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VOL. 35 | NO. 33 | Friday, August 19, 2011
Get a job!

A little creativity can go a long way in workplace

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Use your creativity to get a new job or a better position with your present employer.

Not everyone has the ability to be creative at work. If you are one of the lucky individuals who have some form of creativity, don’t assume that everyone else has the same attribute. And don’t assume that those around you at work have the same creative ability.

The word creative generally means showing or using your imagination to develop new ideas or things. Unfortunately, it is something that often can not be revealed in standardized testing.

However, having the gift of creativity is much the same as having a high IQ. Those with a high IQ are considered by others as gifted. Those that actually apply their high IQ are considered intelligent and, in some cases, they are considered geniuses. Hence, you must apply your gift in order for others to see you have a gift and, indeed, can use it for a gainful purpose.

Many employees in a work environment have little need to use their creative attributes. That doesn’t mean other departments or positions of their employer can’t use the creativity, only that the job an employee is performing may not need their creative ability.

So, how do you get the chance to use your gift?

First, you must determine if your ability can be applied usefully by an employer. Second, your need to find which employer or position can use your creativity.

It may be the organization’s management has never considered that the creativity you possess can be of use to them. So, you may have to convince or at least encourage an employer to give you the chance to show what you can do and prove actually prove your value. This is usually the most difficult obstacle you will face. The reason is that many supervisors usually look only at the present duties of their employees.

In a situation such as this, you may find yourself in the same predicament as trying to explain what the color red looks like to a colorblind person. There is just no way he or she can relate. In other words, people seldom can see the value in something they can’t understand.

In some cases you can convince a manager in another department or at a higher level you can perform something of benefit. Unfortunately, many bosses will see you as being insubordinate or going over their head, which can create a difficult predicament for you.

In a situation such as this you will have to make a decision whether your immediate job is more important to you than you being able to apply your creative ability.

There are generally two approaches to use if you are in this situation. You can either try and be subtle and demonstrate your ability so management will take notice or you can look for another job. The latter approach may mean applying for a job in another department with a more enlightened supervisor or finding another employer entirely.

Some employers and industries are more likely to value creativity. An improvement to a product, a better way to market, a cheaper or faster way to perform logistics are examples that may be important to some companies and organizations, but not others.

The point in all of this is if you have creativity and want to use it, don’t expect your employer to recognize your gift or give you the chance. Look for the best opportunity and go after it. Management is looking out for the best interest of the organization, which in many situations is not what is in your best interest and can lead you to become frustrated on the job.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

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