Are Creatives Really Just Cogs In A Machine?: Creatives vs. 9-5’ers

Last week I wrote a very negative post, looking at what it takes to break into the creative industry and maintain a stable living while remaining true to ones art form.  I referenced an article last week which I believed bashed the practicality of succeeding in the creative industry, and to an extent Mark Deuze’s piece Media Work does a similar thing.  These two articles constantly bombard the creative industry and basically displays us creatives as cogs in a machine, while the creative industry is supposed to be the complete opposite.  Less focus is drawn toward your numerical achievements and more is being focused on your craft, creativity and ability to produce.  That being said, I believe Deuze’s piece objectively observed the digital age in a more fair way, he saw it more as an expanding market and less as something that only a select group of elites can achieve.

On page 5 Deuze describes, “a rapid decline of any traditional understanding of the stable, lifelong ‘nine-to-five’ career protected by the long-term investment of a company or public agency.”  I think this is hugely important to address, because I think people – especially creatives – have come to realize how unhealthy a nine-to-five career is on your mind and body. business-woman-cubicle-overworked-stressed-5934154
This idea of a nine to five job usually comes with the idea of sitting in a cubicle performing mundane tasks all day long doing shit you’re not interested in. This is what brings out the appeal in the creative industry because we see the contrast so clearly between the two types of fields.  My post from last week probably contradicts this because I wrote a lot about how you have to stand out and work absurdly hard to not blend in, but the power of the creative industry is that if you’re willing to work hard at your craft you have the ability to stand out.  Yes a lot of that means we have to network ourselves harder than most, but that hard work is just part of the journey.

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Can’t do this in a cubicle.

Collectively creative people are unfathomably talented, because we have the ability to absolutely suck at something, but by networking with other creatives we can create something huge based on our skill set.  A personal example for me is in film production.  I don’t understand sound design at all, my skill set is behind a camera and with editing.  With the proper network especially in a college setting there are tons of people around me who are incredible at sound design and we can collaborate to make amazing pieces of art.  We’re essentially problem solvers who have the ability to create these fascinating things and I don’t think that is applicable to the mundane nine-to-five.

One thing I really appreciated about Deuze’s piece is that it forced me to view the whole idea of a nine-to-five as something that is becoming less appealing to people.  On page 9 Deuze says, blue-collar workers now have become a declining minority in most modern countries, whereas a creative class of professionals in knowledge and information industries increasingly dominate the cultural economies of the contemporary information age.” In reality the creative industry is one of the few growing fields and has been growing exponentially, even through the recession of 2008.  Technology has continued to develop and is even more engrained in our day to day life.  It is growing exponentially in the same way that digital information is growing to the point that we don’t even know what to do with all of it.  DataNeverSleeps_2.0_v2Kids now have iPads and know how they work from just picking them up and teenagers are contributing to the online culture in a way that wasn’t possible 10 years ago.  “Some 57% of online teens create content for the internet. That amounts to half of all teens ages 12-17 or about 12 million youth.” (Deuze, 76).  Building off this idea of the digital age, it’s no secret that we are overwhelmed with media and information, and I think that plays into the idea of “informational labor” which Deuze discusses on page 11.  He builds off that on page 13 where he talks about a “mediapolis: a public place where media underpins and overarches the experience of every-day life.”  All of this information has to be created by someone, and for a variety of psychological reasons, we can’t avoid refreshing the page to view other forms of media.  I’m sure most people reading this have checked other social media, have checked their phone, or are multitasking with some other form of digital information while reading this rant.

Final Thought: Which desk would you rather have?

studio-desk copy

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