Monday, August 07, 2006

At the airport in Bordeaux yesterday I bought an "International Bestseller and now a Major Motion Picture" from one of three Relays (magazine shops).

I was in pain and while the small airport has three identically franchised magazine outlets (along with all the foie gras, glorified muffin and wine shops) the woman at the information desk thought it unremarkable that there wasn't a single pharmacy in the bloody place. I said, in that case what is there? The pompiers (fire service and roadside junkie rescuers), apparently. My only pharmacological option then was to numb myself with an "International Bestseller and now a Major Motion Picture" called The Devil Wears Prada.

I thought the prose amateur and the jokes rather lame, but after years of standing in office elevators on the way up to work cringing in quiet disbelief at the inoffensive and banal banter that seems to make the general populace (accountant, debt collector, legal secretary etc) laugh, I don't feel my taste has much relevance in relation to the world at large.

The actual story, though, kept me entertained. It's about working within a creative industry, enduring low pay and working excessively long hours to the point where your friends outside of work start to hate you for letting them down all the time; all the while being repeatedly told how a million other young people would die to have your job. The villain of the book is a sociopathic boss who terrorises her staff and presides over an organisational culture of bullying and individualism.

This scenario is, frankly, entirely implausible - and that's just as well because a bit of fantasy escapism was exactly what I felt like yesterday.

It amazes me how people can be so bitter after being given such fantastic opportunities to work in creative fields. What people often don't realise is that their failures aren't the fault of their job, their company, and certainly not their boss; it is they themselves that have caused problems because of their bad attitude and lack of talent. Time and time again, a project will fail, simply because every single individual on the project team is talentless - it's as simple as that.

If you want to read about how a well run creative enterprise operates, you can read some insightful comments from industry leaders here.


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