In keeping in touch with former coworkers, many whom I consider friends (and who contradicted my belief that I was rather feared and disliked among my peers), we’ve had a lot of conversations about life and about the bigger picture.
One of my coworkers, a super-creative guy who marches to the beat of his own drummer but who encourages everyone to follow their heart and their dreams and not to settle for anything, wrote me something that resonated with me. It reiterated what I said when I was told it was time to move on – this isn’t who I am, this is just what I do.
Super-creative coworker: “And remember, our job was never to move ink on paper, it was to communicate, and there are more ways to do that than ever.”
Me: “You are so right.”
And it reminded me of something I figured out in Europe, which I wrote back to him.
We aren’t just ink peddlers and corporate pawns. What you said reminds me of a revelation I had in Italy, when I was kind of wondering what my role in life really was. We were touring the Sistine Chapel and our tour guide, Franco, was telling us all these stories about how Michelangelo designed one of his greatest works. He was a bit of a rebel and he challenged the papacy so many times in the process of the work. He even told the Vatican, “I’m not a painter! I’m a sculptor!”
The pope considered this, and furthered the equation. “You,” he told Michelangelo, “are a creator.”
And that’s when I got it. We are communicators, and we are creators.
We have a lot more to offer the world than just trying to make a deadline (and the bottom line). There are so many skills that we have gained that can be applied to daily life – being organized, confronting people, being accurate, thriving in structure, creating structure. To be creative and innovative and resourceful and intuitive.
On a side note, we Americans are doing it all wrong. We need to take a serious tip from the Euros.