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Woman Describes The Absurdity Of Being A Creative Person With A Corporate Job — 'None Of This Matters Literally At All'

Photo: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
creative person on the phone

No matter how much we may love our careers, most of us have moments where we sit back at our desks and think, "Wow, this job is stupid!"

None of our brains are built for 9-5 jobs, after all. They're built for, like... hunting mammoths and gathering berries and building a village or whatever. So the 9-5 thing can feel a bit weird, even in the best of times. But for artistic people? It's on a whole other level.

A woman on TikTok perfectly described the absurdity of being a creative person with a corporate job.

There's no way around it: Our society and economy simply aren't set up for creative people to make a living doing whatever it is they're good at, and studies have shown that of all the people with a degree in an artistic pursuit just 10% actually make their living at their art (he wrote, glaring malevolently at his theatre and film production degrees).

Yep, if you're an artist, you have no choice to have a day job, unless you have a trust fund or something, which means you spend your waking hours making spreadsheets instead of whatever it is you're built for, a situation that often feels so bizarre that it makes TikToker Marchie, known as @the.marchie on the app, howl with laughter at the absurdity.



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"Being in a corporate job, as a creative person, is such a weird thing," she said in her video. She then went on to describe how, often, being a creative person with a corporate job is like having to listen to a foreign language all day. "You're sitting there and you're, like, hearing all of this like, oh, it's the beginning of Q4, and our numbers need to be up, and blah, blah, blah."

Not only does stuff like that not compute to many creative people, but crucially — it also doesn't carry any real meaning for us. You want me to care about Q4 numbers?! Sir, my brain is composed entirely of memorized Shakespeare monologues, the semiotics of Madonna videos, and that one episode of "30 Rock" where Tracy Morgan's wife had her own Bravo reality show. I don't even fully understand what a "Q4" is! 

And in many creative people's case — Marchie among them — they also have trouble caring what a Q4 is. As she put it while howling with guffaws, we sit in these kind of meetings like, "None of this matters. None of this matters, literally, at all!" 

She then perfectly summed up the average creative person's 9-5 work day after meetings like this: "So you go and cry because someone didn't like how you played pretend." Yep, "playing pretend" is pretty much exactly what it's like to be a creative person with a corporate job: you just sort of don't fit in, and Marchie's take really resonated with people.

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Most creative people really aren't suited to the corporate world, and business leaders are starting to try to address the problem.

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, fashion industry executive Nera Karri Sillaman described the myriad benefits that creative types can bring to a corporate environment, from increased resilience in times of change to even increased profitability due to their often outside-the-box approaches to things.

But Sillaman says that's all highly dependent on whether companies and leaders are willing to figure out how to effectively manage creative people, including working to understand the creative process and giving artistic people the space they often need to do their best work. As any creative person with a corporate job will tell you, the will for this is vanishingly rare in corporate environments.

Alexi, an artist and entrepreneur, says this ultimately comes down to a very simple dynamic. The business world relies upon the aggressive, competitive, orderly nature of Type A personalities that are perfectly suited to things like clear metrics and returns on investment — stuff like "Q4 numbers."



But as Alexi put it in her video response to Marchie, if you're a creative person you're highly unlikely to be a Type A personality — and creative work follows a completely different process than stuff like crunching Q4 numbers. As Alexi says, "If you're creative, you know that efficiency does not give you the best results, that's just not how it works."

Hopefully, business leaders and corporations will continue learning about this and realize the value of making the corporate world better for creative types. Until then, we'll all have to just adopt Marchie's approach of just howling with laughter at the absurdity of it all.

As she concludes, "We're all clowns in different makeup" at the end of the day anyway. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.