Having been in the printing industry for over 30 years, I can tell you truthfully that there were days I just wanted to leave that world behind. But ink is in my veins: my dad was the Graphic Arts Department Manager at Lockheed for several years, so I grew up in the graphics world. I took print in junior high, high school, and in the local community college. And I worked in a small mom ‘n’ pop print shop while still in college. Printing really is all I know.
IF NOT PRINT, THEN WHAT?
My actual first job was bagging groceries. I never thought of that as a “career”, although I worked with several people that had been doing the grocery business for years, even decades. I really hadn’t thought of printing as a career either. But because of my taking classes, and having a dad involved to an extent within the print industry, I was probably destined to follow his footsteps to a degree. I had thought of doing music as an avocation, but print always was the thing to do. And, when you spend so many years at it, there is little else you can do. So, I’ve never really thought of myself out of the printing industry – even when I was let go from my employer of 30 years, and toyed with the idea of going into marketing.
So, what does get me out of bed every morning? What makes me pack my lunch and take the 45 minute drive to work? What motivates me?
Frankly, over the decades, I have found the greatest satisfaction is taking ownership of something. I have had large and critical print projects that I have guided successfully through the maze of production and distribution. I have established healthy relationships with my own clients, my company’s clients, and our “internal clients” – my coworkers – because I tell them all that “I’ll take care of it”, and I do. It’s not an ego thing. And I don’t do it for the “Atta’ boy!” slap on the back or positive email. I do it because of the personal satisfaction I get by seeing something through from beginning to end. If I am engaging team members with something, I take responsibility for certain aspects of whatever it is we’re working on, but I also delegate or ask them to handle something – believing that it WILL get handled. I don’t micromanage. I give my fellow team members the benefit of the doubt that they too wish to have ownership of their duties, and will accomplish them.
SO, JUST DO IT
I look at new tasks or duties as new opportunities to excel – to take ownership and make it “my baby”. I’m not afraid to discuss the project or task, and get feedback from other team members. I endeavor to learn all I can to make the task or project a success. And I do that because the client expects it. So, just do it. Take the opportunity or task by the hand, grasp it, and take ownership of it. Yeah, it could be a headache. But it also could lead to some other great things!