While I consistently enjoy the readings from this book, I found less directly relevant information in this series of chapters than I had in previous sections, but this is not to say that I didn’t resonate with what was on offer overall. The first thing that jumped off the page to me was in the section about spotting talent. I appreciated the formula to finding good people: talent, suitability, and potential. This list tells me (as a job seeker) that hard work, a good personality and dedication will all be traits that an employer will look for and encourage, and that being someone who can get along and integrate into a wide variety of situations will help open doors in the future.
The concept of “having a philosophy” also stuck out to me in this chapter. I like that Shaughnessy points out that having a strong set of beliefs will attract work, and bring in the types of clients that you want to work with. I know that I agree with his assertion that being genuine is a way to connect with clients, and that having principles and sticking to them is only going to garner respect and draw good things to you and your studio, in keeping with a sort of “law of attraction.”
Chapter six had a few different highlights for me: the paradox of attracting good work by making good work is definitely interesting and also a bit daunting as someone trying to get into the field. The concept of the database is also intriguing. I guess in some ways we have social media to thank for making this a bit easier, but the thought of actively maintining the database to be sure not to commit a faux pas was something I hadn’t thought about before but is definitely wise advice. What a great way to lose a potential job than by sticking your foot in your mouth because you didn’t do thorough research.
Lastly, I appreciated the discussion of reputation, as it confirms some thinking that I have been doing since I entered into the design program. I have this theory that every single time you interact with a person (student/teacher, whoever) you are constantly informing their perception of you, and that the actions you take/dont take (being on time/late, going above and beyond or doing the bare minimum, helping others, participation, reliability, etc) that all of these things are being entered into an invisible mental spreadsheet that is being filed away for a later date, and that one day, when you need some help, or a recommendation, or what have you, that these invisible spreadsheets will be consulted and the response you get from this person you are asking for help will be directly proportional to the amount of energy/ effort/ quality of work/ personal respect / etc that you have showed in these previous actions. That being on time shows you respect someone. That treating others with kindness is a sign of a warm personality and someone you’d like to have around, and that hard work is not just a finished result, but the process that was taken to arrive at this endpoint. OK I digress, but for reals- Shaughnessy nails it when he says that a reptuation is earned, and I believe that as design students, we have already started on this road, because the people in this classroom, our peers and mentors, they will be people we seek jobs from, assistance from, or interview in front of, so there’s no time like the present to live the way you talk and the be the person you want to be. Rant over, sorry.
Finally, a few words on chapter 7. I liked the thought of trying to find what each client needs and filling that role, in a sense it is the designer as chameleon. Also, the thought of equality in client relations is something that I hope to achieve. I have been lucky in my few dealings in that I have worked with clear communicators who respect the design process, and I know that I have been lucky. The section about challenging clients is a bit trickier for me, I inherently want to make people happy, and it will take a bit of practice to tell someone clearly why what they want is wrong, but I think tact comes through practice and self confidence, and these things grow with time. All in all, this book makes me excited to get out into the real world and start putting this theory into practice!