Given the title of my blog, most of my posts tend to be about running. But considering I haven’t run since the Dark Ages due to a (*^%$#!) foot injury, I might as well indulge in the “Monologue” side of my epithet for the time being. Having no good topics in mind other than running (I really am quite one-track-minded at times), I searched the interwebz for some blog topic suggestions.
I liked this one: Ten Things I Love about my Job.
I do like my job. No, I’m not the Head-Designer-Of-Everything-In-The-World*, as I’d once hoped to be whilst whittling away three quarters of my life at the design lab in college. I may work at a very small company with (by definition) no real profit sharing, no preset bi-annual guaranteed pay raise, no fancy 48-floor office building, and no in-house cafeteria. But I am an Art Director (I like to capitalize those words because then it seems like I have more power than I do). There are some down sides to my place of work, just like any, but there are just too damn many people bitching and moaning about their jobs all the time (hey buddy, at least you’re employed!) that I think it’s time to counterbalance all that negativity with this exercise.
10 Things I love about being an Art Director
- I am considered a manager, so I get a bigger cubicle than all the toiling peons** below me. Sure, that also means I have to house all the department’s extra ink cartridges, paper, pens, backup files, staplers and gigantic banner printers in that extra space. But I own more land and therefore I am King. Er…Queen.
- They trusted me with a key to the building and an alarm code. I mostly only use it on the weekend to retrieve personal belongings that I accidentally left behind Friday night, but occasionally I get to let people into the empty building early in the a.m. or lock up for the evening. That’s when I shine as a Manager!
- Being the Art Director in a small company like mine means that I automatically have the most seniority in the Art Department. And that means everyone has to listen and give at least some credence to all of my ideas and opinions, no matter how dumb they sound coming out of my mouth. And furthermore, it means that the Big Boss respects and asks for my advice in all visual situations, even where it’s only marginally useful, like internal/external paint colors for the new office building he just bought. I may not have been exceedingly helpful (picture me excitedly presenting him with internet printouts of orange and black office interiors and $400 mesh swivel chairs), but it sure did feed my Head-Designer-Of-Everything-In-The-World* ambition. All joking aside, it is nice to have people recognize when you’re good at something.
- I have the career that I went to college for, and I went to college for something in which I possess natural talent. I am proud of that because so many people fail to find a job in their desired field and end up going down a totally different avenue. Not that I knock this outcome, many find themselves even happier in their unintended career. But I find it awesome that I’m one of the few who guessed right when I was researching careers in the Guidance Counselor’s office in high school. And I maintain that I “guessed” because nobody has a clue what they want to do for the rest of their life when they’re 18 years old.
- I am pretty sure that my boss actually likes me. Either that or maybe after ten years of putting up with my crap he’s given in to thinking of me like family: the people you see at funerals and holidays, who you kind of like but wouldn’t exactly pull out of a burning building if they weren’t related to you. And since they’re not going anywhere, you might as well smile and put up with them. Either way, I feel like part of the club now and it means I can make wisecracks and occasionally walk around the office barefoot without getting fired.
- Being a manager means I get paid more than I did when I was a toiling peon. Sure, I’m not making quite as much as the Art Directors at Some-Big-Ad-Agency, but they all work crazy 75-hour weeks. Instead I enjoy having a husband and seeing the inside of my home.
- Being the only Art Director in a small office of people means my job is arguably as secure as the company’s existence. So unless I majorly f*ck something up or start presenting nothing but unicorns pooping rainbows at new product meetings, I’m probably never going to be out of the job. Or unless the whole company folds or sells to someone who doesn’t find my pooping unicorns useful.
- I work with great people. I think part of this is because The Boss is loud, demanding and has a personality the size of Texas. Anybody who is uptight, sensitive to direct criticism or requires a formal, highly professional work atmosphere doesn’t last long here. So we end up with a group of young, creative, easygoing folks with generally friendly and adaptable personalities. Basically people you can work with and have a beer with. I’m okay with that. Oh, and I don’t have to wear a suit or heels every day (see bare feet from number 5). In fact, it’s the opposite: one great thing about being an “art person” is that I get way more leeway than most professionals when it comes to edgy or questionable fashion. Want to dye my hair pink? Wear a green scarf with a lavender dress? Nobody ever questions my fashion sense or asks me to change my multicolored striped tights, because I’m an art person, and art people dress weird.
- Because I work for a small company, I get many opportunities to spread my experience around and learn different parts of the business. It’s like cross-training for runners. Not only do I get to do art and product development, but I also input, test and troubleshoot software, get my hands into the marketing and brand identity design ever so often, work with customers, help design the website, and even dabble in sales at trade shows a few times a year. I get to see how the whole machine works, not just one small cog of it. The only thing I haven’t gotten into is accounting or shipping and receiving – and really, I’m all set with that stuff. My job isn’t glamorous, but it can be interesting and exciting, and I get to flex different brain muscles when duty calls.
- Most importantly, my job is awesome because somebody pays me to make art. I mean, sure I’m talented and everything but seriously…WOO-HOO on the getting a paycheck every week for drawing hearts and flowers on a computer screen! I didn’t have to learn math to get this job, and while I am secretly pretty good at math I like to keep up the guise that I’m not – don’t ask me why, I guess I feel I’m more authentic that way.
*Head-Designer-Of-Everything-In-The-World: the ultimate worldly designer that I fancy myself being when I grow up (although it would require the lifespan of a vampire to gather all the experience)…Art Director, Interior Designer, Architect, Clothing Designer, Fashion Editor, Magazine Layout Designer, Book Cover Designer, Fine Artist, Photographer and Web Designer. And that’s just the art jobs…don’t get me started on all the science and animal related jobs I’d love to have.
**I mean “toiling peon” with the utmost respect and love. I also giggle whenever I say it, because there is really no such thing as a peon in a company of 35 people.