January 26, 2011

Why I Go To Work Every Morning

Why do I get out of my warm bed and into my cold car every morning and drive thirty minutes through traffic to get to work?  What brings me back everyday?  It’s much more than a paycheck. Feeling like you’re accomplishing something, either as a team or as an individual, can inspire an important level of motivation.  If you’re able to work as part of a team, collaborating with a group of passionate people, it expands the daily struggle into something more enduring.  On top of that, having a fun work environment can make the difference between a “good” job and lousy one.  I’d like to make a bold statement to say I do have this kind of job–and that’s worth getting up in the morning for.



I’m lucky that I can say that I’m proud of the work we do.  It’s exciting to me to present designs, and even more so when I see that excitement being transferred to a client.  Seeing the transition from raw, abstract ideas to a visually communicated message is one of my favorite parts of my job.  A few weeks ago I asked one of our developers if he’d started putting together a certain deliverable, and I exclaimed at his speed when he told me he was already done.  He responded with, “That’s what we do here at A&D.”  It sounds like I’m not the only one who’s proud.



To borrow from that popular teen musical, we’re all in this together.  Working collaboratively, we can draw from the collective talents of our company as a whole.  I care about the projects that I have absolutely no hand or say in.   If I have a question (which, let’s be honest, I often do), I can approach someone who’s uninvolved and talk it through with him or her.

Of course, not everyday will be a joyride.  There are definitely days when I want to bang my head against a table, but because I know the day’s frustration is part of a larger purpose, that we’re all invested in this company, I feel like I can return the next day and tackle obstacles anew.  It’s like being on a sports team–even if practice went really poorly, you know that you’re struggling towards a larger goal as a team.



In a creative industry like ours, we emphasize relationships with clients, and of course that’s one of our highest priorities, but shouldn’t we also prioritize relationships between coworkers?  We have to see each other every day, after all.  I was glad to discover just how important that relationship-building is here. We go out to lunch together, we go bowling together, and probably most importantly, we laugh together.

When we laugh, we release tension and relieve stress.  We need it as a break. Wired magazine wrote an interesting article about the benefits of Twitter and Facebook to creative productivity, which you can check out here. Author Brendan Koerner says in the article, “regularly stepping back from the project at hand can be essential to success. And social networks are particularly well suited to stoking the creative mind.”  At A&D, our emphasis on collaboration plays a part here, in the form of the occasional all-company email picture attachment of sweater-wearing cats (to help others relieve stress, you know).

We spend more time at work than at home, so we’d better enjoy it.  At the end of the day, a group of passionate, motivated, collaborative people who want to be here will produce some great work; much more so than a group of people who trudge to work every day just for that Friday paycheck.  At the risk of sounding promotional (too late?)–I love my job.