By Chloe Cordon
The performance of more than is asked for; the action of doing more than duty requires.
I’ve tried reading on my iPad lately. I swore I’d never do it, until Steve Harrison’s book “How to do Better Creative Work” showed up on the reading list. It’s only available as an ebook unless you’re willing to shell out a heck of a lot of money, so I didn’t have much choice.
Well it’s actually been really helpful. I’m a convert. Especially when I take on a challenging read and have to use the “define” function roughly three times per page. Last week I was slowly but surely making my way through “Far From The Madding Crowd” by Thomas Hardy, when I came across the word Superegatory. I can’t even say this, never mind use it in a sentence, so I went straight to the dictionary. Supererogation is the act of doing more than is expected, required, or than is normal. And I did that thing where you stare blankly into the distance as I spiralled into the psyche of SCA. I’d found the source code. The key to success. The holy grail. It can be summed up in one word, and that word is supererogation.
And I realised there and then how important it is. Doing the same as everyone else won’t get you noticed. It won’t get you the killer placement, and then the killer job, and then the award, the promotion, the career, and everything else. What school teaches us, that doing what is required is not enough, is not just a lesson in how to get a job. It’s a lesson for life.
You can make it through school doing the bare minimum. Sure Marc might give you a hard time, and you certainly won’t be his favourite as we learned last week, but you could do it. But in a room full of incredible creatives, and industry with an influx of thousands of graduates every year going above and beyond to get noticed how do you expect to stand out? You can put a new campaign in your book every week, or you can put one in every day and pick only the best. You can write a few SMPs every day, or you can write sheets until you find the one that makes an award winning ad. You can work till 6, until you’ve got a good campaign, then go home. Or you can work an extra hour or two and make it perfect. Remember, good is the enemy of great.
It takes a lot to be supererogatory. Logically why would we do anything that wasn’t necessary? That feels like the laziest thing I’ve ever written. Why bother having hobbies, going out with friends, cooking nice food, even being nice to people.
Because you only take out what you put in.