In this series, I’m looking at the world of the creative professional from the perspective of a father offering his best advice and insights to a daughter who’s exploring it as a potential career option. The first post looked at Perks #1 and #2 within the profession – the toys we get to play with and the other creative people we get to work with. Part 2 looked outside – amazing Perk #3 – to the companies and people who hire us. This third and final post is about the pay-offs, material and otherwise.
Amazing Perk #4: Making a difference
I promise not to get all soft and gushy here, but it’s a well-known fact that for a significant proportion of people in all walks of life, job fulfillment ranks as highly if not more highly than making money or “getting ahead” in their careers.
We all like to see the fruits of our labour taking form out in the world – whether you’re a mechanic or an HR leader or a builder of bridges. It validates our talents and abilities, our sense of identity. And the icing on the cake? Making a difference in other people’s lives, not just our own.
Changing the world, one project at a time
We aren’t emergency-room surgeons and we don’t prevent famines or pestilence, but we creative types are making a difference in substantive, meaningful and, yes, immensely rewarding ways. Let me offer the following examples, drawn from my experience in marketing:
- Communicating clearly: Creating words and images that help people understand what the heck you actually do and why they should do business with you.
- Polishing the gems: Attracting customers by shining the best possible light on your business’s most compelling and valuable attributes.
- Keepin’ ’em coming back for more: Businesses that are standing still are falling behind; the creative professional’s job is to keep every client on their own paying customers’ radar.
- Feeding the pipeline: Attracting new prospective customers.
- Weathering the storms: When the going gets tough, the tough get… marketing! Even, and especially, when budgets are tight.
Any and all of these things contribute to the well-being of people and enterprises in very concrete ways: Helping people keep their companies afloat and indeed growing. Saving jobs and creating new ones. Bringing new products and services that make a difference in the lives of everyone who uses them. Doing your part to make sure your own team, your own company, is successful.
Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with very small and very large organizations. Personally, I like getting up close and personal with decision-makers and front-line staff alike, which is not always possible in big companies. But even there, it’s possible to make a difference: for example, working with a senior- or mid-level manager who’s on a mission to energize their teams or disrupt a rigid or outdated system, or to give their competitors a better run for their money.
So, have I convinced my daughter to join the ranks? The choice of course is hers, and there are many great ones out there. And if it is in the realm of the creative professional? All I can say is that for people that are committed to making their living and making a difference while they’re at it, the Sparketers door is always open…