Rattle the cage

 What did you do today to challenge the status quo? (Photo by  Mallory Johndrow )

What did you do today to challenge the status quo? (Photo by Mallory Johndrow)

This week, I'd like to ask you about what you're doing to rattle the cage.

What did you do this week to rattle the cage and challenge convention? 

Did you accept things because 'that's the way they're always done?'

Did you say 'yes' because you knew that was what 'they' wanted to hear?

Did you do something that you were scared of?

Did you try something new or did you plod along and repeat the same stuff you did yesterday?

Did you ignore the voice in your head that constantly whispers:

  • You really should ask for that raise
  • You really need to go to the gym more
  • Just leave and go work somewhere else
  • Don't put up with the way they treat you
  • You really should stop smoking
  • You know you should put the hard work in
  • Why did you let him get away with that?
  • You don't really need more of that chocolate
  • You know what you just did was wrong

What did you do today to progress yourself towards the goal you're trying to attain?

What did you say no to?

Did you stop someone who was making no sense mid-sentence and ask them to speak clearly?

Did you tell them that they failed to communicate with you, so they should try again?

Did you call jargon when someone just spewed out a waterfall of fluff?

Did you point someone to Google when they asked you the simplest of questions in disguise of them doing their own work to find the answer for themselves?

Why do I ask you all of these questions? 

So you can rattle the fucking cage.

So you can challenge the status quo.

So you can realise that you don't have to accept bullshit when you see it just because you're a 'younger' designer.

  • You don't have to work for free. You have value.
  • You don't have to work through the night to fulfill someone else's goals.
  • You don't need an MBA to do strategy.
  • Creative Leader is a gender neutral term.
  • Fuck the word 'Junior'
  • Clients (anyone) have no right to treat you like dirt.
  • Is work that keeps you consistently away from family and loved ones worth it?
  • Is fluff professional?
  • When you don't understand someone, it's OK to say "I didn't understand a word you just said!"

Industry — any industry (especially an industry that sells 'creativity') is going to be full of norms that are generally accepted.

This week, I urge you to do one thing to rattle the cage of convention within your role, within your workplace, within your industry. 

If there are norms that aren't good enough—smash them.

If there is inequality—smash that first.

Nobody is going to change themselves, just so you can succeed. Nobody is going to realise that they're in the way of your progression, and make concessions just so you can reach your goals.

You have to take the bull by the horns and shake. Hard.

Too many times I see people accepting the easy way through a career. Waiting to see what happens. Being lead instead of leading. Hoping that they'll win when in fact, they end up losing. And more often than not, blame others for the loss.

There is no easy way through. There is no secret sauce.

There is you and your goals.

There is hustle and hard, dignified, fair and reasonable work.

There is calling bullshit when you see it and not accepting inequality when it's in front of you.

Rattle the cage.


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3 lessons from Nick Hallam

Give feedback like a Zen Master