I love this photo for so many different reasons, but mostly because there is my 20-something mother working the childcare on a tricycle playing with her kids. One of my brothers had been riding on the back of my trike and fell off, (tho the finger to my mouth in the universal sign for oops, and his body language is telling me there might be more to the story).
Work is work and play is play. Or is it really like that? Do the two need to be in opposition to each other? I don't think I ever thought they needed to be, and yet I've never consciously teamed the two together, especially when it comes to looking for work. Work is serious. Work is about being "professional". And play, well, play is play.
Last week I was challenged to think about work as play, specifically to approach looking for more freelance work as I would approach a playground.
For me, play is about spontaneity, it's about imagination, it often features play"mates" and its about fun and exchange and movement. There is a dynamic to play that is all about energy and letting the moment go where it will. Now that's a new and different way to approach looking for clients, and surprise surprise, it actually makes me feel excited about the process.
Look at all the definitions of Play (as a noun):
- a dramatic composition or piece; drama.
- a dramatic performance, as on the stage.
- exercise or activity for amusement or recreation.
- fun or jest, as opposed to seriousness: I said it merely in play.
- a pun.
- the playing, action, or conduct of a game: The pitcher was replaced in the fourth inning of play.
- the manner or style of playing or of doing something: We admired his fine play throughout the game.
- an act or instance of playing or of doing something: a stupid play that cost us the match.
- one's turn to play: Whose play is it?
- a playing for stakes; gambling.
- an attempt to accomplish something, often in a manner showing craft or calculation; maneuver: They tried to buy up the stock in a takeover play.
- an enterprise or venture; deal: an oil and drilling play.
- action, conduct, or dealing of a specified kind: fair play; foul play.
- action, activity, or operation: the play of fancy.
- brisk, light, or changing movement or action: a fountain with a leaping play of water.
- elusive change or movement, as of light or colors: the play of a searchlight against the night sky.
- a space in which something, as a part of a mechanism, can move.
- freedom of movement within a space, as of a part of a mechanism.
- freedom for action, or scope for activity: full play of the mind.
- attention in the press or other media; coverage; dissemination as news: The birth of the panda got a big play in the papers.
- an act or instance of being broadcast: The governor's speech got two plays on our local station.
Each one of these definitions broadens my understanding of play as work, but look at #18:
Freedom of movement within a space, as part of a mechanism.
#16 is doing something for me as well: elusive change or movement, as of light or colors.
So what's your favourite definition of play?
Do you integrate play into your work? In your search for work?