Envied by “normal people”, creative people live in the world of awesome agencies and fantastic jobs, they set trends, are always active and always in a good mood. They have the latest smartphones, read trendy magazines and wear the fashion of tomorrow.
But behind the facades lurks the danger of overwork, burnout and doubts — and the fear of what happen, if I am running out of ideas. The ideas literally keep bursting out of you, conversations with our customers are increasingly influencing evening and night hours. Clients wants more and more, faster and faster and above all always something else…
After almost 9 years of work experience in different creative agencies and IT companies, I felt the need to share my experience about that ,,fancy, cool, creative world”. It can be said, that I am very familiar with the day-to-day life of a designer. As in my first article, I would like to give valuable tips, so that the dream job does not become a nightmare. By the way, some time ago i started to study, beside my full time job, educational sciences and psychology.
Because, I have nothing better to do!
The psychological contract & motivation
We enter into an agreement with an employer. A working contract, a written paper black-on-white, which both sides can sign and cancel. This contract define the income and holidays and is subject of legal frameworks. After the signature, we usually do not look at this document anymore, unless there are conflicts. Ideally, we just file the contract in a folder.
But much more important is the second contract, which manages without papers: the psychological contract. It regulates what we actually offer to the employer, what we expect from him, what we are willing to do and when the limits are exceeded. How much money will be transferred to our bank accounts, is known beforehand. But what the job and we ourselves specifically require of us, is visible and understandable after a certain training period.
The working contract can have an impact on the psychological contract, especially the contract term: employees with an unlimited employment contract are more likely to change their psychological contract. Those who have a reliable contractual arrangements — a secure job — they identify more stronger with their employer, develop a more stable and stronger relationship, and negotiate in case of any problems, more committed and cooperative.
Limited working contracts also lead to other psychological conditions or better restrictions: From the beginning it’s clear and manifested “I will do this just only for one year” but it barely changed.
For such kind of employees, money and prestige play the main role, less the actual performance. Although temporary work contracts are becoming more frequent, they have from psychological and probably from performance perspective even more negative consequences.
With no hope for a better future, we are less active and willing to work — whether we work motivated or not, that seems indifferent. What we are willing to contribute depends on the motivation, the work environment and even what kind of clients do we have. Money plays a subordinate role as soon as basic needs have been satisfied. Excluded from this logic are certainly trainees, who earn very little and play a very active and committed role. But interns obviously expect all kinds of benefits and hopes for their future.
Agencies, with a high amount of overtime or which require permanently weekend work, are not able to keep the employees motivated by paying them more per month. Those who are going to the office almost daily with a bad feeling, because a bad-tempered boss is killing the working atmosphere, because time pressure is very intense and breaks are a taboo, those who are leaving late the office with a bad conscience — a salary increase doesn’t help. Such cases could lead to inner resignation and burn-out experiences.
Creativity relies on Motivation — it’s priceless — who gets the most money, doesn’t necessarily present the best solution.
Money supports extrinsic motivation and is simply a functional thing. There are days in which you simply go to work, because you get paid for it — but this should be an exception. We spend too much time at work = our lifetime! Just a thought of the next salary, is not enough to think about an excellent idea. You can work better and healthier, if you are intrinsically motivated — you do something for its own sake — and nothing else. This describes the inner motives — We do this because we believe, we do something good for us. We design a very good brochure, of which we can be proud of. This can be a reason why we are going to work.
If you receive praise and recognition from colleges, it’s better. Such moments are pleasant and inspiring. Those moments are priceless, they are the “Rate” of the creative industry.