How to make sure you're on the right track in your career

An interview with Joe Donaldson

Do you ever find yourself so busy with work for clients that you never create or do something just for your own enjoyment or personal fulfillment? It’s a tricky balance to have a career that pays the bills but that still leaves you time and energy to do what fulfills you as a person and a creator.

Joe Donaldson knows this struggle as well as anyone. In addition to being the founder of Holdframe, editor of Motionographer, and an instructor at the Ringling College of Art and Design, he’s a father of two and avid runner. Joe’s ten years working in motion design have taught him countless lessons on finding that right balance between work and healthy living that so many of us struggle with.

In today’s interview, we discuss building a healthy work-life balance that starts with your education. From there it’s all about navigating the outside pressures and demands that take up our time and energy. Through his own successes and setbacks, Joe has learned a lot about this and shares his wisdom in this episode.

What has been your biggest struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance? Share it with us in the comments!

In this episode

  • The outside influences that pressure us to be workaholics
  • The experience of motion design students today and how it prepares them to enter the workforce
  • How motion designers can learn from each other’s work and benefit from that exchange
  • Finding the sweet spot between working for money and working for art’s sake
  • How your priorities will change throughout your life and career
  • Setting boundaries and regularly checking in with yourself so that you only take the right jobs
  • Why it might be a good idea to go for a run!


“I think there is a pressure that is imposed on us from the industry at large to keep going and stay in fifth gear and that becomes difficult.”  [4:09]

“It’s always about that balance. You don’t want to be too artsy without marketable skills and you don’t want to be too industry and have everything just look like an advertisement or a logo. It’s about finding that balance.” [13:29]

“You have to look at is the effort as working in the direction that you want to go, or is it working in the direction that inversely favors somebody else over yourself.”  [43:24]

“I have a constant dialogue of assessing why am I doing this and is it right for me. As long as you have that dialogue with yourself there might be times when you’re working too much, but if it’s for the right reason or it’s a stepping-stone to a goal you have, then, by all means, keep doing it.” [46:36]

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Podcast music licensed by Big Waves

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