In asking the title question, I realised I didn't have much of it throughout my career, even though every job aligned to my passions, gave me meaning, and was on issues that interest and motivate me. Even my most recent job in design and innovation—which I considered to be the closest to the perfect career I had so far—didn't offer much moments where I felt like a kid in a candy store. I was good at what I did, I enjoyed the work, but candy store moments? Far and few in between, unfortunate to say.
On the other hand, I never expected coding to offer so much kid-in-a-candy-store moments since I started doing it serious, an hour a day, everyday. It was super surprising because coding and I had tumultuous beginnings to start with. I didn't quite enjoy doing it, and only did it as a means to and end, which is to make products. I hated the journey, loved the destination. Back then.
But something changed since my daily coding streak started. I started to enjoy it more, the better I got at it. The more side projects I roll out, the more code bugs I squash, the more competent I felt. Confidence grew, and aspiration too. Best part was finding my candy store place in coding. That's Codepen. So many awesome, inspiring tiny projects in there – animated buttons that bounce in delight, front-end scripts that do so much heavy-lifting in place of a server, beautiful graphics done only using CSS. Every time I feel a little down, a little burned from too much hard hacking and debugging, I go to my candy store, and immediately I feel better. It reminds me of why I started coding in the first place – to make cool shit like that. The rush of creating even just a tiny animated button, starts to fill up the inspiration tank emptied by demoralising coding episodes. It's just so much FUN to browse through, and to play around with.
Nothing else in my wide and varied career so far ever gave me this much delight. There was fulfilment in the past, yes, but rarely delight. It's so sobering to realise this of my past, yet also so exciting to see that of my future (in coding).
I don't eat physical candy in real life anymore, but this candy is spiritual, intellectual, and emotional, and makes me want to eat it all day long.
So, what's your kid-in-a-candy-store moment in your work?