For those that don’t know, I work in marketing. Half of my job is strategy and the other half is executing said strategy. Which inevitably includes writing marketing materials. To do that, I’ve always had an art director to work with, a very similar set-up to the copywriter/art director partnership you see at any ad agency. It’s very much a team effort and one doesn’t function without the other. My art director and I sat across from each other and talked constantly throughout the work day.
Until this March, when he was laid off. But no biggie, we kept him on as a freelancer. He still attended meetings and was still available for face time and collaboration. But then he got a full-time job. He’s stayed on as our freelancer, but he’s only available after 5 p.m.
Just like that, my face time, and collaboration in general, was gone.
You’d think it wouldn’t be too difficult to transition from a partnership to a solo endeavor. After all, I’m not incompetant. I know what I’m doing and how to do it. But since it happened, I’ve been stuck. Just sitting in a vacuum of nothingness because I’ve lost much more than a coworker. I’ve lost a collaborator. I truly can’t be as effective a writer without my designer. I can’t be as effective of a marketer without a co-marketer.
It’s interesting to note that we recently did a strengths assessment at work. It told me a number of things, one of which is that I’m very much a people person. So much so that I feel sadder than most when coworkers or friends go away or aren’t around in the first place.
I wouldn’t have understood the assessment’s meaning if this real-life example hadn’t presented itself. So, I finally called a meeting with my designer tonight, mainly to satisfy my need for human contact, but also to talk more in depth about a few things. And I feel so much better. It didn’t even bother us that we had to meet after 5 to accommodate his new work schedule.
I’m still figuring out how to work within our new relationship and while tonight was good, I’m sure there will be speedbumps. To start a project together, we’ve got a couple hoops to jump through, whereas before we simply yelled across the hall. Our communication is mainly via e-mail and phone, which isn’t always conducive to long talks or brainstorming sessions — another critical element to our work. But if I can adjust a bit to that, and still try to integrate some face time, I think we’ll be OK.
So what about you? Do you mainly work alone or with others? Which do you prefer?
Note: Thanks so much for the comments about my passion-less being!! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one searching.