Create > Communicate

I still remember the conversation I had 2 years ago, interviewing for my first job.

It was for my first big boy job, a junior accounts position at a big advertising agency in San Francisco that any recent graduate would be excited about.

I remember my interviewer asking about some of my student work and I explained why I wasn’t pursuing a creative position, saying that “I would rather my job be dependent on my communication abilities rather than my creative execution abilities.”

A year later I left that job.

You see, I thought I was a good communicator. It turns out that I’m not that kind of communicator. I found it takes a handful of skills to be a successful accounts person, and while I possessed a few of these skills, others were really not strengths of mine. Over time, I realized the work I was doing simply wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I’m sure all recent graduates learn a lot and go through growing pains in their first job. Honestly it took me a long time to get over the frustration and shame of not understanding why I wasn’t “getting it.” After leaving the job I knew wouldn’t make me happy, it took time to sort through all I had been challenged by and know to be true about myself, and figure out what it all meant.

The main thing I learned, is that I need to make things.

I thought I liked making, creating; thought I could hang it up for awhile and go be successful at being a communicator for a time, but even when I came home from work and closed my computer for the night, I was making little trinkets—you should have seen the presents my friends and family receivedwallets and keychains and cutting boards.

See, I missed the creative work. The brainstorming and open-endedness of it all, owning a tangible part of the work, and using my communication skills to defend the work and collaborate to make it better.

So I figured out I need to make things, now I’m working on what I want to make, and I’ve got a pretty good idea.

I think I’m realizing what they mean by “fail faster,” because if you’re failing, you’re learning. I think we ought to change the definition of the word “failure” to mean something we can embrace and learn from instead of something that can paralyze us with fear.

Each of us is a work in progress, friends. Maybe if we admit that to ourselves it will be a little easier to fail, and fail forward.

Thanks for listening, let’s talk again soon.


See some of the things I’ve been making here