Thursday, November 6, 2008

Toughen Up

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday, a guy who has been teaching a portfolio class at a local art school for over 4 years. He was telling me he made 3 students cry last week. Now if you knew this instructor, you'd know that he always makes a student or two cry every quarter. He's that tough.

And so we were commenting on how the students just didn't know it yet --but would in a couple of years-- that being brought to the brink of tears is actually a good thing. However bad it feels at the time, you will be a tougher creative in the end. Having your ego bruised once in a while hopefully helps make your work better and your skin thicker. His intent is not to make you cry, it's to honestly tell you when your work sucks. And I'm sure hearing that pretty much sucks.

Instructors make it hard because working in advertising is hard. This instructor is very, very tough on mediocre work because mediocre work will NOT be tolerated at any agency. Get used to it. I will bet you a million dollars that your future ECD will be equally (if not more) tough on your creative work. And your future ECD probably won't be too impressed if you burst into tears about it.

Thickening your skin, letting a bit of air out of your ego, and ending up a tougher person are all good things. And I'm sure that you'll have a teacher or two to thank for it in a few years.

1 comment:

Ryan Hammill said...

Not only should tough criticism be tolerated by students, but it should be genuinely sought out. Only after making it through the gauntlet of rejection can any piece of work become meaningful.

And this seeking constructive criticism is something that becomes more valuable the higher one rises. The very best in any industry are less concerned with compliments than they are with areas in which they can perfect their work. If for no other reason, that is how they become the best. Often with the least ego.