“pan”cakes of my ambition

mmm production #2… making a cake of our ambitions.

So I have to say at first, I was a little not excited about this assignment. I heard about it plenty of times from my friends at school who had taken the class before, but I was kind of stumped on how my “cake” would really be different. Maybe I would just add interesting ingredients to make it stand out and put a good story behind it. Maybe I would make it in the shape of something… a paycheck maybe? How about cupcakes… different kinds? While all of those sounded interesting, I decided to take a leap and get away from the “conventional” cake idea and try something even more different… pancakes.

Well it made sense. Pancakes were technically “cakes” and since my ambition in the future is to work as more of a strategist in design, it made sense to produce something with “layers.” One of the things that I find fascinating about strategy is the art of problem solving… breaking something down to build it back up in a new and fresh way. And pancakes for me represented all of the layers that you have to peel away to really get to the heart of the issue. They also represent the initial interaction with a problem, much like when you order a big stack of pancakes. Your first notion is to take a knife and try to cut into it, but you soon realize that this is getting you no where. It’s easier sometimes to just eat away at the stack layer by layer so you can fully enjoy the experience.

So anyway, once I decided on that, then I found myself “strategizing” on how to actually “design” the stack. What would my ingredients be? How would it look? What kind of statement could I make? These questions led me to my next ambition, which is still sort of a challenge for me… experimentation. I knew before this experience that I am a pretty methodical person, even when it comes to design. I often want to let go and just let myself be artistic and free, but too often I find myself planning most of my projects down to the wire before I feel free enough to even produce. And to a certain extent, I did that with this project as well. While I allowed myself to be experimental when cooking the pancakes, I planned out what food colors I would get, what fun ingredients to put into it and what pancake mixed to use. And I knew that I wanted the more colorful and crazy pancakes at the bottom because even as a reflection of me, the top of the pancakes, or what you see, is sometimes kind of bland and predictable, but what is on the bottom after you take the layers off, is way more crazy and fun. I’m still trying to access that crazy crazy side of me in my design. I know it’s there because it comes out in my personality at times, but I still haven’t allowed myself to break free in my work.

Anyway, I would have to say that making the crazy cakes was the best part of this whole deal. I just went for whatever and made a mess and it was glorious. Two hours before class, I was balancing two skillets of pancakes and throwing whatever I wanted into the mix. It was liberating I have to say and it made me want to feel that even more. So that is of course a goal of mine. Maybe it’s something I do just randomly in cooking or another activity, but I think I need more exercises of letting myself go and being creative.

So class was good too. I really did enjoy watching what other cakes people made and how they tied it to their lives and their ambitions. I think for the most part, everyone had a cake that really fit their personality and that was good to see. My presentation seemed to go over pretty well too although I was reminded that I may try to do another presentation style than my usual “off the cuff” speech. That’s been my most effective lately because I kind of know my stories now and it’s easy for me to communicate what I’m trying to get across just kind of on call. I have tried other presentation styles, like that of holding big cards with words on them and pacing the audience through the story, and that went over well too. But I do agree that it’s time for me to explore with different presentation styles in the future as well, so that will be my personal challenge for the next project.

Here are the pics from my fabulous pancake journey 🙂



One last note. Something that kind of troubled me last night. We had a presentation from the Director of Strategy at Turner Networks, Nicole Jones who is a friend of mmm’s and gave a great presentation. But it was something mmm said at the latter part of class regarding Nicole’s position being that of a more corporate type and immediately that hit home to me. Something that I have struggled with in the thought of doing Strategy work is the idea of being stuck in a corporate setting again. While I am sure Turner is a great company to work for, and I can tell Nicole LOVES her job, one of the reasons I left corporate America is that I didn’t feel free. These past two years, while definitely being a challenge, have also allowed me to be liberated in my thinking and in my work. It’s the same experience I had in high school even though that was geared toward math & science.

But as I go on my next journey of finding a job, I think aside from just hoping that I even get a job, is the challenge of finding something that will really suit me and allow me to have great and fulfilling challenges along the way. I know that is really important to me in my life now and it’s the greatest ambition I have. I want to LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do. I want to get up and be excited about the challenges ahead. And I probably should not discount all corporations, all of them are not the same, and I’m sure the more creative ones have more fulfilling work, but the biggest fear is that of being extremely unhappy and unfulfilled again. Feeling that what I am doing really doesn’t count and that no one really gives a shit about it. That is not why I took two years out of my life and got thousands of dollars worth of loans to feel that way again. 

ok enough ranting… I know things are going to be ok. plus I’m late for seminar 🙂


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