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5 Work Situations When You Should NOT Be Creative

2013 November 21
by Annie Wallace

creativityWhile the vast majority of employers appreciate and encourage creativity from their workers, not every work situation calls for a unique idea. Creativeness and inspiration sometimes have a way of getting away from us, leading to conflict with superiors and co-workers or showing itself in moments where simply following instructions proves afterwards to have been the better idea.

If you’re unsure of where and when you would do best to unleash your unique ideas while on the job, check out our list of five work situations when you should NOT be creative:

1. When you are new on the job

Employers may value creativity at times but you can be sure that they value the ability to follow directions even more. If you are still fresh to your new position and proving yourself to your superiors and co-workers, always keep in mind that you simply do not have the insight into the work place that they do.

While a fresh pair of eyes is often a very good thing, you risk being resented by everyone involved if you are too quick in your judgement of the way things work in a place where you have yet to earn your stripes.

2. When your superior simply knows better than you do

When your superior knows better

Let’s face it: there is a reason that you’re not the boss, even if your planned career path has you filling that position in the near future. It is very likely that your immediate higher-ups know the job at hand better than you do, leaving the creative mind of an employee to get into trouble when presumptuousness bares itself. Before jumping the gun with what may truly be excellent ideas, take the time to learn your position and all that it entails inside and out, being sure that your ideas are well-formed when you are ready to release them into the wild.

3. In highly technical or scripted situations

Technical or scripted situations

Imagine you are an actor or actress on set, performing a part written by someone else and being watched closely by your director. While you may have it in your mind that the writing is atrocious and that you could do much to improve it, you would likely be served best by sticking to the script and saving your opinions for another time.

While most of us do not officially act for a living, we all have a role to play in every facet of like and the workplace is no exception. No job situation, whether a high-tech office or a construction site, functions for long without getting into a solid groove of work flow with each “actor” playing his or her part. In most job situations you will have an ear available to share your opinions but don’t forget that your part in the script is crucial and obey it as needed.

4. When your job depends on it

When your job depends on it

Sometimes we find ourselves working in positions where creativity simply isn’t called for. This could be a physical job where defined skills are less necessary than simple strength and will to get the job done or it could be a position where your skills are already utilized in the best possible way; while many workplaces are a mess of inconsistency, others work well simply because jobs are so well defined that outside-the-box thinking simply isn’t useful.

5. When your creativeness isn’t appreciated

When your creativeness isn't appreciated

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, as the saying goes, and it should always be remembered that different people appreciate different things. While you may have experience with employers who absolutely loved your individualism and bright ideas, it is just as possible that you’ll find yourself working for someone who simply doesn’t feel that they have use for your inner thoughts. While that can be discouraging, it is your employer who covers your pay check and so it is your employer who gets to make that call; you continue to force your ideas and opinions on an employer such as this at the potential risk of your job.

All in all, the moments where creativity is called for at work do exist but you would do well to wait until those moments present themselves, utilizing your common sense to get your ideas out there when they will prove themselves useful and to keep them to yourself when they won’t.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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