I realized a while ago that I’ve never had a job where I really “made” anything. That’s not entirely true, but it’s true enough. I’ve been paid to do a lot of things (advertising, entertaining, stocking shelves), but I’ve never had a job where my final, expected output is a finished product ready for consumption. Jobs like building a deck, working as a pastry chef or even being part of an assembly line. In all of these examples, the craftsmen and craftswomen who perform these tasks can look over what they did that day and take pride in a finished product.
It is, however, part of my job to create. And I love it. I love being tasked with solving problems with abstract ideas. But, I’m becoming more and more weary of what that means. When we create a TV spot for a client, there is absolutely a finished, final product ready for consumption. But there are many people that actually “produce” that spot (directors, directors of photography, grips, editors and so on). And I am none of those people. Sure, I “created” the Idea behind the campaign, but an idea isn’t a real thing until it manifests itself physically.
That leads me to, once in a while, question value I really add to the process. And, I find it really interesting that I’ve been able to get by for so long getting paid for something almost wholly intangible. I hope that some day, at least for a little bit, I have the chance to make something real. No matter how small, it’ll be nice to sit back at the end of the day and lay my hands on something actually exists. Maybe I’ll just make another kid.
Or not. Them kids expensive.