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Writing Under the Radar
By: Jerry Northup
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If you’re in the creative field, you know that not every minute of your day is spent attentively tuned to the job you were hired to do. This is what other creatives, myself included, have called going “under the radar.” And, it’s a very useful tool, as long as you don’t take it too far.
If you don’t know the answer, don’t ask the question. Don’t push for hard answers or challenge the motives. It could be your turn in the hot seat next. Here are a few reasons for it:
  • Everybody does freelance work. We all have friends and family, plus former and current associates. And, usually, they all need something or other at one time or another. It’s no great shakes to say “Yes” to requests from those you care about, and especially those who can make the next fill-up at the gas station a little less painful. If you keep score on what others are doing all the time, you will be the one to lose credibility.
  • Getting your mind off “it” will help focus your mind on “it.” Naturally, it’s up to personal choice, but I think if you can get something done at work that will lessen your anxiety, do it. Your blood pressure will thank you, and you’ll clear your mind of the clutter, which should make your day job easier. You might even make it home for a late dinner.
  • Never lose sight of who writes the checks. Taking on those small freelance projects is generally an acceptable use of “free time,” provided they don’t infringe on intellectual property and/or company resources. But remember, it’s a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Feigning ignorance will get you out of hot water…once. I’ve it heard it said that sometimes it’s easier to “beg forgiveness than ask permission.” That usually is good for a second “lifeline,” but there is no third.
I’ve watched these “guidelines” broken over and over again. If you’re pushing it time and time again, you’re either on your own way out the door or you will soon be shown it. Remember, you don’t always get to make the choice you think you get to make.

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About the Author
Originally from Toledo, Ohio, Gerald Northup has written professionally in the fields of advertising, marketing, social media, and corporate communications since the early ’90s. For a look at his blog posts and social media articles, as well as TV, radio, print, and website samples from his online portfolio, visit gnorthup1979.wix.com/44words.

Jerry is also a talented guitarist, an avid tennis player, and a lifelong student of linguistics.

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