Considering creative careers: a new series

Creative Director (CCA)

A lot of people have been re-thinking their careers over the past few years.  Some by choice, some not.  Here are a few examples:

  • the civil engineer whose construction firm slowly withered on the vine as the commercial real estate industry dried up
  • the sales manager who, after years of meeting progressively more challenging production goals, traveling extensively and hardly spending time with family, finds her job eliminated
  • the coordinator whose role has become impossible because she’s been asked to take on the work of every other person who left the department and wasn’t replaced
  • the baby boomer who was planning to work for 3 or 4 more years before retiring but who was laid off when the job was outsourced
  • the young college graduate who cannot find a suitable job in his or her chosen field

In some cases, these people are stopping for a moment to ask themselves what do I really want? Sometimes they just want to find an alternate way to pay their rent or support their family.  But often, they are looking for more meaning in their work. Or more flexibility. Or to feel like they have more control over their own destiny. Many are turning to creative pursuits as a result.

If this resonates for you, I have good news: According to an article in the Atlantic, “The growth in creative class jobs is a bright spot on the employment horizon. And the growth in these jobs in smaller metros…is especially good news.”

The definition of creative class is quite broad and includes science, technology, and engineering; as well as those types of work we traditionally think of such as arts, culture, media, and entertainment. It may also include skilled trades such as wood working or producing custom-made bicycles, as highlighted in this great article in the Orlando Sentinel:,0,3848199.story

Though you may be interested in a creative career, you may also have a lot of questions or even misconceptions about the creative career path.  So, I’m beginning a new series.  I’ll be bringing you interviews with folks who have embarked recently or many years ago on creative career paths.  I hope you’ll enjoy their perspectives and perhaps find inspiration.

Who best to create great companies? Artists

I found this fascinating article on (truly my favorite business magazine of all time) about a new book by Jim Stengel called Grow.  I have not yet read the book but am intrigued and excited by the premise that the most successful businesses are led by “business artists”.

Basically, the idea is that creative vision and relentless pursuit of the ideal drive innovation and products that truly inspire (including inpsiring buying behavior).  Steve Jobs is exhibit 1.

I love this idea and I agree with it.  The brands I truly love and am loyal to do not manage to the lowest common denominator.  They are much more focused on quality and customer experience.  They know it’s not all about efficiency.  It’s a certain je ne sais quoi.

In this spirit of celebrating creativity, I’ll be kicking off a series soon on creative careers.  In the meantime, watch for new LinkedIn tips.