Thursday, September 6th, 2012

An Ode to Work: The Raw Joy of Doing One’s Job

I vaguely recall a quote from Raymond Carver about “doing the work.” Unfortunately, I can’t find it, even with modern search technology. I suppose I could look harder, but I’m tired from—you guessed it—doing so much work.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had several major presentations, which meant some late nights for a number of our team members. We are a relatively small office here in San Francisco, and so it was essentially all hands on deck.

I remember one night in particular …

As the art directors scrambled to address last-minute requests and the copywriters (including yours truly) banged away on final, final versions of those blessed sentences no one supposedly reads anymore, it started raining hard as hell with thunder and lightning, a major rarity in Northern California. Like an earthquake in the sky!

We had ordered pizza, and two of the account women opened a bottle of wine. The men, dogged clichés, drank beers left over from another celebration weeks ago. (Perhaps it was for winning the business we now were slaving over?) Someone turned on iTunes. It was almost festive.

For me anyway.

I imagine to many folks, getting work done is life’s nadir, the hard part, but for me it’s the zenith, more fun than Saturday night at the movies. Thank God it’s Monday! Maybe the younger employees won’t admit it, but I know deep down they feel the same way … the good ones anyway. And we’ve got a lot of good ones.

I know we praise God and kiss our children, but—again from my perspective—doing our jobs and doing them well is what it’s all about. There’s something magical about doing the work. From concept to creation and presentation, it’s the cat’s pajamas. Le raison d’être.

Given how many people are out of work, viewing one’s job as a calling seems that much more poignant. It is a blessing and not a chore.

This is why I thought about Raymond Carver and his lost ode to work. Those perfectly crafted stories, brutal and brilliant, and the effort he put into them. It is also why, later that evening, after finally leaving the office, the rain still drumming on the dirty skylights of my corporate apartment, I wrote this.

Steffan Postaer is Executive Creative Director of gyro San Francisco.

Follow him @Steffan1

He blogs regularly at Gods of Advertising.

Originally published at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network

One Comment

  1. Steffan,

    Wholeheartedly agree. You should know I never went off to advertising school and have kept on writing.




    That is more complicated. The further you go in writing the more alone you are. Most of your best and oldest friends die. Others move away. You do not see them except rarely, but you write and have much the same contact with them as though you were together at the café in the old days. You exchange comic, sometimes cheerfully obscene and irresponsible letters, and it is almost as good as talking. But you are more alone because that is how you must work and the time to work is shorter all the time and if you waste it you feel you have committed a sin for which there is no forgiveness. -Hemingway

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