Your Second (and Most Important) Job

From Cabinet Maker to Cyber-Security Analyst, we each have the title on our business card. When asked what you do for a living at a cocktail party, the stock answer is your craft or profession. Lawyer, machine tool operator, insurance adjustor, or barista, we often identify with that primary title.

Yet in this highly competitive era, is doing the job itself enough, or is competency merely the ante to play?

The ones that seize the promotion, win the deal, delight the client, or make history also embrace a secondary role: artist. While not generally printed on their business cards, the over-achievers among us take this job just as seriously as their issued title. Here, the work is to imagine the possibilities, tinker with new approaches, and push the creative boundaries of the work. It’s a refusal to accept things as they are and a willingness to defy outdated traditions.

An artist need not paint on canvas or sculpt with clay. Musical artists win Grammys, while journalistic artists win Pulitzer Prizes. We don’t need to shift job functions or companies to embrace our artist role; we can become customer service artists, sales artists, manufacturing artists, legal artists, accounting artists, or human resource artists. The addition of “artist” to your current title liberates your creativity, allowing you to craft new solutions rather than merely relying on old ones. It pushes you to inject your imagination into the daily work as opposed to just cranking out the ordinary tasks.

Through your new artistic lens, what changes need to be made to shift your work product from the garage sale to the Smithsonian? What little touch, creative flourish, or new possibility can you layer on top of the expected in order to elevate your efforts to masterpiece status?

Steve Jobs famously insisted the designers of the first Mac sign the inside of the computer case. When asked why, he said that “all artists sign their name to their works of art.” Let’s harness our creative abilities, and apply imagination and wonder to even the most mundane tasks. When we hold ourselves to Picasso-level standards, the art – and the work – makes history.

Let your art shine.