50 Things You Should Know

50 Things
50 Things
The original 50 things list, was created by a bunch of graphic designers for graphic design students.

The more I looked over the list, the more I became convinced that the list has applications beyond just graphic designers.

I noticed that there was a pattern, and the pattern had a message for me. I decided to highlight a few items from the list with some slight explanations/modifications:

10. Listen to your instincts.
If your work doesn’t excite you, then it won’t excite anyone else. It’s hard to fake passion for mediocre work – scrap it.

If you find yourself doing nothing but mediocre work all day, you should consider scrapping your whole “career.”

11. Make your work easy to see.
People are lazy. If you want them to look at your work, make it easy. Most of the time employers simply want to see a JPG or PDF.

Definitely right about the people being lazy part. I think that it goes a bit beyond that to say that people just don’t want to jump through hoops to see what you’ve got.

19. Be patient.
It’s not unusual to complete several internships and not find ‘a good fit’. Try applying to a studio you hadn’t considered.

I’d change the word “internship” to “jobs” on this one. Being patient is usually a good thing, specially when brewing beer or making wine, but not necessarily when it comes to making money.

36. Boring problems lead to boring solutions.
Always interrogate your brief: re-define the question. No two briefs should be the same; a unique problem leads to a unique solution.

This one relates to #10 above. A Boring problem is nothing more than a mediocre problem. Mediocrity sucks, and so does leading a mediocre life and having a mediocre career.

44. If you’re going to fail, fail well.
Being ambitious means you have to take on things you think you can’t do. Failures are unfortunate, but they are sometimes necessary.

More than failing well, fail fast and recover fast. The best batters in major league baseball only hit the ball an average of 3 out of every 10 times they go to bat. However, they make those 3 times count.

46. Take responsibility for failure.
If a job’s going wrong take responsibility. It feels counter-intuitive, but responsibility means you can do something about it.

If it was your fault, own it. Then, make amends somehow. I’m not talking committing sepuku, but you have to do something to make amends for your mistake. After you do that, move on.