29 September 2008

work values

I'm going to kick this off by stating that this is not a post about my feelings; it's a post about what helps me make good work. The following things will set the conditions properly for making good work, which is something I ... well, feel very strongly about. Dammitt, I guess it is about my feelings.


My idea might be great, but maybe you can help find a better medium for it. Or a better line. Or the perfect image I didn't know existed. Maybe it's not that readily broken down -- we both make ideas better as we talk them out, building on each other's thoughts & taking them to crazy, improbable heights. Then, we can break off & focus on specific aspects of it, let the brain wander then rope it back in. I don't believe in collaboration, exclusively, & I don't believe in lone brilliant minds, exclusively. I believe genius can be learned, & I believe hard singular work can also be learned. Let's make room for both.

If individuals (or the whole office, god forbid) is caustic, or apathetic, or inflexible, or defensive, bad work will come out of it. The work will reflect the ethos of the place where it's made. Smiling all the time is pathological, so let's not be total weirdos here. But remember why you like working here before you step in the door. Shit's not on? That's cool, let's talk about it. But keep a sense of optimism & benevolence with you throughout the day.

The free exchange of ideas is reinforced by wide open spaces where you can let unexpected influences leak in, make a suggestion to a colleague, or bounce an idea off someone without having to walk down a corridor or clutter their in-box. It's a messier and less precious way of working, and it's amazing. Also natural light. Natural light is really just so very sweet.

This isn't school, and this isn't a place for me to work on my fantasy portfolio & get paid at the same time. If the work is beautiful but no one understands the message, then it's a failure. If the work gets negative attention, that's also a failure. Our work must do its job -- to help companies get their brand message out there (without being gross). If our work isn't doing it's job, fire our work (KILL IT).

Medium-sized. Like, 25-150 people.

Only I can bring what I bring. Hire me for the whole package, with writing, and design, and biking, and ballet, and comic books, and bartending in it. Don't think I'll bring every ounce of my experience with me? You're wrong. Compensate me accordingly.

Meetings get bad press because most meetings are bad. They did earn the bad press. But there's such a thing as a good meeting. A good meeting has minutes, and agendas, and open dialogue, and strongly held opinions, and good will, and doughnuts. Honesty, benevolence, & baked goods ... now that's a good meeting.

Did I mention doughnuts?

If I have an idea that changes the brief, and I can support it, trust that I'm not doing so idly or for my own wily purposes. Allow me to present two versions -- the version that sticks to the brief like a barnacle, and my version. Am I asking you for permission to do more work? Yes. Yes, I am.

Those are the mains. Pretty much everything else is negotiable. "Doughnuts aren't negotiable?" Nope. How can I put this more clearly? I am going to need some doughnuts.


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