Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ambition is overrated anyway ...

We have a new co-worker at work (actually she started almost 2 months ago) and it's been a little weird because we're not accustomed to having someone there who's not all jaded, bitter and catatonic. She got a design degree from NC State a couple of years ago but wasn't able to find a job in the field, so she's been working at a doctor's office ever since. She was thrilled to get a design job, and she dug into the work with great relish, asking questions, making suggestions, talking about more logical ways to do things ... the rest of us were a bit amused, having had all ambition and enthusiasm beaten out of us long ago. We weren't sure how to respond--we wanted to be encouraging but it was hard to remember how. But it has been a little more interesting around the place since she got there.

For example, every year my place of employment is responsible for putting on a Big Event That's Fun For The Whole Family (as long as you remember to wash your hands afterwards), and every year at this time, when we have to start preparing for it, we're all like "oh god, not this again." But our new co-worker is like "Wow, you get to do this every year?" Which is good, because we needed some fresh ideas--I mean "Oh God, Not This Again" doesn't make a very good advertising slogan, now does it?

But the other day she got to experience her first ambition-crushing smackdown. She had designed a publication using all the Rules of Good Design she learned in school, only to be told by the commissioning functionaries that they wanted it another way, a way that didn't as look good and broke some of the Rules of Good Design. She wanted to go to bat for Good Design, and was asking our advice on how to argue her case and win them over. We were all sort of scratching our heads and saying "Um, we just do it the way they want and get them out of our hair." I told her that it's far easier to just give them what they ask for and then talk about what morons they are behind their backs. But she went to bat anyway, with her well-crafted arguments in favor of Good Design. She lost. One could almost feel the breeze as some of her ambition and enthusiasm rushed past on its way out the door. It's a shame because she's a good egg. Soon she will be shambling through the door every morning in a zombie-like stupor, just like the rest of us, and we will chant: "One of us, one of us, one of us ..."

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