Monday, September 13, 2010

Wheres and Theres.

On the block on which I work--undoubtedly one of the grittier in Manhattan--there are a number of large construction sites. For the most part they are building high-rise, low-cost hotels here. Tourist hotels like Candlewood Express or Comfort Inn. They're all part of the un-gritification of New York. It started with Times' Square, just a few blocks away and continues on my block today. It won't be long now, I think, that there won't be a whorehouse in sight.

In any event, I get to work early and often take a minute or two watching the burly men who build the buildings that are being built everywhere. After working in advertising for almost 30 years, it's nice to see people who are task-oriented. Who know what has to be done and then, they do it.

It occurred to me watching these workmen working and these buildings being built that there are two kinds of employment in the world, two kinds of workers.

There are "wheres." And there are "theres."

The wheres carry things and say to the theres "where do you want it?" The theres reply "there."

This bifurcation is most obvious when you look at construction sites. But makes sense in our business, too.

Most people are wheres. They can create ads but they need to ask the theres for direction, strategy, a bigger picture.

You can do well in this business--as in any business--just by being a where. But to really build something wonderful, you need the planning and the vision of a there.

I suppose there are job sites--and there are agencies, too--where there are no practicing theres. There are plans made by theres. But the wheres get very little insight, enthusiasm or energy from the theres. The wheres operate according to plan, according to best practices.

It's not the same as having a there. As having inspiration.


Anonymous said...

Even the whores move away when they hear an advertising agency is moving into the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

The where's and the there's...guess that makes sense...I think you may be mauling a metaphor but I get your point. In the end tho, it's the talented vs the talentless. The agency biz..analog or essentially brutal and judgmental. The strong survive, the weak fade and the political live in the margins