Make yourself skilled

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«I have never had ethical clients.»

Ken Garland, author of the original First Things First manifesto to a room full of students of Graphic Design today.

Ken Garland came to Bournemouth today as a guest lecturer. He had lunch with the graphics staff, and stayed with the students for a good couple hours at least. I was more excited about meeting and talking to him than I have ever been with any celebrity ever. I’m still shaking after getting to talk to him after the lecture and hearing about what he’s up to, receiving advice from a man who’s been in the business I’m about to enter for longer than anyone I know.

For those not familiar with Mr. Garland and his work, I can say that he’s the designer behind the old late 1960s game Connect. Information for anyone interested, is to be found on his website.

The lecture we had today was really useful. There are many people thinking Ken Garland is all against working for anything ethical debatable like eg advertising. He’s not. According to himself, his manifesto is about personal priorities. It is his way of being polemic. It is Ken Garland overstating a problem he saw in the society at that time. When you’re choosing a job, should you go for the most interesting, or the one with the most money? Should you take into account the morals of the client you’re working for, or should you just accept the job with no questions? As Garland says himself, he wants to keep the discussion going. He wants people to think for themselves.

He never used the word «ethical» himself in or about the manifesto. It is about priorities of spending, not ethics. How will you spend your time? What will you spend your money on? What will you spend your energy doing? Something has to come first. Ethics is simply a word thrown at Garland, and has never been used by him to describe his manifesto.

According to Ken Garland, ethics is something professionals have. And professionals are people who wants to exclude everyone else, and they are people you should be suspicious of. Does a certain degree make you professional? Or a certain time in an industry? Are they the only ones who knows stuff.

I think the best tip I got today was simple. Make yourself skilled, he said. Nothing stays the same. And who’s Ken Garland, and old geezer to come saying how a bunch of students can prepare ourselves for what’s going to happen in 30 years time? How can anyone know what will happen then? Lots of things are not his business. Like how we’re supposed to evolve and take care of the earth. He will simply not be around to see.

On me saying I want to stay as international as possible, even though I might go back to Norway, he asked me the right question. Do I feel confident I can manage in an international community? The idea is good, but can I do it? I feel I can. I’m a strong girl, and I have already started to make connections internationally. The big question for me now is really about what I’m going to do in a year. Where am I going to work? What country? What will I do?

My mind is exhausted, here’s a funny comic:
Summer is here, and karma loves me.

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