When Praise Leads to Pressure


One day, a manager notices a new employee excelling in a specific area of their work. They praise them privately. "Nice work! You're killing it."

For simplicity, let's call this employee Taylor. They turned their design into a motion prototype, and the work is outstanding.

Over the next few weeks, the manager notices a pattern. Taylor's motion prototypes seem to be getting better and better. At this point, they begin praising them in public. "Big props to Taylor! You are an absolute motion master."

Now, whenever there is a motion need, everyone goes to Taylor. Within a matter of months, Taylor spends most of their time working on motion projects.

Last quarter, Taylor watched a few motion tutorials on YouTube. She wanted to bring a design idea to life and thought motion could help. She enjoyed it, but her passion is in design, nor does she consider herself a motion expert.

The more people ask for help, the more complex the requests get. The pressure builds. Most weeks, Taylor puts in late nights to grow her motion skills.

She musters up the courage to let her manager know about the extra hours. Her manager revisits staffing and gets her help with her design projects, so she has more time to work on motion.

A year goes by.

Taylor is home visiting friends from design school. She took an entire week off. Lately, her workdays seem to go on forever. The only way she can think to recharge is to get away.

Her former classmates share all the projects they have been working on at their respective jobs. Taylor scrolls through endless MP4s of motion studies.

Taylor realizes she is now a motion expert.

She returns to work the following Monday and puts in her notice.

No one asked Taylor if she enjoyed working with motion.

Join My Newsletter

Every Monday, I share weekly themes and progress in running an agency business/team and doing my best to live a good life. Details