At work, we have a wall of all the catalogs our company has put out in the past 36 years. We’ve been shifting them around on the walls so that we can put up the latest. As always, the new location has caused everyone to look at them with fresh eyes.
“I can’t believe we put that on the cover!”
“We sent that to 100,000 people?!?”
Our main catalog designer, Scott, went through them with me pointing out his personal choices for highs and lows. Then, he turned to me and said, “You know, it’s not every job that leaves a record of everything you do.”
That really made me pause and think of all the work I do that leaves no discernable footprint on the world. Tweets and emails that fade moments after they’re sent. Meaningful conversations that disappear.
Do you have a trophy case for your work? I think this is especially important if your work doesn’t leave a discernable remnant. Authors can point to a row of books and toys designers have shelves of toys. What can you point to?
While the number of followers you have or mentions you get might be impressive, I think physical objects that represent accomplishments are important. Reminders of past achievements can really motivate you to keep going.
The other side of this is also important. If someone has done something for you, did you send them a thank you? Is there a way to give them something small to remember you by?
(If you’re interested in hearing about the particular catalog in this blog post, we recorded a podcast about it.)