A Vacuum For Good Vibes

25 Sep

I had an interesting day yesterday. Deadlines at work were chaotic, the materials I needed were missing, and shortlists for two award shows were released. My entries didn’t make it. Bam. Sledgehammer to my chest.

For the first time, in a really long time, I felt frustrated. Unlucky. Mad at myself. But mostly, frustrated.

I needed to clear my mind. I needed to step out of the office. I was asking the universe if I was really, truly, madly, deeply going anywhere. But the universe would never answer. I will be left to fend for myself, to lick my wounds, as usual.

I was wrong.

When the elevator door opened, there it was, the answer I needed: a Nilfisk Alto Vacuum Cleaner. Enlightenment from a vacuum, what the hell right? But before you take me for a complete retard, let me explain myself.


Image courtesy of the Google Gods. May not be the exact model in our office building but you get the picture.

Image courtesy of the Google Gods. May not be the exact model in our office building but you get the picture.

When I was an intern in a web-outsourcing firm, years ago, I was assigned to the Nilfisk Alto account.

We were revamping their website and I was tasked to change the logo on each of their product shots. They updated their logo and I guess it was cheaper to ‘shop their new logo onto the photos versus having to reshoot all of it. Plus I was an intern, so labor was free. 

I had to edit thousands of photos with different layouts and perspectives. From their vacuum cleaners, to their pressure washers, to their floor sweepers, I edited them all. There was a man cleaning a warehouse, a woman cleaning a mall, a floor sweeper in front of a scenic mountain background — a Nilfisk machine for all occasions.

I could code. I could design. I could make websites. I could make games. But no, I was digitally sticking logos on vacuum cleaners. It felt horrible. It felt like I was never going anywhere.


Push lang.

Don’t stop.

The frustration I had yesterday tasted familiar but was altogether different. Like a two-week old pizza you left to ferment in the fridge. When I saw that vacuum cleaner however, the frustration was sucked out of me. It took away the fear. It was a gentle reminder that no matter how frustrated I am, I am no longer editing vacuum cleaner photos.

Goodbye bad juju.

I am in a better place today than I was then. I am going somewhere. I’ve just got to suck it up and keep pushing harder.

I am no longer a drone. I create. I ideate.

I may not be in this year’s shortlist, but at least I’ve come up with work that was good enough to become an entry. Work that stood a chance. I didn’t get in this year but I will, someday. I may even win it.

So thank you, Nilfisk. Thank you, universe. Thank you Lord. I am once again humbled. And I truly am a fan of your wicked sense of humor.



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