Your ego hurts you and me (but mostly you) / by Conor Callahan

By Daniel Callahan

In my other life, I am not a freelancer. Instead, I work in an office with dozens of other creative types — writers, editors, designers and photographers — producing print publications.

There are days when the air is so thick with self-righteous indignation it would choke the most patient diplomat.

There is a universal truth about creatives: At some point in his or her career, he or she will have an ego that far outweighs the depth of their experience and the quality of their work. It may last for decades or it could shrink the minute that person walks out of art school.

Creatives are, by definition, creative. The creative process is one of expression and most do not take kindly to criticism, however well meant or helpful it may be.

Period. End of story. Yes, I am talking about you. 

A solution: Get over yourself. 

Yeah, I said it. I mean it too. You are not any god's gift to photography. Your copy still needs edits. You are not the ultimate graphic designer. You do not exist in a vacuum and your work will VERY RARELY be created solely by the expression of your somewhat marketable artistic tendencies. Others will have input and influence. Accept this. Now. 

In this world of rapidly changing technology, technique and style, there will always be something new to learn. Pretending your colleagues, either in the industry or simply in your workspace, have nothing to offer is asinine. You are as much a work in progress as your work in progress.

Swallow your pride and learn to learn from other creatives. Be influenced. Take when you can and give something back. And your work will be that much more fruitful.