Friday, June 1, 2012

Working for a living

          When we were both starting out in advertising, I asked my art-director friend Ross what he liked about the work. He said "I get to wear a clean white shirt every day". That was a luxury his dad never had.

           Almost every day I think about how lucky we are. While some people are working deep in a mine, I'm chatting at the coffee machine. While some people are putting doors on cars, I'm critiquing television commercials. While some people are ironing clothes, or drilling teeth, or drilling for oil, I'm writing words on paper.

          I'm grateful. Doing advertising and marketing, and teaching skills that students will use the rest of their lives, are wonderful ways to spend the day.

          I have to admit, when someone asks you what you did at work, it can be embarrassing. "I drew little pictures on paper."  "I came up with a headline at lunch." "We talked about why some men hate to go clothes shopping." It almost sounds like we didn't do anything that kids don't do --- we  played around with words and pictures and talked about stuff.

          But that's how creativity works. The demand on creative people to come up with something new every day can be a horrible burden if you let it. But if you just live with it, go with it, dive right in, it can be an enlightening experience. You'll even surprise yourself with what you come up with.

          When someone on "Mad Men" says copywriting is hard work, don't laugh. There is plenty of heavy lifting, but it's all in your head.

          One day Ross' father came in to visit him at the office. He asked Ross what he was doing. Ross said, "I'm drawing some people driving down a highway". His father said, "You're drawing at work? Don't let your boss find out!"

          It's wonderful to have a boss who encourages it.

No comments:

Post a Comment