Why your day job won’t kill creativity

Do regular, 9-to-5 jobs kill creativity? If so: how do they stifle it out of people who otherwise might be creatively gifted? What can we do to prevent it? Who’s to blame?

Is it common for 9-5 jobs to kill creativity? As TV scriptwriter Stan Hayward puts it: “No. Not at all. Because a creative person
is not dependent on their environment for creativity.”

Creativity is our capacity to generate novel and useful ideas, to engage different perspectives in order to see things from an alternate vantage than the one we’ve been given. It doesn’t matter the content in which we’re in: you can generate new ideas anywhere, under any condition. Creativity takes no excuses.

When I was just starting out in the creative field, a common question I’d find people asking me was: “What do I do if my boss/teacher won’t let me be creative?” I dreaded this question because the answer is: you have no one to blame for your lack of creativity than yourself.

You might be constrained—emotionally, financially, with time or support—but there’s never really any reason to say “I can’t be creative.”

When the creative person finds themselves faced against circumstances which consistently shoots down their creative ideas, that person merely changes how they approach proposing the ideas. Or the find a way to push the ideas forward and ask for forgiveness later.

In my own career I’ve learned that if anyone is responsible for my creativity, it’s me. Only me. If I had an idea I wanted to prove out, the way to do it wasn’t to sit around waiting for approval, or confirmation that my idea was worthwhile. Instead I’d find a creative way to move the idea forward and see what happens. From starting creative teams at work, without permission, to writing and publishing my own brooks, without validation, the only thing that holds people back from being creative is their own beliefs or confidence in being it.

Your job isn’t going to kill your creativity. If anything: it will challenge you to do more with it.