Thursday, October 16, 2014

Uganda Bloggers 7 Day Challenge: NO, YOU ARE NOT GOD - Day 3 Post


When you work in any communications and advertising business especially an ad agency you learn quickly and swiftly how the work flows.

Client.
Account manager or client services
Creative studio.
Account manager
Client.

That is how it works in almost every industry. There is an interface between the specialist and the client. Someone who interprets the jargon for both ends. In certain agencies, studios and indeed workplaces they pay it a little differently

Client.
Account manager or client services
GOD
Account manager
Client.
GOD

The creative people have such a refined sense of what their communication should be doing that they consider themselves gods. They are the final word on photoshop, layouts and headlines and punctuation. All this is fine until it isn't. Ruling with no mercy or empathy and a fist of iron they have no place for bickering or talking back. No matter what the client says or wants. That’s not what THEY want. But mostly it isn’t about the client and what they want. Its more that someone in the universe doens't want what they want. 
Someone differs with their approach to things. 
Someone differs. 
Someone.

The argument can be made that creative people have been over indulged and therefore have over sized egos. That they are paid higher than most people in their age range or that they tend to have specialized skills which make them as good as they are. Which is all well and good. But the truth is they are human. They shit. They breathe. They err. And that should be enough. However, their inflated sense of self doesn’t allow them to see their own humanity. Their fallibility.

The last point is most likely as a result of how long they think they have worked to get where they are. The truth is the trenches in advertising are grueling and cruel. Starting out it is impossible that one can even ever hope to make it anywhere worth mentioning. The hours are atrocious, there is no credit given for work and no work you do is ever good enough. Ever. There is always a guy with a better script. A better ad. A better layout. A faster computer. And so the thick skin develops from early on. Merging and morphing with complexes (some from as early as childhood) to form creatures no one recognizes in the end. The long work hours make these people impervious to the level of exhaustion that will normally tire out ordinary people. They will push and push hard. Warping their reality of what the people around them can and can’t do. And eventually warping their own minds about their own abilities. They think they inexhaustible, indefatigable. Untouchables.

At this point you must put the dog down. Because they cannot be saved. Why am I tirading like this? Because a person of meagre standing in my office said to me recently “Just because you know the answers doesn’t mean you will get asked the questions. The truth is people hate a know-it-all.”

As I sat back and ruminated on that it hit me for all the reasons creatives were revered and feared; they still were people. More seasoned, yes. More exposed, yes. But still people. Their years of working like slaves did not entitle them to treat the rest of the world like lesser people; especially because they are lesser people. They willingly applied for these jobs. They signed up for the pain and suffering. Thhy chose this path for the glory it promised. That was the price.  Their genius isn't a validation for their behaviour. In fact it is their greatest undoing.

By being as great as they were, they were inadvertently not as great as they were. Because they missed out on the simple stupid moments of being human. Of being fallible. This made them Outliers. Observers of the human experience and not partakers. Like the orphan child looking into the home of a family unable to comprehend how people can have so much emotion. They are in fact relegated to the observer status. Watching other human beings to do their work better. And thus the sadness of it all; foiled by their own genius they come to terms with their humanity. And accept they are not god. They could be. If they could walk away from it all. They could be. But alas. Without it all to look at and do great ads. They are nothing.

This is a message to all creatives: you are not god. But you could be.

#GoBeAGod