Penelope Trunk on workplace creativity

Penelope Trunk's most recent blog on being creative at work struck me as interesting and fairly unique.

You may remember Penelope from both our Brazen Careerist feed and our discussion of her personal blog a long while back.


  1. I totally agree with her first point that each person basically can determine for themself how creative (or not) they want to be within the context of their own job. As usual her blog is full of good links as well.

    I kept thinking about this post in the context of my own job... I actively recognize different areas where I could be more creative and take agency in solving problems, but so far I haven't done so. I can't figure out why that is?

    Do you guys recognize these opportunities in your own jobs, or all your roles at work very well-defined?

  2. Great post! I've just gotten to the point in my job (8 months in) where I'm not only comfortable with my roles and responsibilities, but also with a new industry, and more specifically, with my client's needs. Over the past month, I've found a few places where I could pro-actively provide a solution to my client, which made me feel very engaged with my job - I enjoyed it tremendously; I agree with her premise.

    Also, I was told literally less than an hour ago that I'll be transitioning to a new client starting Monday. I froze - my manager asked me my thoughts, and I couldn't formulate any other than, "I don't wanna!" (since this was in my best 4-year old voice, I opted to not voice this opinion). Thinking now, I'm quite embarrassed that I so easily fell into her stress trap. However, after reading Trunk's post, I'm that much more encouraged about my new role, and all the new problems to which I will be introduced.

    What great timing for this post!

  3. DAMN YOU ROYCE!!! I was going to link to Penelope Trunk, but further pass on a link she found. Apparently researchers can determine how much you like your job, by your cell phone use. Additionally, further in the study, they were able to determine how people left downtown Boston after the Red Sox World Series victory, whether walking across the bridge, car, subway, etc. There is the potential for city planners to better design urban infrastructure to reflect citizens actual habits.

  4. No. It was part of a research study where something like a thousand people volunteered to carry these special phones, without knowing all the capabilities of the special research phones. As with many social experiments, surveys afterward showed that people either misremembered or misled researchers since their survey responses differed quite a bit from Teiresias actual activity.

  5. As for creativity in the workplace, I feel significantly more intrigued and engaged when I am given a rather open ended task. At one point, one of the financial advisors I work for showed me an article and asked if we appropriately account for a significant downturn in the market (such as 2008) in the retirement projections we do as part of our financial plans. Several days later I sat down with the advisors and taught all of them how we are going to account for a catastrophic event when planning for retirement. This shows the advisors that they can focus on the client's experiene and they can trust me to take care of the back end analysis and it shows me the advisors trust me to solve a problem however I decide is best, without them needing to confirm every step. Everyone's quality of life improves in this system.

  6. Here's where I think the personal initiative step comes in - if you knew the financial advisors were working on a retirement projection analysis like described above, would you jump in and offer your analysis (in a non-pushy way) and opinion without first being prompted?