Why Creatives Don't Succeed In Traditional, 9-To-5 Work Environments

by Brian Lawrence

Full-time jobs are not for everybody. Sure, to most of the workforce, they’re seen as amazing opportunities to take care of expenses and responsibilities and prepare for the future (children, retirement, your own home, etc.), but they also provide a sense of security that does nothing for the free-flowing creative, nor the risk-it-all entrepreneur.

The people in these two categories love the struggle of bootstrapping businesses and stretching resources to do the impossible, even if they can’t pay the rent.

Here’s why nine-to-fives have no place in the lives of the super creative:

1. Too Much Structure

If artists have too much structure, especially structure someone else dictates, they go crazy. I’m not talking about “method-to-the-madness” crazy, I mean damn-near-killing-people-for-no-reason crazy.

Entrepreneurs and creatives crave the abstract, free flowing of things.

They prefer to have pieces to a puzzle so they can determine which pieces fit in their lives best. They also don’t mind open spaces in that puzzle because that’s exactly how they want it.

2. Little To No Flexibility

If a creative can’t decide what to do with his or her time and resources, he or she won’t be a happy camper.

Creatives love when you give them a budget for resources, an abstract of what you need done and the time in which you need it completed.

They’ll produce awesome work for you afterward. Heck, they’ll even provide you with a multitude of options to choose from so you won’t ask them to change anything in a particular piece.

3. Creatives Need To Work At Their Own Pace

Pressure a creative to finish a piece in a timeframe with which he or she isn’t comfortable, and you better be prepared for a nuclear explosion.

Work this group completes does not, and usually cannot, have an exact timestamp.

And, even if he or she can estimate how long it will take to complete a project, he or she would much rather you trust the project will reach completion within the specified timeframe.

A creative will also let you know, before knowing your preference, how long he or she feels it will take to do it.

If you don’t like the timeline, a creative has no problem moving on to another client or another struggle.

I can’t imagine holding a corporate position that mandates short deadlines and constant pressures throughout the day.

4. Creatives Crave Autonomy

Creatives need to have the responsibility for a job they do left up to them. You need to give them all the requirements for what needs to happen and, also, the freedom to do it, without constantly looking over their shoulders.

Trust me, if creatives want help, they’ll either ask for it or Google it.

There’s no point in interrupting the focus of someone in this group. It will just take a longer time to complete and you may just get sub-par work. Then, no one is happy.

5. Their Motivation Can’t Be Held To A Certain Time Of Day

Expecting creatives and entrepreneurs to be motivated all throughout the day is unrealistic. That shouldn’t be expected of anyone, really.

Whereas most workers will try to push through a task even if they don’t feel like it, the creative will not pick up a task until he or she knows it's of interest, then will amps him or herself up to take it head on.

Things need to get done, I know, but creatives know themselves well enough to pinpoint when they get motivated, and what to do to get themselves to that point.

6. Routines Don’t Make Sense To Them

Doing the same thing, or set of things, day-in and day-out, drives creatives nuts.

Creatives prefer to view their days as blocks of time, when they can have different meetings or complete tasks when it’s convenient for them.

With that in mind, you might think most creatives shirk responsibility when it doesn’t fit what they like, but they’re quite the opposite.

Creatives are very committed people. Once they decide to do something, they usually see it through.

7. Most Creatives Prefer To Work In Non-Traditional Industries

Banks, law firms, factories and the typical office aren't able to keep this type of person for too long. These environments don’t utilize the strengths of creatives enough, and so, they get frustrated and work hard to find ways out of that environment.

Don’t be surprised if these people leave before the probationary period is even up.

Creatives need environments that are comfortable for them. They need the flexibility to do projects that challenge them with wide autonomy, so they can keep themselves grounded and focused.

It's unlikely traditional, full-time jobs cut it for these folks.