Hug an advertiser

There are tough elements in everyone's job, which means we all need help along the way. Here are three examples of help given.

1. Inherent risk
I worked for a roofing company for four years. Roofing was, as they joked, "second from the bottom on the job list...one up from shark bait." It was hard work, especially the industrial roof "cold tar tear-offs" which took place at night. No skin could be exposed to the tar dust, or else the sun at daybreak would heat it and melt it into your pores, sending you to the ER with your skin burning and your eyes swelling shut.

Gross, I know, but I've seen it happen. It was a real risk. Yet there was a veteran employee who always remembered to bring extra rolls of duct tape for newbies to dust-proof their outfits.

2. Fatigue
In my early twenties, I taught in an inner-city high school. The previous teacher had a breakdown from the high stress and walked out in October, and then the classes suffered further strain with over a month of day-to-day subs. When I finally entered the scene in December, it was chaos. Every day I wanted to throw up because I wasn't sure about anything beyond survival - and there were times when even that was in question.

One morning an old man drove past me before I entered the school. Like an angel in my time of need, he hollered from the car window, "Keep going...We need you...Our kids need you...." His voice trailed off down the street, but his words did not.

3. Compromise
I was talking with a friend about graphic design. He's very talented and able to "coolify" just about anything, like dirt if he wanted to. But this presents a temptation for him. Coolifying a product, and finding the inherent cool in a product, are two different matters. The latter is genuinely cool, while the former adds pizazz which may have nothing to do with the product. It's the pizazz, unfortunately, that entices when deadlines pinch because it's such an easy solution.

I encouraged him to keep bringing out the inherent cool. This is much harder than coolifying, but it's the honest approach that will not only pay off for him in the long run, but also do a great service to his projects now.


This week: Help somebody in their work.

Like the tape-carrying veteran roofer, the school angel, and the anti-coolifyer, we can help somebody in the their work. If you need a place to start, find someone in the advertising world this week. (All employees can benefit, but I'm mostly concerned with these folks.) Perhaps you work with or for a copywriter, photographer, graphic designer, media planner, or creative director. Or you know somebody who does. Or you know a student preparing to enter this field.

Give that somebody a hug. Take him out to lunch. Encourage her to continue serving God and loving neighbors as she faces constant temptations and pressures.

Like the man who hollered from his window, you never know what a blessing you might be.

10 comments:

L.L. Barkat December 23, 2008 at 5:11 PM  

I like that idea of bringing out the inherent cool. It used to be hard for me to do that if I couldn't find it within the product, didn't believe in what was being promoted.

So, yeah, hugs are important.

Sam Van Eman December 23, 2008 at 6:58 PM  

i can't imagine having to deal with that, l.l.

in my present job, i just drop something if i can't find value in it. i shouldn't take that freedom for granted.

Sam Van Eman December 29, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

poor guy. hang in there, m. joshua! somebody's got to do your line of work, and we need all the good influence we can get. press on for the Kingdom!

Andrea Emerson December 30, 2008 at 7:30 PM  

Nice post, as usual. What struck me most was the story of the stranger shouting words of encouragement as he drove by you.

If we could only remember how much power our words carry ... It doesn't take much to impact someone's life. (Like a hug.)

Sam Van Eman December 31, 2008 at 10:03 AM  

thanks, andrea. that story is one of the most significant work memories i have. his words saved me that semester.

happy new year!

Marcus Goodyear January 7, 2009 at 11:28 AM  

Sam, you mentioned dropping things that have no value. That's the basic gist of everything Marcus Buckingham says.

I used to do the same thing as a teacher. Certain "required" reports were not being read. So I stopped turning them in. Guess how many people noticed? I was doing the important work, and ignoring the unimportant.

Of course, that always assumes we can wisely discern the important from the unimportant. Sometimes I get confused...

Sam Van Eman January 7, 2009 at 1:22 PM  

yes to discernment, and to discipline. sometimes i know that a task is unimportant, but i'm good at it and want to do it, so i keep doing it.

then i'm left with a pile of important things i'm not so good at and don't want to do.

thanks also for the connection with marcus buckingham. i knew about strengthsfinder but not about him. here is a great interview with him at ohio state.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ8yza6pOPA&eurl=http://www.marcusbuckingham.com/blog/

Sam Van Eman January 7, 2009 at 4:18 PM  

bought a copy yesterday, bob. i'll let you know, but i did read this at "church marketing sucks," and this at tonymorganlive.

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