At this point, creativity eludes me

 

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When you work in the advertising industry, you’re allowed to be anything but uncreative. There are no boxes to consider when thinking; the more disruptive, the more pats on the back you get.

Ever have one of those days where you wake up in the morning brimming with ideas? You spend 25 minutes in the shower just because you’re thinking of several angles you can use to tackle a problem, another 45 minutes to get ready for work – most of that time spent tying up the loose ends of your shower-inspired plans. You swear you’re only gonna need 2 hours to clear out your desk, but the moment you step into your office…

All that creativity suddenly flatlines. You can almost hear the ‘beeeeeeeeep’ from your mental ER team trying to resuscitate your creativity, to no avail.

When that happens, you know it’s gonna be a LONG day at work. You take 30 minutes to set up your work desk. That’s when you start twiddling with your pen, checking your social media feeds twice a minute, playing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony on repeat, all in the search of something, ANYTHING, that can provide that inspiration you so desperately crave.

See, the thing about creativity is that sometimes when you’re actively searching really hard for it, that’s when it goes AWOL. All those times you were sharing a drink or three with your buddies while bouncing ideas off each other, your creative juices were flowing non-stop like wine from Dionysus’ chalice. Now that your current employment status sorely depends on farting out an execution plan for a client in the next 3 hours, inspiration is using you to play hide and seek.

So you watch the day slowly drag by while you try to remember your thoughts in the shower. Was it a 2- or 3-staged campaign? Was the campaign supposed to start on Facebook or SnapChat? How many influencers did you intend to use? So many questions, so little answers!

Finally, it’s 5pm. You’ve managed to cook up a half-done, watery ‘pot of beans’ for your boss’ evaluation.

“I know you can do better than this. There’s so much missing from this presentation,” she says.

Sigh. What a day. You’re the first to shut down and slam your pc shut. You race to your car because you can’t wait to get the hell out of here.

And what happens the moment you start your car and slowly start moving? It all starts coming back. The platforms, the phases, the whole plan, everything! Do you risk going back to the office and starting your presentation all over again?

I would suggest doing what I did and using this new-found creative spark to write about the ordeal you had to endure all day.

Getting Past The Front Desk

 

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“He is not on seat.”

“Pardon?”

“I said, Oga is not on seat!”

If you have visited any offices in Lagos, you must have, at some point, had this conversation. It’s even funnier – or more frustrating – when the person you came to see walks right out of the office, just at the moment the receptionist told you he or she isn’t “on seat”.

You stare at the receptionist, look at the person you came to see, and then look back at the receptionist and she’s staring right back at you like,

What?

 You’re like, “Isn’t that…?!” and she replies you with the confidence of a thousand gods, “Like I said, Oga isn’t on seat.”

In some instances, people walk right into the office to see the person you’ve waited to see for the past hour, with cheers and hails from the same receptionist who kept you waiting.

At this point, you probably think it’s what you wore… but, nah, it can’t be, ‘cause today was one of those days you nailed it. You look at the receptionist once again: this is the 8th time you are making eye contact with her. You hope she senses the plight in your eyes and speeds up your meeting with the person you came to see, but it doesn’t work. She will attend to you when she’s ready.

Finally, she calls you up.

“What’s your name again?” she asks, ignoring the fact that this is the third time you will be introducing yourself and you’ve already filled a visitor’s form with your name written in all caps on it.

“Hello sir, a Mr Tunde is here to see you… Okay, I’ll tell him.”

Then she looks right at you and says, “He said you should give him 5 minutes.”

I’ve had my fair share of these interactions with receptionists and secretaries. You may not admit it, but right after the CEO, they are unofficially next in charge. They are the gatekeepers, the fictional Heimdall of Asgard, the guardian of the Office, defending the office personnel’s doors from any intruders, and some of the most trusted staff of the CEO.

And if like me, you’ve been stalled by numerous secretaries and receptionists, I have good news: there’s a cheat sheet for getting past them! I’ll share a few:

BE POLITE. It’s really that simple. Being polite and courteous actually gets you extra points with receptionists and secretaries. Often times you might encounter slightly rude receptionists, but the trick is keeping your cool and constantly throwing in “please”, “thank you”, “ma” and “sir” where appropriate, and watch it get you past that door faster than you think. Trust me, it works.

FURNISH THEM WITH COMPLIMENTS. I remember rolling my eyes and sighing a lot when my colleague and I walked into a lobby, and he immediately started complimenting the receptionist on her looks, dress, etc. I was like, “Can we just do what we came here for and bounce!” – but it turns out those compliments got us favourable responses from them.

Try it out: express gratitude and give compliments constantly in the process of interaction and watch doors open. It’s kinda like how foreplay… nah, ignore that. But if you know, you know.

TIPS AND GIFTS I don’t think they’re allowed to accept gifts or monetary offers… officially, but who has ever said no to a lovely tangible or monetary gift? Especially the way the economy is set up these days. They might not accept cash, but branded gifts and office items might work. Trust me, you will be remembered and in the words of Adam Levine, you will be loved.

FOLLOW-UP (Off the job) If it’s convenient and appropriate, maintain off-the-job relationships with receptionists and secretaries, especially when you constantly interact with them on-the-job. A healthy off-the-job relationship will encourage more goodwill.

And if none of these get you past the front desk with ease, look for an interesting app or engaging game on your phone and get comfortable on that couch as you wait.  I may be the one seated next to you. Say hi!