As Stokefire’s Operations Manager, and its now lone Operations Operative, I find myself with a dubious distinction: the sole “non-creative” on the staff. I take umbrage at that label! UMBRAGE! (Harrumph.)
My business card describes my role aptly and succinctly: “I handle stuff.” I do. I handle bank accounts and billings and paychecks and HR details and calls and travel arrangements and calendars and contracts and supply requests and assorted other things that need handling.
It’s a support role. I’m okay with that. I work with an awesome team so I am happy to support them, allowing them to do what they need to do and not worry about those other pesky details.
BUT I AM CREATIVE. Not like these guys are. Not trained, not eat-drink-sleep creative ideas, but I do have my stellar moments (IMHO) – and those moments matter to me a whole lot. They are the stuff that makes life sweet, fun, interesting, and in a deeper sense make me feel that I-am-because-I-choose-and-I-act-and-I-see-the-results – in my own unique way.
My personal take on creativity at times slants towards whimsy: creating a tasteful garment for my paper monster, who seemed quite under-dressed (i.e. naked) for the office. At times it moves towards MacGyver-style problem solving: rescuing the boss’s broken camera tripod with a skillful twist of a paper clip; re-sealing the half & half with a binder clip (after embarrassing myself by wrangling it all-the-way open in a fit of klutziness). In my software development past I took pride in creating user-friendly data screens and reports – yes, designing them to be easy to read, and easy to use. My social whimsy inspired memorable events like the first-ever Metro Western Country Fair – folks still talk about it years later! And my homemade Queen Nefertiti costume required no explanation upon my arrival at that certain Halloween party.
But there is one thing that I believe truly qualifies me to be part of THIS particular creative team. You’ve heard of the dreaded “Hovering Art Director,” hated by creatives everywhere? Well, I’ve developed my own twist: I’ve become, at times, the “Hovering Operations Manager.” I can’t help myself. My co-workers do some truly cool stuff. Now and then I like to see what’s going on. After all, all that stuff I handle only matters to the extent that the team as a whole keeps doing cool stuff – stuff that keeps us working, and keeps our clients happy.
Okay – that being said, I will now put away my umbrage and go peacefully back to handling stuff in my Operations corner. I promise not to get all bent out of shape when folks refer to me as “non-creative”. Just don’t be too surprised when I occasionally come up with a cool idea of my own.