a break and do so. 

Because the point I’m at right now is I’ve been thinking a lot about maybe I want to go broaden my horizons and live somewhere else nomadically for a while.  I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do that if I didn’t work in the tech industry. Like even in San Francisco I can still keep working and either go someplace that’s going to give me some kind of equity or will allow me to work remotely or will financially make it possible for me to take a break from work. Like that was pretty calculated.

Timestamp:  00:40:12

Emily Lewis:  I also think the tech industry — particularly for me given that my profession is my passion — I think it encourages my passion.  Before I got into the web, I did a lot of different jobs.  I worked in journalism.  I worked in marketing. And whether it’s where I was in my career or those particular industries in the cities I was in, there was not a lot of passion for what we did.  We did what we did and that was all there was and everyone looked forward to happy hour. 

But when I am talking with colleagues in this industry, even just talking with Lea, there is a shared enthusiasm — whether or not it’s passionate for them — but there’s a level of enthusiasm that exists when I attend a conference or if I’m chatting with someone online about something related to web development that makes me feel even more passionate, because that’s what my colleagues feel.  They feel enthusiasm and that gets me excited too.  So for me, I also think being in the tech industry not only gives me the freedom to have passion in my career, but it encourages the passion. 

Beth Dean:  Yeah, having community and a support network is really, really, really important. 

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  One of the things I did love about being in Ohio was I had this really great support network and really great community of other web designers who just really encouraged me to pursue the things that I love on the web and pursue my comics and be myself, even that meant getting away from the job that I had. And that was I think what pushed me to leave and get out here.  While my immediate support network isn’t necessarily all tech people here in San Francisco, it’s certainly all creative people. And I see them putting things out into the world and that makes me want to do it more.  They talk about new things that are going on that I want to try, and it’s reignites my passion when I’m feeling a little drained.

Lea Alcantara:  But when you feel a little drained, I’m sure that could lead to losing a passion, and then we talked about how environment is really important and community is really important to reignite that … but is there ever a point where you need to decide to move on from a passion?

Beth Dean:  Yeah, I think sometimes.  Again, it always depends.  I definitely walked away from drawing for periods with my life.  Now is not one of those, but music is something I don’t do as much as I used to, and I used to pursue music pretty seriously.  I would play in bands.  I would tour.  I would practice regularly. And I was even doing a lot of that when I first moved out here.

I had to make a conscious decision.  I didn’t have the time in my life to pursue music seriously and pursue my illustration.  I could do one as a hobby and one somewhat seriously. And I just had to make that compromise. Like I can’t spend all day, every Sunday practicing music if I want to get this comic book out in the world.  I need to draw that, and I just chose illustration because that was something that was more fulfilling to me, and I felt more successful at it.  I’m sure I could have been more at music if I had spent as much time doing that as illustration, but at that point I had to choose.  I don’t know that everybody has to choose, but for me, I needed to focus more on one than the other. 

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I think it’s a hard question to answer as well as something hard to answer when it’s actually happening, whether you moved on or you reignite it.

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Emily Lewis:  For example, I ran a web user group here in town, here in Albuquerque for a few years, and I was extremely passionate about it.  I mean, for one, it helped me share knowledge, and for another, it helped me foster that community of support of fellow enthusiasts.  But after a while — if you’ve ever run any kind of group or event or whatever, it does chip away at your soul because there are always people who are unappreciative of what you do or don’t value what you do — and if you’re sensitive to that like I am, it started being one of those things where I had to walk away from it.  It wasn’t something I could reignite because I just knew it would cycle back, and so I had to walk away from that particular endeavor that I was extremely passionate about for almost four years because it was just one of those things where — it was sad and it broke my heart at the same time — but I knew that it wasn’t going to change.  That would be what it would always be, and given the person that I am, I couldn’t be a part of that and still find it fulfilling and still find it satisfying.

Lea Alcantara:  I think part of that is understanding why you decided to stop in the first place. 

Emily Lewis:  Because again it’s that self-reflection thing.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, exactly.  That self-reflection, because deciding to move on from something is always like, well, is this just going to be a hiccup if there’s an issue like I was just not motivated or something? Or are there actual problems that you think will be ongoing for the entirety of whatever you’re pursuing?  But I want to mention too that passion comes and goes in every point in life because, for example, I love to design.  I love the web.  I love dong all of those kind of things.  But I think it is definitely different when you make a living off of your passion because there are moments you actually hate it.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  Because there’s something different where it’s like I’ve always been passionate about writing as well. Like when I was young I used to write a lot of short stories and another one of those things I used to think like, “Maybe I’ll be novelist.” And I still write on occasion — just privately like fiction, like short stories and things like that — and I always like play around with the idea of writing a novel.  But because I’m not a full-time writer, every time I write is an act of pleasure because it’s all for me.  Doing those types of activities and making those stories, it’s a 100% fun because I don’t have to show it to anyone else if I don’t want to. And it’s “me” time, for example, and I’ve had those moments with design too where I just design something for fun or there’s an actual project where it allows me to be super creative and that’s interesting.  But whenever you have to pursue anything, anything for a career, you have to deal with other people.  Even with people that you like, one other person’s opinion, even if they agree with you, the point is you still have to cater to somebody else’s opinion, and that does change and that does add a different level to pursuing a passion for your career, I think.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah, I think it’s like happiness.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  I think there’s a perception that like happy is a state of being.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah, yeah.

Emily Lewis:  And that you’re just happy.

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Emily Lewis:  Once you achieve happiness, it’s all done. 

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  But I think happiness is like you’re happy for a moment and then some crap happens that you’ve got to deal with, and then you might return to being happy.  I think it’s good to look at passion as not as this achievement, but a process as opposed to like you reach happiness or you reach passion.  That’s not how it is.  It’s not finite.  It’s always…

Beth Dean:  It’s a journey, right, in the end.

Emily Lewis:  Yeah.

Lea Alcantara:  So speaking about that, I feel like success has a lot to do with keeping passionate over something.  Because, let’s say … you’re a great illustrator, Beth, so I’m sure that is part of what helps fuel you: you know you’re good.  People that see your work and buy your work know you’re good.  But what if you just love to draw and you suck, you know?

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  It’s like does that have any bearing in it?  Especially when you watch these reality shows whether The Voice or American Idol and you’re like, “Why?  Why are they pursuing it?  Why are you doing this?” 

Beth Dean:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  That’s why people love karaoke, right?

Lea Alcantara:  Yeah.

Beth Dean:  You don’t have to be a great singer. 

Lea Alcantara:  That’s true.

Beth Dean:  You just want to feel a little rock star in the moment.  I mean, it helps like when I’m really pleased with the output of something, I’m like, “Yeah, I want to go draw something else.”  Like I feel more like I want to draw after I finish something than the entire process of drawing it, but I think that’s part of why I became so passionate about the outdoors.  I don’t have to be good at that.  I mean, I have to not get myself killed in the wilderness and be able to, like, hoist my body up hills and maybe avoid bears. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  But I don’t have to look at a hike afterward and be like, “Hmm, was this good?”  I’m not judging myself.  There’s no pressure for a final output, and that sort of become my self-reflection time.  I used to spend hours drawing and I’d be in just have my own head and I have this drawing at the end, and I think, “Cool.”  Then social media came along, and I’d have to post this drawing to Twitter …

Lea Alcantara:  Right.

Beth Dean:  To get some kind of validation from other people to prove “Yes, I’m an illustrator. I’m going to keep putting these out here and you’re going to keep passively judging me or I’m going to project to that on to everyone on my life or something.” 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  That made it a little less satisfying, so I think now that drawing has become a little bit more about the end than the process, I wound up picking up something where, A) I could get away from the computer and, B) it was all about the journey and not whatever happens at the end. 

Emily Lewis:  So let’s finish up the questions with this: do you have any tips or suggestions for anyone who’s looking to balance their career and personal passions?

Beth Dean:  Yeah, I guess the first and most important thing is to just take stock of what it is you want.  Like maybe your passion is travel.  Maybe it’s cooking, and can you do that at home?  Do you need more time to do that or can you do it with the time you already have?  Do you need to negotiate more vacation time with work so you can go somewhere, or try and work remotely? Like I think because that’s so personal, you just have to really be clear about what you want.  What you want isn’t necessarily the feeling you get from passion, like that feels good, but it’s like what do you want out of that passion.  I think that changes it. 

And then ruthless scheduling has just been what’s worked for me, and also at the points where I have been the busiest, outsourcing as much of my life as possible has been great for me.

Timestamp:  00:49:57

Lea Alcantara:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  It’s like the year that I was spending just really cranking out comics, like it was a second full-time job. I outsourced my laundry.  I outsourced my grocery shopping.  I found like a healthy food delivery service.

Emily Lewis:  [Agrees]

Beth Dean:  I even got an errand service that I could pay to go to the post office and ship all of the stuff from my web store.  So like I didn’t have to do … like I thought my time was more valuable.  It’s great that I live in the testing ground for all of these weird services so those are more available to me than other people.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  But if you have a child, you can enlist them as slave labor.

Lea Alcantara:  Nice.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  That’s the reason to have children, right?

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  Exactly.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  All right, so before we finish up, we’ve got our rapid-fire 10 Questions, so our listeners can get to know you a bit better.  Are you ready, Beth?

Beth Dean:  As ready as I’ll ever be.

Lea Alcantara:  All right, first question, Android or iOS?

Beth Dean:  It’s iOS.

Emily Lewis:  If you were stranded on a desert island and can only bring three things, what would you bring?

Beth Dean:  Well, I’d bring a book.  Kindle probably doesn’t have access on the island. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  I’d bring some sunblock because I look like a ghost, and I guess maybe I’d bring some coffee.  That’s probably about all I need.

Lea Alcantara:  What’s your favorite TV show?

Beth Dean:  Of all time or currently? All time, I have to go with X Files.

Emily Lewis:  What’s your favorite dessert?

Beth Dean:  All of them.  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  Anything chocolate.

Lea Alcantara:  What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?

Beth Dean:  Professional museum taxidermist.

Emily Lewis:  What profession would you not like to try?

Beth Dean:  My whole family is police.  I would never want to do that.

Lea Alcantara:  What’s the latest article or blog post you’ve read?

Beth Dean:  Well, [laughs], today I read about how all of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco have health code violations. That was so terrible.

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]  All right, if you can have a superpower, what would it be?

Beth Dean:  I used to think that it was invisibility, but I’m pretty sure now it would be for spontaneous trap doors. 

Emily Lewis:  Wait, what?

Beth Dean:  Yeah, it’s like you’re overhearing someone having an awful conversation in a restaurant and you could just spontaneously have a trap door appear below them.

Lea Alcantara:  Nice.  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Beth Dean:  And free yourself of that person.  I would do that all the time.  I would take that over invisibility, flying, like … absolutely a trap door.

Lea Alcantara:  That’s amazing.  What music do you like to work to?

Beth Dean:  It depends what kind of mood I’m in.  If I’m like feeling pretty dirgy, it’s going to be heavy metal.  Sometimes it’s just going to be something with a beat to get me going.  I can always tell it’s maybe time to move on from whatever I’m working on if I listen to Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 on repeat too much. 

Lea Alcantara:  [Laughs]

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs] All right, last question, cats or dogs?

Beth Dean:  Dogs!

Emily Lewis:  [Laughs]

Lea Alcantara:  All right, that’s all the time we have for today.  Thanks for joining us, Beth! 

Beth Dean:  Thanks for having me, ladies!

Emily Lewis:  In case our listeners want to follow up with you, where can they find you online?

Beth Dean: thebethdean.com.  Bethdean.com is being squatted by a Remax agent, and I’m also @bethdean on Twitter. 

Emily Lewis:  Awesome.  Thanks, Beth!

Beth Dean:  Thank you.

[Music starts]

Lea Alcantara:  We’d now like to thank our sponsors for this podcast: Visual Chefs and Pixel & Tonic.

Emily Lewis: And thanks to our partners: Arcustech, Devot:ee and EE Insider.

Lea Alcantara:  We also want to thank our listeners for tuning in!  If you want to know more about CTRL+CLICK, make sure you follow us on Twitter @ctrlclickcast or visit our website, ctrlclickcast.com.  And if you like this episode, please give us a review on Stitcher or iTunes or both! And if you really like this episode, please consider donating.

Emily Lewis:  Don’t forget to tune in to our next episode when we are talking about Twig templating for the Craft CMS with Marion Newlevant.  Please be sure to check out our schedule on our site, ctrlclickcast.com/schedule for more upcoming topics.

Lea Alcantara:  This is Lea Alcantara …

Emily Lewis:  And Emily Lewis …

Lea Alcantara:  Signing off for CTRL+CLICK CAST.  See you next time!

Emily Lewis:  Cheers! 

[Music stops]

Timestamp: 00:53:31