Creativity at Work

As a “Creative Design Manager” for a creativity-based company, my daily tasks center around managing a team of talented artists to conceptualize and execute graphic design and illustration for packaging and products. There are new opportunities and puzzles each day as we juggle product development timelines with the expectations and requests of a variety of other teams in the company, while still trying to defend some sense of aesthetic integrity.

Every day, I’m required to make dozens of creative choices on the fly. It’s challenging . . . and I love it.


When I think about my job in a creative industry, sometimes I think about how certain I am that I would wilt if I had a job that boiled down to “insert widget 1 into thingamabob 2” & I have some first-hand knowledge of this from part-time and temporary jobs I had while I was a student.

Granted, some people may prefer to work in a job that requires little creativity, enjoying the structure of an A+B=C scenario in their daily tasks (and that’s great – we need that too), but for those who are interested in less prescriptive outcomes and some creative challenges, there are many opportunities, even some in unexpected places.

To make an exhaustive list of such opportunities would be nearly impossible, but I’d like to take a few minutes to collect a short list for starters . . . Whether you’re looking for a new career, content with the one you have, too young to be in the workforce yet, or old enough to be retired, I believe it’s a positive exercise to recognize the creative contributions made by everyone from Astronauts to Zookeepers.

Recognizing creativity in unexpected places can fill us with more appreciation for the creative skills these individuals contribute to society and also help us to remember the importance of instilling creativity in the next generation who will one day fill these roles.

Consider how workers in these fields bring creativity to their day-to-day . . .

Archaeologist: organizes necessary tasks for excavation, using ingenuity to search for and identify samples & often draw maps and schemes of discoveries

Blacksmith: makes creative decisions about how to shape objects from various metals, some for highly practical uses and some for more ornamental uses

Chef: determines unique ways to combine ingredients to develop unique recipes for a restaurant or private clientèle

Computer Programmer: assesses information and applies creative thinking skills to design and develop new systems or applications for computers

Dog Trainer: works within certain trusted training methods but also injects creative approaches to each individual dog’s temperament and behavior

Electrician: combines technical proficiency with the imagination to devise and implement solutions to electrical problems

Farmer: understands the unchangeable needs of his crops or livestock & then responds intuitively to natural forces outside human control to devise creative methods of success

Historian: mixes knowledge of the past with skills from various disciplines (from sociology to the arts) to help explain and understand events in unique ways

Industrial Designer: designs new products such as furniture using a creative approach to structural knowledge and various materials such as wood, plastic, and metal

Librarian: devises systems and processes that keep a library orderly and efficient while also providing programs to engage individuals with reading

Mathematician: initiates research of mathematical concepts, using creative thinking and problem-solving skills to make mathematical theory practical for application

Nurse: responds with wisdom to the unique medical challenge of each patient, using available knowledge as well as creative problem-solving skills to work within time and resource constraints

Parent: manages the day-to-day tasks needed to keep children alive while also devising unique ways to teach them skills and ideas and build positive relationships

Social Worker: helps people to solve problems related to their personal or social lives, using creative thinking as well as knowledge and training to help implement positive changes

Teacher: balances the responsibility for imparting certain bodies of knowledge to a class while also responding on the fly to the particular challenges of each student or group of students

Waiter: provides service of food and beverages in restaurants, creatively responding to the needs and temperament of each customer or group

Are you creative at work? Think the creativity of your job is under-recognized? Would you take a minute to let me know in a comment below? Thank you for all the amazing ways you’re contributing your individual genius to the world. Let’s keep working hard together.


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