Eavesdropping while traveling abroad, part 2


This is the second in a three part series about things I’ve learned from overhearing conversations in English while traveling abroad.

“I convinced myself that I needed to add an employee when I looked at the amount of lost billings that resulted from me not doing what I should have been doing.” This conversation was also overheard in Naoshima, among design professionals talking about how they have grown their practices. (You could tell they were design professionals by their chunky black glasses and elegant but impractical shoes)

While this sentiment is sort of obvious, what struck me was the balance between the art of design and the logic of business, happening in the same conversation. Running the numbers to see when new staff is needed balances the emotional and artistic realms in which design professionals work. When you’re running a design business, it’s a both/ and.

It was also a good reminder that staff members doing work that a new staff member could be doing is sometimes a value suck. It’s not just about working an employee too hard (which is also an issue). It’s about allowing staff to add their most valuable value. And that helps the employee and the business overall.

Elizabeth Qi