Friday, June 14, 2013

Brain Drain: The Creativity Vampire

I've been thinking about a question: why is it that I'm so agitated lately? My drive and interest in anything enjoyable is totally lethargic. The quick answer might be that I feel overworked. Having gone through a long quarter of build up time where I expended considerable effort in parallel with working, there was precious little free time. Interestingly enough though, I did not feel anger or frustration on a whole during that period of time. Instead I mostly felt rushed as well as some stress from wanting to achieve a high-reaching set of goals. But now, I feel sharp levels of frustration and anger. So what's different between then and now? The current lack of creativity resulting from brain-drain, that's what.

My current scenario is leaving me empty at the end of the day due to being exhausted both mentally and physically. There is precious little time to explore the same avenues of creativity that my classes allowed. And with what little time there is, the motivation fails to ignite. Fundamentally, the job has become a brain drain. It has become a vampire that drains my artistic side. Looking at this in comparison to earlier, I realize the levels of effort involved currently is no more than there was throughout the school quarter. What is different is the personal level of satisfaction. It has become non-existent simply because I do not share the same dream as those at my place of work. Just as they don't share my dream (I heard people questioning why anyone in their right mind would pursue art as a career), I don't share theirs.

One might say, well, too bad. Everyone has to do things they don't like. True. But at the same time,a level of balance should exist Working non-stop does not allow for any break and that is part of the problem. The mind needs playfulness. Especially during times of stress when people are placing difficult deadlines and expectations upon you for their dreams and goals.

Places like Google understand the need for individuals to pursue their own interests to some capacity. I've heard how they allow workers to allocate a small percentage of time to explore personally selected projects. Why? Because it implies they have a purpose beyond being a resource. They don't become absorbed by the entity (Google in the mentioned scenario) as it attempts to meet its own objectives of being profitable. But more importantly, that free time allows people to express an inner creativity in ways they have some control over.

Contrast the Google personal projects scenario against my situation now (read that as anger) and it's clear there is a difference as well as a major problem. Without sufficient time to explore and express myself as a unique individual, I feel an emptiness. And that emptiness translates into anger. Were it that I had time and energy to delve into creative processes, I would feel less frustrated. My inner-self wouldn't be trapped. Rather it would have moments to come out and play. But as it stands, the "can you give you your life briefly" ask is overreaching. All jobs do it. They will apply subtle, or sometimes not so subtle pressures upon us to meet the artificial deadlines they have set up in order to meet the dreams and goals of those who are the core driving forces of the business. Those hopes and dreams have nothing to do with the individuals working at a business many times. Technically speaking, we work at a business to fund our own hopes and dreams. Not in all cases of course, but at least in mine it is true. And since I don't share the burning desire others within the business might feel, it leads to my frustration as my most important need of some personal exploration time is squelched in order to meet some goal that isn't my own.

It's not that businesses are evil by nature. Mostly I think people become so focused upon their goals that they forget other people might not have the same level of drive and goals they have. Business that have a dream hire someone they believe will do the long haul for them. Think about it. It's not a healthy situation if there is no down time allocated on a regular basis. Even if demands are what the business might consider a short but necessary full out sprint, there needs to be time to let the workers take a breath and exercise some control. Every day should have enough time allocated to indulge the creative spirit within me. A piece of soapstone and a carving tool will do. Or a hammer, an anvil and a piece of metal too. Something I can bend and shape into a unique view I have. But not being to do so is brutal to me. When I come home exhausted and drained from one too many asks to do the long-haul with odds against me, my spirit is so broken that I can't feel the joy that makes me want to explore the creative process. Not good. My problem to solve now is how to bring the necessary balance into play. This may involve telling people no on asks and facing the possibility they may declare me as a non-team player and terminate my contract. But as it stands, this situation is building animosity and is crushing my soul. No one will win as it is.

Yes, school will start again soon but even that isn't the solution. It allows for a time to explore the creativity but it doesn't solve the problem of push, push push I mentioned recently. I need to re-evaluate boundaries and may have to take some hard stances that aren't pleasant. I think I'll start out reducing hours next week even though I have open time. In those hours, I can do necessary tasks like clean up my personal work area here at home as well as take time to work on a personal project.  More importantly, I need some time to play. Maybe a metal sculpture or something similar. Anything my heart desires to express so to speak so long as it makes me feel I'm exercising my artistic side to revive the healthy energetic heartbeat of life