Creativity and corporate life

I was talking with a friend today about blogging, and realized I had a few topics simmering just below my level of conscious awareness.  I love that part of the creative process: ”cogitatio”, as I’ve come to regard it. 

Working in a corporate environment, I realized I was a self-conscious blogger in two ways.  As a cubicle dweller, I’ve had a certain reluctance to let down the boundaries between my work life and my creative life.  These are such vastly different parts of my life.  I am equally passionate in each pursuit, but I’m reluctant to discuss work issues here out of respect for my employer: I’m not authorized to speak on their behalf, and I wouldn’t want to. 

That said, there’s a certain impulse in corporate life to be “hard core”, and it’s too easy for some in that environment to dismiss the creative process as somehow “soft”.  Fortunately, I believe, the realities of the knowledge economy, whose primary product is intellectual capital, have forced the corporate world to begin to embrace the creative process as another way to work, equal to the regimented production line and buttoned-down cubicles.  Leaders of vision know to measure the value of a person’s creative output without regard for the path they took to get there.

On the other end of this relationship between the corporate career and the creative life, I find myself at times fretting over my credibility as a creative:  I haven’t made the ultimate commitment to my art, trying to earn a living from my creative work. 

In my more lucid and thoughtful moments, though, I dismiss the concern over credibility. 

As fantastic long-time mentor Priscilla Riggle reminds me, there’s plenty of precedent for the non-creative career both stimulating and funding the creative life.  I can let the non-creative daily routine lead to creative expression that ebbs and flows in a natural rhythm.

That I don’t feed my kids through my creative work is actually liberating: I can focus on what’s in me to create with little concern for what is marketable.  If I want to write a poem, I write a poem.  If I want to make a desk, I make a desk.  I can be, in Jim Krenov’s words, an amateur of a certain sort, doing my best work without regard for salability.

That seems to me to lead neither to a complete embrace of the avant garde nor to a satisfaction with rear-guard recitation.  I find a coherent inner dialog pointing toward a third way.  Mostly, I don’t want to say something obvious.  I have little patience for the obvious.  I want to create interesting things, whether its in words or wood.

Living at the intersection of corporate work and creative life, another of the benefits I find is in the field of productivity.  Strategies such as Getting Things Done work wonderfully in both creative and corporate settings.

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