Tect Talk: Success is in the Details
You don’t have to be brilliant; you just have to pay attentionby Warren K. Kong | Published in April 2010 Columns | tech talk | technology
You don’t have to be brilliant; you just have to pay attention
Over the last few days, I’ve been reflecting on my life and career. I decided to take a deep look at myself, to see where I stand in life, home and family. In a world filled with anger, death and pain, every now and then I need to stop and remind myself of the good things in life.
I am fortunate enough to work with many Fortune 500 companies and high-profile clients. All of which continue to come back and continue to consider my work great. But the truth of the matter is, that I’m not really that great. Don’t misunderstand me; I love my job, I mean really love my job, and I pour over every last detail. And yes, I consider what I do to be art. But, the client doesn’t, the attendees don’t and the CEO definitely doesn’t. I’m just an average lighting designer who does an average design that deals with average budgets. So how is it that I work with companies like General Electric, Reebok, Boston Scientific, Glaxo Smith Kline and many others?
In 1999, I moved from California to Florida straight out of college with no leads and no job. I knew no one and had no prospects.
I can honestly say that everything I’ve achieved in life is due to hard work and good work ethic. The simple act of caring, about your client, their shows, their equipment and their image has gotten me more returning clients than anything else.
Some people in our industry are only in it for the money; some are only here to cash in. That shows in their work. I know, you know and the client knows. In an industry based on dreams, visions and imagination, you have to care about and love what you do.
There are many people who can do what I do and do it on a regular basis, but there are some important things that set me apart from others. Most of these have to do with my attention to detail. From listening to my client’s needs to making sure that the colors are just right, I pay attention to those details maybe only I notice, but that contribute to the overall event.
As a lighting designer by trade, I have many obstacles to overcome with every event that I work on. Everything from the ceiling height to the server captain, each has an impact on how difficult it is to do my job. For each challenge I face from a technical standpoint, there are just as many, or more, when it comes to people, venue and client.
But the true measure of a professional is not how we do our jobs when everything we need is in place, it’s how we deal with the real-life situations we’re given. As a client once told me, “Warren, I don’t hire you because it’s easy; I hire you because I know you can overcome the obstacles.”