Speaking in Tongues: Part 1April 20, 2012 No Comments
Hey folks, today I want to talk to you about making your voice heard. The sad truth of our industry is that we are all narcissists. However, like many career paths, we all start at the bottom. It can be very frustrating for a young designer to have their work completely overhauled by their superior. In my various internships, I have had moments were I saw work I was proud of being deconstructed before my eyes. So what did I do? Did I put them in their place? Did I tell them to move over a young innovator is here now? No! One of the worst things you can do in business is burn bridges. So how do you make your voice heard in a setting where you have no power? Well I can’t speak for everybody, but I can tell you what has worked for me.
The best way to get your way is to back it up with good old fashioned explanations. When your boss questions why you used one element over another, you better have a well thought out answer if not, you have absolutely no leg to stand on. After all you went to school for this and if you can justify your actions with actual terms and experience, instead of vague opinions, your boss is going to respect that. The best part is even if your ideas are still heavily edited, I guarantee that you gained some respect, respect which might lead to a bigger voice in projects down the road. Employers want a professional attitude, the difference between not wanting to change something because you like it and not wanting to change something because it will ruin the aesthetics is huge. It shows that you’re a serious professional with a focus on the good of the company. It seems like such a small thing but trust me, it’s the difference between being viewed as strong, and being viewed as selfish.
Something else you can do to gain a greater voice is to simply take criticism with a healthy attitude. Recognize the fact that you are young, and you don’t know everything. Absorb the lessons your bosses teach you, after all they have been doing this for years. Not only will this make you a stronger designer, but it can also gain you more clout. Humans are social creatures, and our moods and attitudes drastically affect those around us. That’s why you’re much more likely to laugh at a joke if somebody else is laughing as well. If you approach your work with an open attitude it will, at least in part, be passed to your superiors. Quite simply if you’re open to their ideas then they’re going to be more open to yours.
Dear readers, trust me I am aware that I basically just told you to be the office goody-goody. These suggestions will work, but as always it’s best to approach everything in balance. Next week we’ll discuss why it’s best to show your independence and originality in an office setting, and how you can reconcile being agreeable, and maintaining your individuality. If you have any thoughts on the subject we discussed today feel free to share them in the comments section. As always all opinions are personal and do not reflect the opinions of my employer. See you next week.
Written By: Zach Gatliff
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