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September 21, 2017
Inject Some Creativity Into Your Boring Job
 

You’ve always had a creative streak in you. Maybe you even went to school to nurture it into a creative career. Chances are, that plan hasn’t come to fruition. Most people who go to school to be in a creative career in advertising, end up doing something on the opposite end of the spectrum.
 

You may be one of the few who isn’t going to accept having a non-creative career. You are determined to do what it takes to reboot your career. In the meantime, there is a detriment to your prospective success if you allow your present job to grind your creative psyche into powder. For example, a negative attitude about your current situation can affect your personality, making you less attractive to a more innovative company.
 

A good plan of action to keep yourself optimistic and active in your efforts to grow. Here are five ways to help you mine creative opportunities in your present job.
 

1.    Even a bad job can teach you something good. Think about the worst job you’ve ever had. You learned something from that position that can serve you in a creative career. The better your attitude in your present boring job, the more you’ll learn. Determine to groom skills like team work, organization skills. Some employers will even pay for training for those skills.
 

2.    Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t allow a non-creative job to lull you into a “phone it in” mindset. That’s not stretching you or growing your creative skills. Think about a skill that would help you improve your portfolio. Maybe it’s video editing. Learn how to use editing tools. Maybe it’s technical skill, like coding. Start training to further your creative skills through workshops or tutoring. Learn creative writing or hand skills like drawing typography. Maybe you need to learn something that you don’t enjoy. If it will make you a better creative, it’s worth the investment.
 

3.    Work on team skills. Read about the companies you where you dream of working. You’ll find they have strong team cultures. Read some of the leading books on being a leader and team builder. Listen to podcasts by thought leaders on the subject. Find ways to use team skills in your present job, even if it isn’t a great team environment. If you hone your team skills now, they’ll flourish when you reach a work culture that values team work.
 

4.    Get into your customer’s shoes. Serving your current employer's customer begins with understanding their goals. If they see you acting to help them succeed, they develop trust in you. As confidence in you grows, so does their willingness to follow your leadership. You now have the opportunity to be more creative. Though your present job may never offer a high level of creative opportunity, growing customer trust hones skills that are invaluable to selling and producing great work. When you work for a more creative company, you'll be ready to contribute.
 

5.    Build the experience you need. The jump to the creative career you want may necessitate going beyond learning opportunities discussed in tips one and two. Prove you can do the job you want, by doing it. Maybe your portfolio of work isn’t at the quality or skill level you need. Invest in skill training. Volunteer to work on pro bono or public service in the creative capacity you hope to do as a career. Find a mentor, someone that is doing what you want to be doing in your career.
 

If you’re willing to persevere, work hard and be optimistic, you will find the present filled with opportunities to grow and become better prepared to have the creative career you want. The question is, do you want it badly enough to invest in yourself?


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Bart Cleveland spent over 30 years helping grow brands like Coca-Cola, The Ritz-Carlton, and CNN. Now, he guides creative professionals to plan and execute successful careers through his business, Job Propulsion Lab℠. He also helps both agencies and marketers nurture customers into advocates through a relationship development program he calls, ACES℠. 
 
Bart launched Ad Age’s most popular blog, Small Agency Diary. He is also a contributing author of the book, The Get A Job Workshop, How To Find Your Way To A Creative Career In Advertising.

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