Everyone has a particular designer that inspires them, and most people have a particular person in life that inspires them on a more general level. For me, these particular people are one in the same.
Jen Clark – jenclark.com.au
Posted by Jen Clark on 21st July 2011:
“Despite fear of pigeon-holing myself as some sort of self-deemed, ‘holier than thou’ wunderkind (which, for the record, I am not), I wanted to briefly address a topic that I think has been well and truly sitting at the back of the IKEA Expedit shelves collecting dust among the design books for a little too long – and that is the topic of good ole’ manners.
Remember that word? Yes? Awesome. Please read on.
Every day without fail and, more worryingly, often numerous times per day, I encounter bad manners. Maybe I’m over-sensitive, neurotic, obsessive, cynical or likely all of the above, but for some time now my frontal lobe has been in a knot over how indiscriminating and almost predictable these instances seem to be.
Such instances of manneratus ignoramus can occasionally happen at home, although these events are normally at the trivial end of the scale (ie: one of my cats taking my spot of choice on the sofa, for instance). Outside the home is, however, another matter altogether.
Be it in any number of public spaces, shopping centres, footpaths, car parks, post offices, gas stations, cafes and that all too familiar bugbear…public transport, manners seem to have been inexplicably ‘lobotomised’ from our psyches. I think my partner summed it up best when she recently described long-haul air travel as being comparable to spending a day in a “human degradation chamber.”
I often wonder if I am alone in my concern and if so, if I should take more action to remedy it? For a while there I got so passionately disparaged by the apparent lack of manners prevalent in the public domain today that I considered starting my own ‘Manners Task Force’, akin to Victoria Police, but with the solitary task of fining, publicly humiliating and/or penalising those failing to demonstrate manners or empathy in situations where these sort of characteristics should merely be second nature. My instincts and experience tell me however that I may struggle with gaining the funds (not to mention the legal support) to institute such an initiative. Shame, that.
On the flipside of the coin, as comedian Heath Franklin says in his much-loved impersonation of Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, perhaps I should just learn to harden the f*** up? It’s a mad, mad, dog-eat-dog world out there right? Perhaps I should take on an eye for an eye mentality and no longer concern myself with the pleasantries and courtesies that (I feel) should be mutually extended in even the simplest of everyday human interactions and, like so many who have gone before me, just start concerning myself with myself?
Despite finding the ring this hard-lined tone has to it very appealing, I don’t think I could (in fact I know I couldn’t) follow through. It just wouldn’t be me.
Professionally speaking, my 13 or so years working in design have taught me one very important thing. Long lasting success as a designer hinges less and less on sheer technical brilliance, but is now more reliant on our emotional and psychological acuity – our ability to understand, relate to and interpret the needs of others. Manners, of course, play a big part in this.
Even the simplest of gestures can make a pronounced difference to the way in which we are professionally regarded. A smile, a genuine “how are you?”, offering to pay for a coffee when you’re taking a client out, arriving to meetings on time, making eye contact, expressing gratitude, offering someone a seat, remembering someone’s name, sending through a quote or (god-willing) delivering work by the date you’ve promised – these are but a few of an almost limitless list of what I’ve come to call ‘random acts of manners.’
In saying all of this I am not trying to be in any way patronising or belittling, nor am I suggesting we should all behave like doormats. To the contrary, the catalyst that allowed me to realise and develop an awareness of the impact of the aforementioned behaviours is through the act of not doing them myself in the past.
What I am saying though is next time you instinctively go to take that last seat on the bus, perhaps take a look around first to see if there’s someone who might just need it more than you? You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes and, how surprisingly good it can make you feel. Either that or prepare to see me coming your way in a few years time in my custom designed, lilac ‘Manners Taskforce’ tracksuit, finger pointing and head shaking. Believe me, that in itself should be all the motivation you need to change your wicked ways.
PS – Please check out this excellent PDF ‘Manners Matter’ by Business Consultant and Author Joel D. Canfield. Totally worth your time.”
That’s all I have to say at the moment. More to come – I’ve been very busy.