Palmer Pearson
Cadence Design Systems, Inc.

Research. Write. Rewrite. Publish. Go home. Repeat.

Such is a day in the life of many veteran writers. The monotony of repetitive tasks can take its toll on anyone in any profession.

I can imagine Michelangelo as he consulted his day planner:

Get up. Talk to Pope. Climb scaffold. Paint ceiling (on my back). Go back to bed.

That routine lasted years! I wonder if he ever wished to take a break and whip up a portrait or two. Did he ever swing by the Pope’s office and say, “Maybe I will go for a walk today and skip the ceiling thing until tomorrow?”

As Publication Managers, are you also in a rut?

Assign writers a task. Keep an eye on budget. Keep an eye on deadlines. Release. Repeat.

Before I get calls or emails, I know that this is an extremely over-simplified description of what we do. But that is the basic path. Write. Ensure deadlines are met. Deliver.

If you do not attempt to break away from the auto-pilot routine, your future might be less certain. As you see peers lose their jobs and you watch other jobs go offshore, you realize you have only a few options. Quietly doing your job and hoping your number does not come up is a poor choice. Living with a sense of apprehension is not good for your career or your health. Then again, maybe you enjoy living on the edge.

You could walk away on your own. If you have another place to go or have an adequate financial cushion to rely on you can play “beat the reaper.”

Few people change, but it’s the ones who do who make a difference. Picture another scenario. After numerous pyramids, maybe an Egyptian designer said, “I’m a little bored with the same design over and over again. Thousands of oblong stone blocks stacked on top of each other. Pyramid #1 looks a lot like Pyramid #56. Hey, I think I will design a large stone lion with the head of a human. Now that would be different.”

So how can you increase your value and at the same time invigorate yourself and your staff? You need to change your routine. As a small example, I am planning our next brainstorming session on a train that travels through the back roads of Cape Cod. I have reserved a club car, and we will have dinner onboard with the scenery providing a good backdrop. In a relaxed atmosphere and with free minds, ideas should be plentiful.

So, while the function remains, the need to take breaks, the requirement to innovate, and the desire to feel appreciated all have to be addressed.

Okay, so you have no budget to take these types of adventures, your staff is uncooperative, and you cannot waste even a minute to go on a walk, not to mention a train ride. Then you have to ask yourself, “Is this what I want?” Maybe high pressure and repetitive tasks turn you on. But, if not, what do you do? Quit! That is sincere advice. Every job is temporary. The Sistine Chapel was eventually completed and the Sphinx was built. Was it passion or pay? In Michelangelo’s case I believe it was both. Creativity and cash can make any job an ideal one.

There really are jobs out there that nurture the innovative spirit. There is more than one company that will reward creative minds, because they yield more creative products, and that translates to higher profits. Strangely enough, that company might be the one that employs you now. You just need to create a positive atmosphere and change your routine.

Get to work. Smile at co-workers. Do something new. Go home. Relax. Enjoy your family.

Not a bad routine.