Yes to mess – By @DaisyBard

By Daisy Bard


Yes to mess 

‘Mess’ is our euphemism for bad stuff going on in the world. From the pay gap to uncomfortable seats, from Ebola to having a sweaty back on the tube, there are few limits to what ‘mess’ can constitute. Mess is something that needs solving. And apparently, we’re the ones to solve it. 

A job in mass communication isn’t necessarily a vow to make the world a better place… but arguably it should be. SCA teaches us that our main calling is to make things better. There’s no shame in wanting a great salary, lots of travel or flexible work hours (well, maybe that last one’s a stretch in advertising) – in fact, you should go after those things fiercely. But try to be solving a problem and doing some good as you go. 

I’ve been collecting mess that I notice on a day-to-day basis. Rather than being endlessly frustrating, it feels good to start thinking critically about how things can be solved, or at least improved. I had a conversation with my brother recently about some mess a friend of mine had been posting about, invoking TFL letting her down for wheelchair transport on the tube. My brother’s stance was fatalistic – the world’s going to shit, this is a huge problem, imagine how bad it is in other parts of the world – but my attitude was purely constructive. That’s been a gradual change I hadn’t noticed since starting at SCA, and it crystallised in that moment. 

So if you happen to be reading this and you’re not on the course: welcome to a world of mess. Here’s the simplest way to go about approaching it: 

  1. Problem defining: you have to be able to articulate the correct problem before you charge in with a proposed solution. So keep asking ‘why’ until you get to the root of it. 
  2. Thinking around the problem: what other strands are there? Who else is involved in making decisions? Are certain people abdicating responsibility? Is it a product, service or infrastructural change that will move things forward? 
  3. Sleeping on it: some problems need time to percolate. Be patient. If the solution were easy, someone would probably have already done it. 
  4. Making a connection: often you just need to speak to the right person. You don’t always have to be the one implementing the idea. If you can get to someone with influence over the problem, and give them a banging idea, you may end up making them look really good. 

Go forth and find mess. Good luck. 

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