WORK

I've been reading a lot about marketing, business, and creativity recently in preparation for the launch of Hype! Comics, my soon-to-exist comic book publishing company. I've come to the realization that I don't just want to publish my own stuff like a lot of independent publishers in comics. I will publish my own work and even if other publishers put out my work Hype! Comics will exist to push it. I've always been an entrepenurial type and a writer so something like a comics publisher fits everything I've been about in my life. I even get to exercise my programming/geek muscles by making the website and computers a very important part of the business. But in thinking about Hype! Comics a lot and thinking about business, I've also had the worst business related experience I've had so far. I'm not going to get into details but needless to say I've learned a few lessons about running a business.

First, treat people like people. I firmly believe that part of the reason people are so inclined these days to take advantage of everyone else in every way they can and to treat people like shit in such a casual way is that's how a lot of businesses treat people. If your boss treats you like crap and the business takes advantage of everyone to their own benefit, people start to think why shouldn't they do that too? "Why shouldn't I steal this thing? Those giant companies on the news steal from everybody and nothing happens to them." One of the big reasons the fast food industry is the industry most robbed by it's own employees is that the entire business structure of a company like McDonalds is designed to treat people like a commodity and thus, like expendable trash. Treat people right and you'll attract people who like being treated right. People who have self-worth are more valuable to any organization because they have ideas they will share. Even if it's just an idea to sell more fries, someone who you treat right will help you sell more fries. Someone you treat like a button-pushing monkey will not. And even if treating someone right in some small way doesn't benefit you directly, it makes you a better person and that's just as good. Kim and I make Allison say please and thank you even to us because it makes her a better person, not because it impresses other parents.

Second, not everybody has the same ideas about work. If you have a way you like to work, make sure others know that. I like to multi-task; to have a few browser tabs open, 2 different projects, etc. This lets me flip back and forth between things I'm doing if one is in a waiting state or I just need a break from one thing. This works fine for me, I get things done this way. Other people might not have the same opinion about it. Make sure that the way you like to work is okay with your bosses. And believe me, even if they don't say anything about it, they have opinions and might think something completely different about it. A lot of managers and business owners think they own your brain from the minute you walk in the door and if your way of working makes them think you are being an independent person during work hours, you could have trouble. And if your way of working doesn't jive with the company you're with and you can't get comfortable doing something else, find somewhere else to work. Immediately. That leads to the next realization.

Always trust your instincts. If you smell a rat when you meet a person or feel weird about a company, trust that. Yes you could be wrong and your first impression might be mistaken but usually not. Our brains are nothing but pattern-matching systems and if your brain starts making matches to experiences that give you a funny feeling about something, even if you can't say exactly what it is, trust it. Our little pattern-matching computers have millions of years of evolution behind them and most likely doing something you feel weirdly about will come back and bite you in the ass.