Here’s how I tell if someone is smarter than me– when they tell me something, I think to myself, “That makes perfect sense, and I never would have thought of it.”
Case in point:
I suspect a lot of people aren’t sure what’s the top idea in their mind at any given time. I’m often mistaken about it. I tend to think it’s the idea I’d want to be the top one, rather than the one that is. But it’s easy to figure this out: just take a shower. What topic do your thoughts keep returning to? If it’s not what you want to be thinking about, you may want to change something.
Another part of his essay stuck out to me:
I’ve found there are two types of thoughts especially worth avoiding… thoughts about money. Getting money is almost by definition an attention sink. The other is disputes. These too are engaging in the wrong way: they have the same velcro-like shape as genuinely interesting ideas, but without the substance. So avoid disputes if you want to get real work done.
Interesting, but what really caught my eye is the footnote to that paragraph–
Corollary: Avoid becoming an administrator, or your job will consist of dealing with money and disputes.
Then it hit me. This is what I do every day.
I mean, I don’t deal with budgets, it’s true. But I’m always aware of the kind of money I’m spending. As a general rule, when the boss asks for a price on something, you need to find three or four options at different rates.
Now, it is not a PA’s job to handle disputes. When someone starts arguing with you about some directive handed down from on high, it’s perfectly reasonable to pass the buck on to your boss. It’s one of the few advantages to being on the bottom.
This is not the best way to be spending my mental energy. I should be thinking about one of the scripts I’m writing, or the short I’m filming, or the blog I’m writing.
Now, part of the problem is my own attitude, and that’s something I’ll have to deal with. But part of the problem is that I deal with stupid shit eight to twelve hours a day. Of course I think about the job when I’m in the shower. Hell, sometimes I dream about filing paperwork.
This is why I don’t want to be an AD or coordinator. Administration, in the sense that Graham is writing, will consume my life, and I’ll lose any ability to be creative.
After reading this essay, it makes me wonder if I should quit altogether, and focus on writing full time. Sure, everyone has to deal with stupid bullshit in their life, but production assistants get it worse than most.
I always saw the job as a stepping stone to better things. Something to be tolerated until I got promoted. “The Top Idea in Your Mind” has got me thinking that maybe this job is actually counter-productive. I’m wasting my brain on a job that a monkey could do.
Maybe I should let them find another monkey.