Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creativity in the Workplace

"Sometimes creativity just means the daily work of helping others to see a problem in a different way."  --Joseph Badaracco
Yes, I admit, I am going on vacation in less than one week.
It's probably obvious to most who know me that I aspire someday to graduate from knowledge worker to creative worker.  To get paid for being creative.  Coaxing the Muse out of the tiny cubicle I inhabit.  On a daily basis.

This is a lonely yet hopeful aspiration.  Lonely in that I can see it sitting there, forlorn and forgotten, all by itself on the lobby couch, anxiously awaiting for its number to be called. Into reality.  I'm not getting paid to make art that matters, or even art that's simply a fun distraction.  I'm not making a living by being creative.

Ok, so I said lonely but I also said hopeful.  Here's the hopeful angle. I get snippets of creativity in my life as a corporate slave.  Tiny tastes, gasplike mouthfuls of water from a park fountain on a blazing summer day.  Not quite the refreshment I hoped for, but at least I won't dehydrate before I can get home.

Where's that TPS report?!?
I suppose I should be more specific, less abstract and metaphorical.  There are days when I feel genuinely invigorated, excited about a project I'm working on, or a piece I had just written.  A sense of creative accomplishment that something I developed has intrinsic value for someone else.  And those are good days, yet rare ones.

Like most people in the universe, most days I just get by.  And that's fine too.  Others are one frustration after another.  But the idea is that it's a cycle, a process, and much of it has to do with our expectations.  Our perspective on the work we're doing.

We can be creative problem solvers.  Creative at finding a new way of looking at an old problem.  Or in getting arguing colleagues to find common ground.  Creative doesn't always have to mean the penultimate in artistry, we're not talking Mona Lisa here. 

Like so many things in life, it comes down to your perspective.  So I might not be a working artist yet, but I can be an artist in my work.  And my approach to my work.  And that's the goal. 

Stay tuned.

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