Dressmann -people

This older story (in Finnish) reminds me of discussion (and - in retrospect - an identity crisis of sorts) I had with a friend some time ago. The following may sound slightly elitist and derogatory. Boo-hoo.

(For the Finnish-impaired, that story is about how people from different countries gathered together, and all the men happened to be wearing the same outfit. Simply because they all had been shopping at Dressmann's. Yes, that multi-national clothes chain.)

Especially in the IT industry you see a lot of these people, which have been dubbed "Dressmann -people". They all wear the same type of attractively priced, yet good-looking clothes: shirt, straight pants; sometimes a jacket. They look clean, efficient, good, businesslike, no-nonsense, though youthful and relaxed. Some of them can even do the walk, or the cool swirl. They all look similar.

Yet... few of them are interesting. Even fewer are truly creative. They are more interested in getting to work early, then working eight hours, then going home to their families. And this is fine and great, because that work has to be done. And I'm all for family and breeding and that sort of stuff.

But it is not really interesting.

Interesting in the sense that changes the world. Creates new, wonderful things. Makes us laugh, or weep, or feel a sense of wonder. Convince us of a cause, or make us hate passionately something. These people... they're ... sensible.

Many people don't have that world-changing ability. Which is probably a good thing; a world where everybody would be strongly a creative individual could not, and would not work.


It was weird for me to read this. When I was younger, I took enormous risks with my life simply to work in creative industry. Yet lately I’ve been looking at my friends in ‘normal’ jobs with ever-increasing amount of envy.I don’t really earn that much more than those who wear a Dressman suit and work for 8 hours, and they at least get to have a life outside their work and get weekends off now and then. Such life sounds more and more tempting by the year –at least there would be time for something else in my life except work. I know this is somewhat irrelevant –I doubt if I could ever do a ‘sensible’ job, but it does not stop from wishing that things were different’.

This might sound like a bitter old man moaning about nothing and not understanding how good he’s got it, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve loved my life in creative industry, and I would change very little in my life even if I could. But the price the world sets for the privilege of doing creative work is very, very high. Employers view the fact that you are a key creative as a special perk given to you rather than an asset to themselves. In return they demand incredible amounts of your time without compensation or even so much as ‘thank you’. I’ve seen many, many prodigiously talented creative minds burned out completely by the demands placed on them.

Yes, me and the people I’ve worked with have changed the world and touched millions of people with the products we’ve created. But many of the creators have been broken by doing it, and discarded and forgotten. This is a high price to pay for doing something you love. I wonder if the ‘sensible’ people got it better: have family, raise kids, spend time with your hobbies and build your relationships, with their jobs taking minimal amount of time from their lives. Yes, they don’t ever get their 15 minutes of fame. But perhaps they get something more.

--Dragon, 14-Sep-2004

Very true. I also feel the calling of a "normal life". But I know I could go and embrace it if I wanted to.

But my guess is that when lying on our death bed, people like you can look back and claim that they had a good life, despite the sacrifices. Choosing an easy life will make you wonder "could I have done something different?"

After all, can you really go very wrong doing what you love?

--JanneJalkanen, 14-Sep-2004

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"Main_blogentry_140904_1" last changed on 14-Sep-2004 01:37:34 EEST by JanneJalkanen.