Live long enough… and enter enough competitions… anyone with a certain amount of ability will garner appreciation. Those symbols of appreciation accumulate. As a graphic designer (and filmmaker), there are always avenues where one can submit work for evaluation. Usually, there’s the cost of entering. (Funny how that works). Then, in the case of graphic designer, IF your work is ‘appreciated,’ you might be asked, also, to help with the cost of ‘publication.’ (Yes, this is where the question of ‘income-angle’ comes up). There’s work involved in submitting your work to be judged… evaluated. Because it involves one’s ego, you KNOW there’s going to be cost involved. So, between the cost of submission, publication and preparation, it’s far from being free and easy. So, why bother? As I’ve already suggested, EGO. Ego is responsible for a lot when it comes to artists… or, anyone involved with creation and creativity. Whether it’s ‘art for art’s sake’ or simply ‘art for commerce’s sake,’ you’re on the hook. You’ll pay, out of pocket, to even be considered. And, with all of the art schools, design schools, film schools, photography schools out there… yeah, there’re plenty of takers. Ego does crazy things to people with crazy ideas. We’re all bold loners until we’re teased with the idea of evaluation and coming out on top (or, among the few considered ‘worthy’). THEN, there’s the issue of aging. Ah, yes… you’ve got a ton of work to show for your years… so, now what?! Shall I submit work to be evaluated (for all those years) or should I avoid it entirely and simply ignore the tease and bask off the glow of being appreciated during parties and professional gatherings (because I’ve lived so long and am still working on creative projects)? Most of us aren’t ‘big names’ in design or filmmaking. We’ve simply worked hard over the decades to make a living at what we do… but, hoping, along the way, there’d be some spiritual appreciation shown beyond the monetary kind. And, here’s the funny thing… During the years of bothering to submit work for evaluation, I’ve enjoyed the appreciation. But, after all of that… I still have no real idea if I have value beyond those moments of evaluation or if I’m simply another footnote in some obscure annual. Do plumbers feel any of this? Do electricians need such validation? What makes the design profession so emotionally pathetic?