Loving Abstract Things Is An Odd Thing To Do

I was reading Dave Trott’s peerless blog the other day when I came across this comment from Vinny Warren, creator of Whasssuppp and peerless (in a different way) blogger himself:

after getting fired once (right before xmas, nice) i read an article in the New Yorker the gist of which was “never fall in love with the company because they never fall in love with you”. it made a big impact on me. and made me realize that as creatives we are essentially self-employed, whether we realize it or not. and that our job is essentially to ensure we are marketable at all times. and to never drink the proverbial corporate kool-aid.

Above it was another interesting comment from Rick:

In my first job I made friends with a freelance writer. He never wanted a permanent role because he thought it would make him complacent.
Every agency he worked for got the best out of him. If they didn’t, he figured they wouldn’t ask him back.

These are really worth two different posts, but I’ll try to combine them without fucking the whole thing in the ringpiece.

The idea of creatives being self employed makes a lot of sense. In reality, you motivate yourself, work the hours you choose (I mean work, as opposed to sitting at your desk reading shit like this) and apply your own standards to what you produce. What your boss thinks or makes you do is another matter, but if you’re not satisfied, you do more.

How that relates to falling in love with a company is interesting. Companies obviously create cultures that you may or may not feel an affinity with. For example, the staff at Wiedens seem to drink the Kool-Aid more than the people who work at most agencies. That in turn makes them happier and prouder to work there, perhaps making them stay longer than they otherwise would. However, with nearly all companies, what you are really doing with much of your extra effort is making the man at the top richer. So when you write a line that saves an account or stay until 3am to get a pitch right, the benefit might come in the form of a raise, but more often it’s a pat on the back as the real cash goes upstairs. If you’re OK with that, then you’re OK with that.

But it’s true that companies will not love you back. They can’t – They’re companies: basically, abstract notions that don’t have feelings, no matter how much they suggest they do. The people who work there are one thing, but what happens beyond that is all in your mind.

Actually, the other point is too big to go into now, so I’ll just leave it there and come back to it next week or something.