I used to manage the entire overnight operations of the banking arm of a Fortune 500 company. I was promoted to the position because I could see inherent flaws in certain types of operational practices and came to the table with multiple solutions that might work to solve that problem. Said company was impressed, and thought “let’s give this guy a team comprised of student loans specialists, as well as a smattering of investment ninjas from the consumer banking department.” There was a parade, balloon animals, and all was good in the world.
That was, to put it bluntly, the second worst decision made in any of my vocational arrangements. The first worst decision was me accepting the job. I am not in any way a Leader of Men. I don’t have a lot of compassion for people who don’t want to work, and I have little patience for laziness. I work my ass off, and if anyone is working with me, I expect the same. I don’t work well in the traditional American Corporate Management structure because I don’t want to babysit, coddle, or motivate anyone… I just want to get the job done. Quickly, and in a preferably efficient manner.
The first realization that they had made a terrible mistake was when they had me take the Carnegie Strengths in Business test. The typical Strengths that a strong manager would have were WAAAAAAY at the bottom of my list, whereas problem solving traits were towards the top. Something called Ideation was the giant cherry on top.
What is Ideation? Well, it’s a mindset that is always thinking of new ways to do something, or just new somethings in general. I do it all the time. I am doing it right now. Imagine, now, working for someone who isn’t in the slightest bit worried about how your work performance is today, because he’s thinking of ways to streamline the way you do your job in the future? It’s a trainwreck scenario for a call center. For a creative job, though, it’s pretty cool. It’s the kind of thing that turns a mundane afternoon of reading history into the life and times of vampire Andrew Jackson.
I am self employed. I get to make decisions that could make or break our business, and that keeps me pretty motivated to stay on task and keep things moving. The only time it gets bad, though, is when my brain starts working on something else altogether. We might be working on new menu items for the restaurant, but my brain is trying to figure out how to work a gear on a puppet. I don’t make puppets, but my brain is trying to work it out. I have to shove that aside right now, and focus on the task at hand.
Here’s the problem, though; I have this idea for a game literally rampaging around the brain right now. Yesterday, it was a variation on the traditional Rummy card game, but instead of face cards and number cards it would have been body parts and sabotage cards, with the goal of laying down a stitched together monster before your opponent can sabotage your lab. Today, it’s a deck building game. (I don’t know anything about deck building games…) Tomorrow, it might be a traditional board game with dice and pawns. By next week, it might be a fully interactive RPG using puppets (what is the deal with freaking puppets this week?).
This is the curse of the creative process. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s a huge part of what makes me who I am, and part of how I go from drawing a graphic novel in July to having a published coloring book in August. The creative ammunition is crammed in there, waiting to be fired off. I just need to aim a bit.