I wasn’t sure about this part-time job. How could I have known it would turn it into a DREAM while I pursue my DREAMS? In fact, the same thing has happened with many of my past employers. What is my secret?
I’ve got to warn you, this may sound a little too simple but…
* I LISTEN
Is it really that simple? Having had “dream” results several times, I think so. And so does one of my favorite authors Dale Carnegie as noted in his famous book “How To Win Friends And Influence People.” Take my most recent success story for instance.
Although I had been considered all over the animation industry, I still needed a job. The marketing manager at the Weber State Campus Store offered me a part-time graphic design position. I had left graphic design to pursue animation, but for some reason I felt good about it….probably because they have some REMARKABLE management there. In my first month there, I did a lot of listening. I listened to a disgruntled student employee (noting mistakes not to make). I listened to the various managers and asked questions to better understand THEIR desires and visions for the future. And one of the most important conversation I listened to was concerning the athletic department’s desire to cartoon the recently redesigned university mascot.
It started with a bunch of pencil sketches and a lot happened during Waldo’s creation including: all the rebranding and graphic design needs of the story, my brief adventures studying under DreamWorks’ Animation Head Rex Grignon, and a brief video game animation gig on DreamWorks’ Dragon Adventure. But I kept coming back to Weber, LISTENING, adapting according to THEIR feedback while pushing my own skills within the parameters and now we have the new official design as shown above.
For the past few years, I’ve dreamt of sculpting a character in clay. When I heard they hoped to make toys from Waldo’s new design, I didn’t hesitate for a moment and spent two days sculpting. The whole store was excited about it and I got to check another dream off my list (though I’d willingly sculpt again).
After the store director (who leads a group of great LISTENERS) came up to me and said he wanted me to build something animation oriented (I heard him loud and clear). I created a new character, “The Imposter” who represents any lie that persists about the campus store. We used many talents for store employees to create this video (I also animated the video tagged on the end) and we have even better videos coming soon!
Now, I can’t guarantee this approach will work in every workplace, but I can guarantee it’s better than the alternative: too often the human reaction is to demand the workplace change to meet their needs, but I have found that if I just listen I can make changes to the way I personally work. If I keep dialogue open and honest, I believe all parties can benefit.
So why not try it? And remember the more interested you are in supporting your employers’ cause, the better! Let us know how it goes!