Tag Archives: Business

ADSpiration: Interbest’s Male Stripper Billboard

Just this morning, as I was browsing through the net some visual inspirations to fuel my hump day, I came across this genius campaign made by  a Dutch outdoor advertising company, Interbest. They used a male stripper to build awareness of their billboard visibility in a campaign that has won Gold at the 2011 Clio Awards. The campaign involved a progression of billboards each showing the overweight man in fewer clothes with the text: “The sooner you advertise here, the better”. Just in time, the billboard is taken up with an advertisement for Radio 2, BBC’s national radio station. The campaign is a development of an earlier series of billboards which won a Silver Outdoor Lion at Cannes in 2010.

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Credits to the genius brains behind this campaign, Y&R Not Just Film’s  team, art director Marq Strooy, copywriter Robin Zuiderveld, production manager Tilly van Duivenbooden, photographer Morad Bouchakour, account manager Jacqueline Loomans, and advertiser’s supervisor Meindert Van Den Heuvel.

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The only way to…

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

 


Types of Job That Will Destroy You: The Bob

Any of you could wind up in one of these jobs, at any moment, without realizing it. The shitty jobs I’m about to describe aren’t specific positions or industries — they’re situations. Some of you — hell, maybe even most of you — are already in one of them.

The thing is, when people try to think up the worst job possible, most of them go right to shit. As in, “It could be worse, you could be shoveling shit somewhere!” or “At least we’re not working in a sewer! In shit!” But that type of job isn’t as bad as you think — you actually get used to the smell of poop, the same as you acclimate to a job where you work in brutal heat or bitter cold.

But these jobs below? They’re the ones you never get used to, where the longer you do it, the more it eats away at you. So let’s take a moment to say a prayer for ..

#1. The Bob

Also Known As:

The one whose job it is to make everyone else’s jobs harder, or to recommend they be fired.

On some level, we all realize there is often a big fucking gulf between what workers enjoy, and what actually makes a company profitable. Some of what the company needs the workers to do is going to piss the workers off, and somebody has to make them do it. And that’s fine, as long as that guy is the boss. But that’s often not how it works. Often the person cracking the whip is a Bob.


“How do you spell ‘Fuck off, Chad’?”

This is an employee who is either on the same level of the rest of the staff, or they’re temporarily elevated to some kind of task force (to raise quality or whatever), or they’re outside consultants brought in to shape up the operation, like in the Office Space example.

But one way or the other, if you’re a Bob, you’re a traitor. The employees don’t work for you, your name isn’t on the door, you don’t write the checks, you don’t have the ability to pay them a sweet bonus. Yet, you have the power to make their lives miserable.


“I’ll be working with you for the next couple of weeks. Where can I put my giant face?”

For Example …

I’m going to use a term here. Some of you won’t recognize it. The rest of you will reflexively feel your genitals crawl up into your body:

ISO 9000.

ISO 9000 is a certification that businesses can get that declares they have their shit together. Which sounds great, but from the employee point of view, ISO 9000 means a task that used to take two mouse clicks now takes two mouse clicks and three pages of exhaustive forms explaining what they just did. It’s endless, hellish record-keeping. Getting certified means ISO 9000 consultants come into the office and hover over every employee, constantly reminding them to log their time and fill out their forms.

Exactly 100 percent of the things the consultant is telling the employees to do involve making their job much, much harder. When they leave, ISO compliance will be handed off to someone within the company. And everyone will want to murder them. They’re now a Bob.


“No, he’s just hovering around, staring at me like a fucking idiot.”

But the key is you could get promoted to a Bob job tomorrow. Maybe you’ll get asked to work in Quality Assurance, recording and reporting your fellow workers’ errors. Maybe you’ll be put on a team to create a report about the department’s “efficiency”.


Types of Job That Will Destroy You: The Cromulationist

Any of you could wind up in one of these jobs, at any moment, without realizing it. The shitty jobs I’m about to describe aren’t specific positions or industries — they’re situations. Some of you — hell, maybe even most of you — are already in one of them.

The thing is, when people try to think up the worst job possible, most of them go right to shit. As in, “It could be worse, you could be shoveling shit somewhere!” or “At least we’re not working in a sewer! In shit!” But that type of job isn’t as bad as you think — you actually get used to the smell of poop, the same as you acclimate to a job where you work in brutal heat or bitter cold.

But these jobs below? They’re the ones you never get used to, where the longer you do it, the more it eats away at you. So let’s take a moment to say a prayer for ..

#2. The Assistant Cromulationist

Also Known As:

The highly technical job that is impossible to explain to those both inside and out of the workplace.

If you used to watch Friends, you remember the running joke about how nobody knew what exactly Chandler did for a living. He was always exasperated by this (“I told you, it’s statistical analysis and data reconfiguration!”).

Like the Laughingstock, the person with this type of job physically cringes at the thought of having to answer the “So what do you do?” question, and eventually invents a fake job title or a ridiculously dumbed down version (“I work on computers”) for conversation purposes. And if awkward conversation was the only problem, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. The real problem is when none of their co-workers understand their job either.


“I … well … I put stuff in water.”

For Example …

We have a disproportionately computer literate audience, and I know a lot of you aspire to work in the field. Well, some of you are going to wind up as the one-man computer tech support team in an office full of old timers who still regard computers as a suspicious, yet necessary form of black magic. Maybe you’ll be the guy who maintains the online orders, in a department where everybody else hits the road and sells the old-fashioned way.

This is any job where the other employees’ task is labor intensive or requires “real world” work, and you’re just sitting there “playing on your computer.” That’s the key; because they don’t understand what you do, and because you aren’t capable of explaining it so that they’d understand, they tend to assume you’re just jerking off all day.


Even if they’re right.

So, they start treating you like dead weight. When profits are tight and it comes time to cut staff, everyone will point the finger at you. If lovable old Frank in Sales gets the ax instead, everyone will resent you even more (“They fire a hard-working veteran like ol’ Frank, but they keep Dave just because he can use the fancy computer machine?!? He don’t even wear a tie to work!”)

And that’s assuming that the people doing the firing also aren’t confused about your value to the company. If your job is, for instance, to prevent a problem that the average person isn’t even aware of, then good luck explaining that to the guy who has to make layoff decisions based on how much profit you’re bringing in. Think of the frustrated employees in Office Space trying to justify what they do to “the Two Bobs” (the two downsizing consultants, who both happened to be named Bob).


And most companies employ a couple of them.

Then again, being a Bob (wait for my next post)  isn’t exactly a sweet gig …


Why You Can’t Buy Creativity

“The work had better be good, I’m paying them enough.” Over the years I’ve heard this statement – or versions of it – from many different managers charged with getting creative work out of their teams.”

From a conventional management perspective, it probably sounds like common sense. But to anyone who understands the nature of creativity and what motivates creative people, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Rewarding people for hard work is a great thing to do, but it’s no guarantee of loyalty – and certainly no guarantee of creativity. And using rewards as an incentive – or even a threat – has been proven not to work when it comes to complex, challenging, creative work.

When you’re focused on a reward, you’re not focused on the work itself. And as any creative will tell you, doing outstanding creative work – whether solving a technical problem or creating a work of art – requires 100% focus on the task in hand, to the point of obsession. You have to love what you do.

Of course companies need to pay people well. If they don’t, compensation becomes a bone of contention, and a distraction from their work. But if you really want outstanding creative performance, you need people to focus on intrinsic motivations – factors inherent in the work itself. Things like challenge, interest, learning, meaning, freedom, and creative flow. They are what really motivates creative people – and the research demonstrates a strong link between levels of intrinsic motivation and creativity.

“If you really want outstanding creative performance, you need people to focus on intrinsic motivations – factors inherent in the work itself.”

In The Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida discusses the results of an Information Week survey of 20,000 IT workers, who were asked “What matters most to you about your job?”. Florida points out that not only did money (an extrinsic motivation) rank only fourth, behind three different types of intrinsic motivation, but that “nine of the ten highly valued job factors are intrinsic”. And remember, it was a survey of IT workers, who might be expected to take a more hard-nosed approach to motivation than more artistic types.

You Can’t Buy Creativity – You Have to Inspire It

Money buys you people’s time. It should also guarantee you basic professional competence. But you don’t get outstanding creativity by simply offering more money. You get mercenaries.

If you want real creativity – the magic ingredient X that sets the product apart – you need to inspire it, by showing them what makes the work fascinating, challenging, meaningful, and fun. And you need to give them freedom to do it their way, rather than micro-managing every step.

How to Keep Your Creative Spark Alight

If you’re a creative, you probably experience a tension between following your own creative inclinations vs giving the market (your boss, clients, or customers) what it wants. Spend too much time on your own pet projects and you risk disappointing the VIPs in your working life. But if you spend too much time on well-paid work that doesn’t inspire you, your creativity will fade away.

So it’s vital to strike a balance between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations in the work you take on. Sometimes you need to take on a less glamorous project or job to pay the bills – if so, make time for more interesting creative pursuits, in the evenings and weekends if need be. This will keep your creative spark alive and make you less resentful of the grunt work.

And challenge yourself to take a creative approach to any job you take on, no matter how unpromising the brief. It could be as mundane as packaging elastic bands, but if you keep coming up with original and valuable solutions, you’ll earn a reputation for priceless creativity.

What Motivates You and Your Team?

Think about the best piece of creative work you ever did – what motivated you to do it?

Any tips on motivating and inspiring creative employees?

 


Types of Job That Will Destroy You: The Rat in a Cage

Any of you could wind up in one of these jobs, at any moment, without realizing it. The shitty jobs I’m about to describe aren’t specific positions or industries — they’re situations. Some of you — hell, maybe even most of you — are already in one of them.

The thing is, when people try to think up the worst job possible, most of them go right to shit. As in, “It could be worse, you could be shoveling shit somewhere!” or “At least we’re not working in a sewer! In shit!” But that type of job isn’t as bad as you think — you actually get used to the smell of poop, the same as you acclimate to a job where you work in brutal heat or bitter cold.

But these jobs below? They’re the ones you never get used to, where the longer you do it, the more it eats away at you. So let’s take a moment to say a prayer for ..

#3. The Rat in a Cage

Also Known As:

The manager or supervisor who has no authority to actually manage the employees under him or her, yet is responsible for their performance.

There is this huge, obvious, yet shockingly common flaw in modern businesses. You’ll have the employees who actually make the stuff or perform the service. Then right above them is a supervisor (you), who is ultimately responsible for the performance of those employees (or at least, you’ll catch hell when they slack off). But you do not have the power to fire them. Or reprimand them or reward them or punish them or give them the smack with the back of your hand that would send them tumbling to the floor that you dream of giving them each and every night.

For Example …

Maybe you’re at a family business, but you, the supervisor, are not a member of the family. But the kid working under you, the one who is scanning his balls into the copier, is a member of the family and is thus untouchable. Or, maybe you don’t have firing authority because of some complicated union situation.

Or, maybe the workers are working in your department but not for your department. Say you’re a supervisor in Sales, and the guy the IT department sent over to work on your computers is a dipshit. So he’s cursing while you’re on the phone with clients, he’s drawing boners on your family photos, he’s dicking off and meanwhile, you can’t use your computer to do your job. And you can’t say anything because while you’re a supervisor, you’re not his supervisor.

Sure, you can complain to his supervisor, but you can’t make him take action — that guy is at the exact same level as you. Maybe he’s friends with the dipshit, or maybe all the IT guys look out for their own, and all the next day you’ll hear them chuckling about it when you pass their office.

In other cases, it’s just a matter of the person who could actually fire or suspend incompetent workers not working in the same building, or even in the same city, as the dipshits. You send your complaints up the ladder and they disappear into the clouds somewhere. Then, one day you realize the shitty worker you’re complaining about has worked there longer than you and that 20 years from now, they’ll still be there.

In the end, all you can do is verbally compliment the performers and beg the incompetents to do better. That, and continue to twist your stomach in knots every time they screw up, watching them ruin your career, utterly powerless to stop it.


Your life … totally under his control.

But in case it sounds like I was being too hard on the IT guy back there, let’s hear it for … See my next post! :)


Types of Job That Will Destroy You: The Cog

Any of you could wind up in one of these jobs, at any moment, without realizing it. The shitty jobs I’m about to describe aren’t specific positions or industries — they’re situations. Some of you — hell, maybe even most of you — are already in one of them.

The thing is, when people try to think up the worst job possible, most of them go right to shit. As in, “It could be worse, you could be shoveling shit somewhere!” or “At least we’re not working in a sewer! In shit!” But that type of job isn’t as bad as you think — you actually get used to the smell of poop, the same as you acclimate to a job where you work in brutal heat or bitter cold.

But these jobs below? They’re the ones you never get used to, where the longer you do it, the more it eats away at you. So let’s take a moment to say a prayer for ..

#5. The Cog

Also Known As:

Endless, mindless repetition that could just as easily be accomplished with a machine.

I’m not just talking about boring jobs here — most jobs are boring. Starbucks is boring, but at least the drinks are different from customer to customer, and you can practice making designs in the foam. No, I’m talking about a task that takes five minutes to learn, must be repeated five thousand times a day and never changes. You stand in one spot, you perform the same task, over and over and over.

For Example …

You’ve watched one of those “how stuff is made” type shows, where they visit a factory like this one where they make tasty brownies. And while the job of the “pour the brownie batter into the pan” lady looks boring …

… there is still a fun and satisfying aspect to it. She probably has to worry about the consistency and temperature and amounts of the batter, and she gets to watch her empty pan turn into a bunch of delicious brownies, and she can pretend she’s Willy Wonka.

But then at the very end of the assembly line are the poor fellows whose job is to just stack the brownies into boxes:


Their faces say it all.

All day long. The same number of brownies in every box. An endless stream of boxes that never, ever stop. Even in an automated world, the workforce is absolutely full of these jobs — it’s still cheaper to make a low-paid human pack boxes than to buy an expensive machine.

Now, some stressed out CPA with a hectic office is reading this and saying, “Shit, I’d love to be the guy who puts those little blue stickers on the bananas at the Chiquita factory. That’d be like a vacation to my ulcer-ridden ass.”

Bullshit. It’s like thinking being stranded on a desert island would be a nice break from the daily grind. It’d be peaceful for about an hour, and then you’d start to go insane. Your brain is a supercomputer containing an entire universe of wonders and creativity, and you’re going to make it stare at a row of chips for eight or 12 or 16 hours at a stretch? Oh, and it’s a failure-only job. If you do it perfectly, no one notices. But if you fuck up and the chip tube loader jams, you catch hell.

And when it comes time to ask for a promotion, or to look for a new job, what do you tell them you did? What skill did you learn? How did you better yourself? What job does this qualify you for? What interesting stories do you have to tell when you get together with friends? You’d start looking at that flow of chips and imagining the best years of your life flowing away, one Pringle-shaped moment at a time.


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