It’s my first week at WCRS. It’s also another significant first. The first time in more than two decades that I will be walking into a new workplace – alone.
This time I won’t have my partner and close friend of over 20 years, Angus, by my side. Because, well, after a long and fruitful creative partnership, I’m finally going it alone. I’m off to sow my wild creative oats, as it were.
And I couldn’t be more excited about doing this anywhere but WCRS. An agency that’s gathering so much momentum and yet still has tons of potential.
As you’d expect, I’ve been thinking a lot about the new place. I’ve got hunches, I’ve got theories, I’ve got plans, I’ve even got dreams Goddamnit. There’s stuff I want to do and stuff I definitely don’t want to do. But it will all just have to wait. Only an idiot would just bowl straight in, start gobbing off and moving the furniture around. That would be dumb.
I need to settle in, look around, breathe the atmosphere and orient myself. Most importantly I need to get to know people. Maybe even make some friends. Which, (shhh! don’t tell anyone) if I’m entirely honest, is the thing I’m most excited about. I know it might sound a bit weird, but I’m a bit giddy about the chance to make some new mates.
You see, when you’re part of a creative team you’re self-sufficient. You don’t really have to make new friends unless you really feel like it. You’ve always got someone to go to lunch with, someone to drink with at the pub. A close friend and confidant to talk things through with. You become a bit arrogant about it all. Start acting like those Mean Girls at school, looking bored and blowing cigarette smoke from the side of their mouths. The ones who look you up and down, deliberating whether or not you’re in their gang. When you’ve been in a team for so long you can get very lazy about meeting new people.
Which is a waste because our industry is full of the most brilliant, kooky, fun and inspiring characters. According to my spies in the outside world WCRS has some of the “loveliest people you could ever hope to meet” too, so the odds on finding pals here are looking good.
Whilst all this might sound a bit soft and fluffy, there’s actually a hard-nosed business case for workplace friendships. Which is especially relevant for creative businesses. Having friends and confidants in the workplace helps to build trust. Trust and vulnerability, as Brene Brown points out in her book ‘Daring Greatly’, are two of the cornerstones of creativity. Trusting others and feeling safe significantly increase our willingness to propose new, untried and innovative ideas. Which, let’s be honest, are the lifeblood of a business like ours.
So that’s what I’m looking forward to the most – making new friends. To use a metaphor that the Warburtons team should understand; I’m going to be less like Statler & Waldorf, throwing cynical wisecracks from the sidelines. Instead, I’ll try to be more like Scooter, flying around in the thick of things and being overly eager to meet everyone. Partly because it’s good for creativity, but mostly because it will be more fun.