Last month, author Neil Gaiman spoke at the graduation ceremony for the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. As you might expect, his advice was geared towards people pursuing a career in the arts; a refrain of “make good art” was repeatedly met with applause. But the successful writer also offered a simple recipe for success that can be applied to any work life.
In order to get repeat business as a creator, Neil suggests you only have to do two out of three things:
- Be good at what you do.
- Be friendly and enjoyable to work with.
- Be on time.
It doesn’t matter which two - you can be generally easy to work with and timely and not be the very at what you do, and you’ll still find yourself with a steady stream of work. At least, that’s what Mr. Gaiman says. My experience says he’s right.
I’ve found this recipe works in the corporate world and in the freelance market. It applies to sales people as much as it does writers. Work-at-home dads and forty-hours-a-week moms can find success in their chosen jobs using the same guidelines.
Be nice. Or be talented. Or meet your deadlines. Do two out of three and you’re doing better than most and likely to be kept on/rehired/referred. That doesn’t say much about the workforce as a whole, but I think it gives us all pretty attainable standards to achieve.
Did you watch the video? What did you think of Neil Gaiman’s advice to young graduates?